1st Edition

Integrating Community Engagement in Public Affairs Education Solutions for Professors Working in Divisive Environments

By Thomas Andrew Bryer Copyright 2024
    222 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    222 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Community engaged universities prepare students to participate in societies in ways that are inclusive. This book presents a coherent argument for higher education institutions not only to encourage students to engage in their communities, but also to develop themselves as community engaged institutions. Analyzing the design and implementation of community engaged teaching and learning practices, author Thomas Bryer explores training in democratic practices and envisions a future in which higher education institutions are better prepared to cope with democratic backsliding.

    Teaching and professional development cases are woven throughout—developed, adapted, and enhanced by the author over a period of years—and grounded in the great debates happening today. Integrating Community Engagement in Public Affairs Education is a culmination of multiple years of experimentation with different approaches to teaching future and practicing public sector leaders the tools of democratic engagement. The text is grounded in a case‑based design that spans undergraduate, Master’s, and Ph.D. students, as well as local government managers, offering concrete examples of teaching and learning strategies that promote public value and measurable social impact. The book closes with practical strategies for publicly engaged scholars to effectively educate the next generation of students about democratic engagement within divided communities. It will be required reading for public administration faculty, as well as practicing public administrators and those who provide training to them.

    1 Purpose and Overview; PART I The Community Engaged University 2 Public Value and the University; 3 Social Impact and the University; 4 Politics of University Social Impact in Democracies; PART II Case Studies in Community Engaged Teaching and Learning 5 Introduction to Cases; 6 Students as Professional Citizens; 7 Deliberative Public Problem Solving; 8 Conversing with Strangers about Institutional Racism; 9 Discovering Solutions to Maximize COVID‑19 Vaccine Participation through Public Conversation; 10 Building New Dialogues about Critical Race Theory in Divided Communities; 11 Coproducing Community Conversations on Divisive Issues; 12 Synthesis of Findings across Cases; PART III Case Studies on Professional Development for Democratic Renewal in Divided Communities 13 Strengthening Democracy in Cities and Counties: An Introduction; 14 Combating Disinformation in Local Governments; 15 Preparing Relationally Intelligent Local Government Managers; PART IV Reflections for the Future 16 Future of Community‑Engaged Teaching and Learning: Public Value, Social Impact, and Politics; 17 Strategies for the Community‑Engaged University; Appendix 1: Syllabus for Public Service Leadership; Appendix 2: Final Issue Maps (Public Service Leadership); Appendix 3: Syllabus for Deliberative Public Problem Solving; Appendix 4: Deliberative Public Problem Solving: Sample Issue Map; Appendix 5: Syllabus for MPA Capstone (Fall 2020); Appendix 6: Syllabus for MPA Capstone (Spring 2021); Appendix 7: Syllabus for MPA Capstone (Fall 2021); Appendix 8: Syllabus for MPA Capstone (Fall 2022)


    Thomas Andrew Bryer is a Professor in the School of Public Administration at the University of Central Florida, USA, and in the Faculty of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities at Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania. He has won multiple awards for his research, teaching, and service.

    "While some scholars are discussing the current challenges facing higher education as “the perfect storm,” Professor Bryer advances a novel perspective by issuing a clarion call for renewed community-engagement. In reality, instructors in the field of public administration are facing “the perfect opportunity” to foster democratic ideals in their courses and to become deliberate participants in ending the grip of divisiveness within their communities. Not only is this book captivating and timely, it is essential."

    Susan T. Gooden, Dean and Professor, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, Virginia Commonwealth University, USA


    “What a timely book on such a salient topic. Integrating Community Engagement in Public Affairs Education provides a great opportunity for readers to appreciate the environment of higher education institutions and its impact on public affairs – to look back at the past, to look around at the present, and to look ahead towards the future.

    The framing, its emphasis on integrating community engagement, incorporation of case studies, and the related appendices add tremendous value. In essence, this publication is more than just a book or a resource. Integrating Community Engagement in Public Affairs Education serves as guiding light and source of hope for community engaged institutions of higher education, their scholars, students, and administrators.

    When considering the problems that are part and parcel of the pernicious polarization of today, professors who shoulder the responsibility of preparing public affairs professionals of tomorrow, need strategies that they can relate to and use. This book illuminates a path forward. During the darkest times, light does shine the brightest!”

    Brian N. Williams, Associate Professor of Public Policy, Founder & Director of the Public Engagement in Governance Looking, Listening, and Learning Lab, Frank Batten School of Leadership & Public Policy, The University of Virginia, USA


    "Timely is an understatement for this tremendous resource to educators in the field of public affairs. This book provides invaluable insights into addressing the challenges posed by divisive environments through the integration of community engagement. By offering effective strategies that foster inclusivity and civic responsibility, the innovative solutions and practical guidance found in this book equips professors with the tools they need to make a meaningful impact within their communities.

    While many espouse the rhetoric of community engagement, Bryer lives it and that is clear when you read each chapter. He brings the best of the broader scholarship into conversation with a field that is rooted in these principles but, throughout its history, lost sight of some of these commitments. Weaving deliberative problem solving and coproduction into discussions about such timely topics as racism shows approaches to how the engaged university can put mottos into practice. Bryer's expertise in community engagement shines through, making this book an essential read for anyone passionate about shaping the future of public affairs education."

    Timothy J. ShafferDirector, SNF Ithaca Initiative & Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) Chair of Civil Discourse, Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy & Administration, University of Delaware, USA