Date of Award


Degree Name

Specialist in Education


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Louann Bierlein Palmer

Second Advisor

Dr. Dennis McCrumb

Third Advisor

Dr. Toni Woolfork-Barnes


Engagement, community, Carnegie, transformational, boundary spanning

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Abstract Only

Restricted to Campus until



The prestige associated with the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification has placed engagement as a key measurement of institutional quality (Driscoll, 2008). However, some institutions have failed to assess institutional support for engagement as a criterion in measuring institutional quality. The purpose of this study is to examine the extent to which one public research university holding the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification since 2010, supports boundary spanning engagement (BSE) as a means to increase their institutional capacity for sustaining community engagement.

Utilizing a case study design, nine engagement professionals were interviewed for their perspectives on the institutions support for boundary spanning engagement. Six themes emerged that focused on the impact of community engagement and institutional commitment to community engagement. Data analysis revealed that the engagement professionals hold various understandings and limited awareness of institutional support for BSE, and described an infrastructure for BSE, as well as budgetary support for engagement, as either non-existent or existing within various departments. The significance of this data warrants the attention of those coordinating, measuring and processing information for 2020 reclassification. The lack of understanding, awareness and procedural knowledge regarding engagement has uncovered a need for training and education on boundary spanning engagement. Fundamentally, BSE training, measuring community engagement for the betterment of the institution, as well as a documented indicator for 2020 reclassification should be a major initiative.

Further findings disclosed that for institutional culture and transformational change to occur, the dominant influencers, which are service learning, economic development and engagement awareness must be promoted, monitored and measured; elevating community engagement to priority status.

Essentially, the findings of my research begin to provide and assist this University with identifying challenges that impede support for boundary spanning engagement as an institutional priority. By rigorously focusing on the foundational indicators for community engagement and successful BSE strategies, the University can be steadfast in preparing for 2020 reclassification, and create tangible goals for sustaining community engagement.