measuring success
"Effective [university-community] partnerships require a shared commitment to ongoing, comprehensive evaluation..."
--Barbara Holland, Introduction to the Service-Learning Toolkit, p. 105

Measuring Community Impact

The Office of Community Engagement Advisory Board has established a subcommittee on monitoring and measurement that is working with university partners on two projects:

    1. Identifying mechanisms for reporting community engagement activities for students, staff, and faculty; and
    2. Measuring the impact of these activities on individual participants, partner organizations, and the communities that they serve.

If you are interested in becoming part of this discussion, please contact Lori Messinger, Chair of the Monitoring and Measurement Subcommittee.


If you are leading a community engagement activity and considering possible ways to measure the impact of your project, below are some variables suggested in the community engagement literature.

Variables to Measure  (adapted from B. Holland)

Participation

  • Number of participants: student, faculty, staff, organizational staff, community members
  • Hours people participatedTypes of participation (roles)

Student Learning

  • Improved higher order thinking skills; analysis, understanding complex problems 
  • Civic responsibility, local/global citizenship 
  • Commitment to service and to lifelong learning
  • Career awareness/skills - awareness of options, clarity of choice, technical skills, teamwork
  • Personal outcomes – self‐esteem, empowerment, respect for others 
  • Social outcomes – pro‐social behaviors, collaborative, reduced risky behavior

Agency Impact

  • Overall project impact/effectiveness
  • Staff rating of mutual goal attainmentEvidence of agency changes as a result of the project
  • Estimate of burden/benefit on agency
  • Willingness to continue in partnership/project
  • Evidence of leveraged resources/enhanced capacity to fulfill mission 
  • Partner’s estimation of benefit/impact of specific activity on community

Impact on Community Served

  • Number of community members served or serving as partners
  • Effectiveness of project in meeting community goals
    • qualitative feedback and case studies
    • quantitative ratings
  • External quantitative data related to project goals for community focus (e.g., elementary student test scores, lower Body Mass Index, decreased criminal activity of participants, etc.)
  • Feedback on effects of project participation on community participants