Apply for the 2021 Summer Virtual Institute for Civically Engaged Research (Deadline April 1s

Scholars in many disciplines are grappling with how to produce rigorous scholarship that addresses significant social challenges in collaboration with communities, organizations, and agencies. They strive to learn from those working outside of academia, to benefit from the insights of all kinds of groups and institutions, and to give back to communities rather than extract value from them. Although political scientists offer models of excellence in civically engaged research, relevant methods and strategies are not yet widely taught in the discipline’s graduate programs or sufficiently valued in the profession as a whole.

In an effort to address this need, the APSA Presidential Task Force on New Partnerships launched the now-annual APSA Institute for Civically Engaged Research (ICER) in 2019. 

The Institute is directed by Amy Cabrera Rasmussen (California State University Long Beach) Peter Levine (Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life), and Valeria Sinclair Chapman (Purdue University).

About the Institute

WHERE: Typically, ICER is an in-person Institute held at Tufts University’s Tisch College. For 2021, the Directors have planned an engaging, supportive, and robust virtual institute using innovative best practices.  

WHO: ICER is intended for advanced graduate students in political science and political scientists at any stage of their careers who wish to shift to using civically engaged research. (It is not meant for scholars who are already experienced in the approach.)

FORMAT:  Approximately twenty ICER participants will meet and collaborate through virtual discussions, shared readings, breakout sessions, groupwork, writing exercises, and conversations with leaders in engaged research. The Institute will combine synchronous and asynchronous work, and generous breaks throughout the day over an extended sequence of days (see schedule below). Our aim is to ensure that all time spent online is participatory, engaging, and productive, and supplemented with innovative collaboration tools while also providing asynchronous options for engagement with one another, the Institute team, and special guests. 

We will explore a variety of issues around engaged research including models and methods, case studies, ethics, IRB, professional considerations, and provide focused feedback on participant projects. 

AGENDA: The full schedule will be announced in May and will include substantial time “offline” each day. However, participants should hold 7:30 am-3 pm PST (10:30 am-6 pm ET) for each of the days of the Institute. 

Tuesday, June 15th: Kickoff and full day of virtual activities

Wednesday, June 16th: Full day of virtual activities 

Thursday, June 17th: Break for rest and rejuvenation! Participants may be asked to commit a modest amount of time to reflection and preparation for the rest of the Institute. 

Friday, June 18th: Full day of virtual activities 

Saturday and Sunday, June 19th-20th: Break for rest and rejuvenation!  Participants may be asked to commit a modest amount of time to reflection and preparation for the rest of the Institute. 

Monday, June 21st: Full day of virtual activities 

Tuesday, June 22nd: Closeout and  full day of virtual activities 

Topics covered in the Institute will include: 

  • Expertise: what do political scientists uniquely contribute to collaborative, engaged research with scholars within and beyond our discipline, and outside of academia? What are the limitations of scholarly expertise? What types of expertise do those outside of academia bring to collaborations?
  • Models and best practices: what are the different approaches to engaged research? What methods exist for this work, and how do you determine which are the best fit for your work? How to navigate common social science values and norms while doing civically engaged work.
  • What are the priorities for engaged research at the present moment?
  • The ethics of collaboration: sharing of credit, funds, and overhead, navigating IRB, dealing with disagreements, ethical considerations beyond IRB.
  • Communicating results: how to talk to partners, relevant communities, the press, the broader public. 
  • Career considerations: publication and credit, tenure and promotion, funding your research.

To apply, please complete this form.

Application deadline: April 1, 2021. 

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About Peter

Associate Dean for Research and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life. Concerned about civic education, civic engagement, and democratic reform in the United States and elsewhere.