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“Beyond just the work that I’m doing, being a part of this group has been powerful for me. It was helpful to meet folks across campus who are in different fields but are using similar methodology and working with community partners in similar ways.”
-Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholar Cheryl Bolick, Class VII


The Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars (FES) program brings together selected faculty from across campus to engage in a two-year competency-based experience designed to advance their engaged scholarship. Scholars participate in sessions in community settings to learn from other Carolina faculty and their community partners. While developing individual projects, each class of scholars forms a learning community, along with the faculty and community course directors, to support one another’s projects. The growing network of Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars has reported outcomes including new interdisciplinary collaborations, successful grant applications and both traditional and non-traditional products of scholarship.

Ronald Strauss serves as faculty director, and Melvin Jackson is community director.

Program benefits

  • Award amount of $5,000 per year, for each of the two years, to cover project-related expenses ($10,000 in total)
  • Interactions with faculty from a variety of disciplines around topics and issues related to engaged scholarship
  • Support for their engaged scholarship from faculty and community partners who have experience in the field

Program design

Scholars participate in a highly interactive, experiential and competency-based curriculum involving field visits, exposure to a number of ongoing projects and discussions with community members and faculty partners. Sessions address such topics as funding and dissemination of engaged scholarship, navigating disciplinary expectations while addressing community needs and partnering with local communities in North Carolina and beyond. During the two-year program, scholars commit to participating in group sessions each semester, including some all-day workshops that involve travel for field visits.

Scholar selection

A faculty committee selects eight to 10 faculty members every other year to participate in the two–year program. Since 2007, 72 faculty members have been selected from 12 professional schools and the College of Arts and Sciences, representing more than 25 departments. For information about the participants, see the scholars webpage. The newest cohort of Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars, Class IX, will be announced in September 2023. Applications for the next cohort will be made available during spring semester 2025.

The Carolina Center for Public Service at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for its events and programs. If you need accommodations, please contact or call 919-843-7568. Every effort will be made to implement accommodations in an effective and timely manner.