University of Minnesota Public Engagement Metrics Committee and Recommendations


The University is increasingly called upon to provide data and information on the scale, scope, and impact of the its public engagement activities. Community leaders and community residents, legislators and taxpayers need to know the University's involvement in their communities and what the impact of that involvement is. In response to this need, the Office for Public Engagement convened the University of Minnesota Public Engagement Metrics Committee to establish the metrics priorities for community-engaged initiatives. The committee's charge was to:

  • Develop a prioritized, phased plan for instituting a comprehensive metrics system for public engagement;
  • Align public engagement initiatives with strategic goals of the University’s overarching metrics framework;
  • Connect public engagement metrics to relevant data collection and measurement systems facilitated by other units and entities both within and external to the University; and
  • Build a long-term strategy for assessing the impact of public engagement on students, faculty, staff, collegiate units, and the external community.

Committee members

  • Noro Andriamanalina, Director, Academic & Professional Development, The Graduate School
  • Sara Axtell, Public Engagement Faculty Development Liaison, Office for Public Engagement
  • Cheryl Contant, Special Assistant to Senior Vice President Robert J. Jones, Academic Administration, University of Minnesota System
  • Tom Dohm, Director, Office of Measurement Services
  • Christina Frazier, Assistant Director, Office of Planning and Analysis
  • Michelle Hargrave, Director, UMD Office of Civic Engagement
  • Ron Huesman, Associate Director, Office of Institutional Research
  • Laura Koch, Associate Vice Provost, Office of Undergraduate Education
  • Diana Martenson, Organization & Program Development Specialist, Extension
  • Cynthia Murdoch, Coordinator for Special Projects, Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs
  • John Romano, Assistant Vice President, International Scholarship, Global Programs and Strategy Alliance
  • Emily Ronning, Coordinator, Faculty Awards, Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs
  • Dick Senese, Senior Associate Dean, Extension
  • John Sonnack, Technology Planner, Office of Information Technology
  • Peggy Sundermeyer, Executive Director, Research Advancement, Office for the Vice President of Research


The Committee’s work involved several phases.

  1. The Committee developed a list of public engagement activities that address goals and possible data sources to measure the impact.
  2. The Committee developed a list of priority evaluation questions associated with each of the University’s strategic priorities.
  3. The activities and questions were converted to metrics (see below).


1. University Strategic Priority: Extraordinary Education

University Goal: Recruit, educate, challenge, and graduate outstanding students who become highly motivated, lifelong learners, and global citizens.

Public Engagement Goal #1: Enhance curriculum, teaching, and learning through community-engagement initiatives.


Possible Data Sources

Percentage of students involved in community engaged learning opportunities

Community Service Learning Center (CSLC), SERU, Department level (internships, field practices), course designation/register with CSLC

Locations and types of sites for community engaged learning

CSLC, Internship approval process in Colleges and departments , UROP

Evidence of the contribution of public engagement to student learning

OPE website with “submit a story” area, collegiate communications units to find/develop/forward stories with OPE, reflection blog for story sharing, GPS: Maximizing Study Abroad Course reflections, OPE call at end of semester to share story with incentive: how has community-engaged experience rounded out a student learning experience, Public Engagement section in the Brief, Facebook/social media, OCSA/Presidential University Service Awards narratives, OSM/OIR data mine course evaluations for key word search

Evidence of the contribution of public engagement opportunities to student recruitment


Rate of participation in community service for alumni who did and did not participate in public engagement activities as students

Accreditation process (ask question about this), alumni surveys (departmental, OAR (possible questions already exist), alumni association, U Foundation

2. University Strategic Priority: Breakthrough Research

University Goal: Stimulate, support, and pursue path-breaking discovery and inquiry that has a profound impact on the critical problems and needs of the people, state, nation, and world.

Public Engagement Goal #2: To produce research of significance that advances the disciplines while producing discoveries that directly benefit society.


Possible Data Source

Number of sponsored (and non-sponsored) projects involving community engaged scholarship

Sponsored Project Administration with check box, CRIS reports for AES projects, non-sponsored checkbox on internal programs (Arlene Carney’s office), IRB with check box, internal grants programs (eg, Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives and Program in Health Disparities Research)

Amount of funds generated through sponsorship of community engaged scholarship

Sponsored Project Administration with check box

Ranking on the Carnegie Classification of publicly engaged universities

Carnegie classification

Evidence that best practices developed in one community partnership are adopted or replicated by other communities

Story collection from public engagement units

Evidence of application of research findings by communities

Story collection from public engagement units, Reports from internal seed grant programs

Patents from CES projects, business partnerships

Technology Transfer and Commercialization

3. University Strategic Priority: Dynamic Outreach and Service

University Goal: Connect the University’s academic research and teaching as an engine of positive change for addressing society’s most complex challenges.

Public Engagement Goal #3: Address critical societal issues and contribute to the public good through community-engagement initiatives.


Possible Data Sources

Description, location, and duration of engaged outreach projects

Carnegie questions, AHEC outcomes database, Extension database

Evidence of contribution to local, state, region, nation, and world

Story collection from public engagement units

Evidence that community defined goals were fulfilled

Story collection from public engagement units

Documentation of unintended consequences

Story collection from public engagement units

4. University Strategic Priority: World Class Faculty and Staff

University Goal: Engage exceptional faculty and staff who are innovative, energetic, and dedicated to the highest standards of excellence.

Public Engagement Goal #4: Strengthen the capacity of staff and faculty to conduct high quality community-engaged research, teaching, and service.


Possible Data Sources

Percentage of faculty doing engaged work

UData, Faculty Activity Reports, Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute faculty survey, PULSE Survey?

Percentage of P/A and civil service bargaining unit doing engaged work

PULSE Survey

Impact of CES opportunities on faculty recruitment

New Faculty Orientation

Trends in support for and barriers to CES over time (perceptions and reality)

Associate Deans, PEC, PULSE Survey, Public Engagement Leaders Retreat,