Spanning the Gulf Between the Public and Science: Undergraduates as Bridges in the Scholarship of Engagement

Glenn Clayton Odenbrett – National Center for Science and Civic Engagement


Based on experiences of campus-community partnerships fostered by the GLISTEN (the Great Lakes Innovative Stewardship Through Education Network) project of the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement, a model of undergraduate student facilitators of the scholarship of engagement is presented. Called “undergraduate stewardship liaisons” (USLs) these students serve as stewards for the environment and bridges among faculty, other undergraduates, and community-based organizations. Their stewardship entails promoting knowledge generation and direct action by their fellow undergraduates in the form of service-learning components of undergraduate courses; in addition, it involves building the capacity of both community-based and campus stakeholders for sustained collaboration focused on restoring and conserving the earth’s largest source of available fresh water. Details on USL recruitment, training, activities and challenges are presented, along with recommendations for broad replication of this model in campus-community partnerships.

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