PLEASE NOTE: The Fall semester will begin on Tuesday, August 25. Information and FAQs are available on the Return to Grounds website and the Fall 2020 Student Resource website, which will be updated frequently.

Community Impact

These training modules are developed in partnership with the Office of Vice Provost for Academic Outreach.

Doctoral Students and Postdocs across all disciplines typically undertake research to expand the boundaries of knowledge towards creating a positive impact in society. Therefore, understanding how to engage with communities in a meaningful and ethical manner as scientists and scholars is prudent for long-term professional satisfaction and personal wellbeing. Understanding best practices also help to ensure that our impact as scholars is actually in the community’s interest.

PhD Plus Community Impact exploration events provide opportunities to learn about community-based research, and scholarship efforts in the University, in Charlottesville, and around the world. Furthermore, these events will help you explore PhD careers that involve community engagement, and public outreach and service.

PhD Plus Community Impact skills training will provide avenues to identify current and historic models of community engagement and make connections between theories of engagement and your own academic, personal and community experiences. The skills training will prepare grounds for PhD students and Postdocs to participate in community-based projects, and careers related community engagement, outreach and service.

Fall 2020 PhD Plus Community Impact Skills training

UNST 1400/5400: Introduction to Community Engagement

Mondays, 7:00 pm - 7:50 pm EST

Web-based course; CR/NC

This course surveys theories and models of community engagement. Contemporary communities are diverse and interconnected; in order to impact positive social change, members in these communities must understand theories of community engagement. This course will introduce students to theories and models of community engagement including, but not limited to, theories of equity, citizenship, human rights, advocacy and activism, civic leadership, social justice, civil discourse, and social capital. Students will use an interdisciplinary approach to analyze and actively engage in principles and practices of community engagement through a local lens. This course also serves as an introduction to community engagement within the University of Virginia and Charlottesville contexts. 


Louis P. Nelson, Vice Provost for Academic Outreach. Read Dr. Nelson's Bio here

PhD students and Postdocs interested in enrolling or auditing this course, please contact Ellen Blackmon