Community engagement

KU helps community partners fulfill needs collaboratively along a spectrum of engagement ranging from outreach and education to full participation in the research process.

Whether you're a community-based nonprofit organization or a local business, a government agency or a school district, a healthcare provider or any other entity looking to partner with the University of Kansas — we want to understand your needs and work with you to meet them.

The continuum below provides a framework for how community partnerships can grow over time through degrees of complexity and public impact. Explore the continuum and think about how you might like to partner with KU.

Would you like to pursue a research or service project with a KU faculty member, class or student organization? Would you like to promote internship or job opportunities? Maybe you've identified a problem but aren't exactly sure how KU can help? Fill out the help form on the Center for Service Learning website to connect with resources tailored to your needs.

A continuum of engagement possibilities

Infographic showing the five stages along the public participation spectrum: inform, consult, involve, collaborate and empower.

Adapted from International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) Spectrum of Public Participation

Continuum of engagement possibilities

KU provides balanced and objective information to assist community partners in understanding the problem, alternatives, opportunities and/or solutions.

KU obtains or considers feedback or input from community partners on issues, ideas and/or decisions.

KU works directly with community partners throughout the process to ensure their concerns and aspirations are consistently understood and considered.

KU partners actively with the community, seeking advice and innovations that become embedded as much as possible in the decisions.

KU places final decisions in the hands of community partners, who also help implement those decisions.

Connect with KU centers + institutes

A number of centers and institutes at the University of Kansas specialize in community-engaged research and service learning opportunities. Explore options and tap into resources.

Students help serve food in a cafeteria setting

Center for Community Health & Development

The Center for Community Health & Development supports community health and development through collaborative research and evaluation, teaching and training, and technical support and capacity building.

Learn more about CCHD

A family of two parents and two children embracing and smiling.

Center for Public Partnerships & Research

The Center for Public Partnerships & Research partners with communities and organizations—like state agencies, nonprofits, coalitions, and local service providers—to create a happy and healthy world where families thrive.

Learn more about CPPR

Two students in a stream. One student holds a pan used to sift through sediment in the stream.

Center for Service Learning

Through community and campus partnerships, the Center for Service Learning advances service learning, community-engaged scholarship, and civic engagement that fosters a commitment to participation for a diverse, just, and global society.

Learn more about CSL

A smiling teacher crouches on the floor to interact with children playing in an early education classroom.

Life Span Institute

The Life Span Institute brings together scientists and students at the intersections of education, behavioral science and neuroscience to study problems that affect the health and well-being of individuals and communities in our state, nation and world.

Learn more about LSI