Our Story

The success of the Division comes from the synergism resulting from a major research University joining forces with communities to address issues of major concerns in such areas as health, education, the environment, race and cultural relations, poverty, religion, science and the economy.

Community Affairs provides leadership and opportunities for students and faculty from all over campus to form partnerships that advance the field of community-engaged scholarship in the city, state, nation and world.

Under the leadership of Dr. Samory Pruitt, who has served as vice president of Community Affairs since its creation, the division has facilitated and supported research-based projects that have created scores of partnerships involving UA faculty, staff and students and community partners at all levels. 

UA was the first non-land-grant institution selected for membership in the Engagement Scholarship Consortium, an international aggregation of universities providing leadership in the scholarship of engagement. Dr. Pruitt is the current president of its Board of Directors. UA was the first non-land-grant institution to host and sends a large delegation to the ESC annual conference.

Since 2006, the Division has sponsored an annual awards program that highlights the centrality of community-engaged scholarship to the University’s overall mission. Awards at this event include recognition for Excellence in Community-Enaged Scholarship by faculty/staff, students and community partners and for travel, fellowship, and seed funds. Also held in connection with this event is a Research Poster presentation.


The mission of Community Affairs is to form partnerships for engagement scholarship across teaching, research and service to generate, transmit, apply and preserve knowledge in collaboration with community partners for the mutual benefit of our partners and the University, and to provide intercultural leadership for the campus and community. Community Affairs has the additional responsibility of coordinating the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Realizing the Dream Concert and related activities and provides leadership, along with representatives from the partner schools, for the Consortium for Higher Education.


The vision of Community Affairs is to be a world leader in the scholarship of engagement and in the strengthening of intercultural relations through programs that transform lives.


  • Utilizing the technological, managerial and artistic resources of the academy to enhance regional, national and global economic and social systems.
  • Producing reciprocal knowledge through research and best practices that develop innovative campus and community collaborations.
  • Addressing changing campus and community demographics by implementing best-practice strategies that increase cultural competencies and inclusiveness.
  • Modeling a respectful and inclusive work environment that facilitates transformation through engaged scholarship, collaboration and partnership.
  • Assessing the process of engagement through traditional qualitative and quantitative measures, benchmarking for academic excellence and impact on communities.
  • Building collaborative relationships in which community partners are vital contributors to and share responsibility for decision making that produces mutually beneficial outcomes.
  • Creating and delivering curricular experiences to prepare students and community members to become civically engaged leaders.
  • Developing tools that increase the effectiveness of faculty and enhance the development of students to address intellectually and respond strategically to large-scale problems of importance in communities.
  • Ensuring an awareness of and access to university resources by community partners.
  • Creating space for and actively listening to diverse voices.
  • Integrating learning, teaching, research and service through the scholarship of engagement.
  • Leveraging the intellectual, human and financial resources of the university to improve the quality of life in communities.