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ERIC Number: EJ1061866
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 26
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 52
ISSN: ISSN-1534-6102
Systemic Engagement: Universities as Partners in Systemic Approaches to Community Change
McNall, Miles A.; Barnes-Najor, Jessica V.; Brown, Robert E.; Doberneck, Diane M.; Fitzgerald, Hiram E.
Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, v19 n1 p1-25 2015
The most pressing social problems facing humanity in the 21st century are what systems theorist Russell Ackoff referred to as "messes"--complex dynamic systems of problems that interact and reinforce each other over time. In this article, the authors argue that the lack of progress in managing messes is in part due to the predominance of a university-driven isolated-impact approach to social problem solving. The authors suggest an alternative approach called systemic engagement (SE), which involves universities as partners in systemic approaches to community change. The six principles of SE are presented and illustrated with a case example. Barriers to SE are discussed, and strategies are proposed for increasing faculty use of this methodology. The promises and perils of SE as an alternative community-engaged approach to social problem solving are considered.
Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach, University of Georgia and the Institute of Higher Education. Treanor House, 1234 South Lumpkin Street, Athens, GA 30602. Tel: 706-542-6167; Fax: 706-542-6124; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Michigan