Detroit Rising! A Practical Exercise in the Scholarship of Engagement-Part 2

Detroit Rising! A Practical Exercise in the Scholarship of Engagement-Part 2

Building on Boyers (1996) concepts for the Scholarship of Engagement, Barker (2004)  offered a taxonomy of five emerging practices for the scholarship of engagement that align with the Detroit Rising project:  public scholarship, participatory research, community partnership, public information network, and civic skills or civic literacy.  The practice that aligned best with this project was public information network. As theorized by Barker (2004, p. 131), "public information networks typically help communities to identify resources and assets by providing comprehensive databases of local activists, advocacy groups, and available services".


The concept of a potential public information network emerged during the April 6, 2018 Detroit Rising steering committee teleconference as we began the formation of a proposed strategy for how to execute the mission, vision, and core values. Emerging from this discussion was the reality that duplicating the efforts of existing community and service organizations would limit the work that this group wanted to do. Therefore, we began to conceptualize the creation of an umbrella service organization that could support and advance the work of existing service and community organizations. Initial research revealed there were a few of these types of organizations in Michigan with different focuses or specialties. Based on our ideas and research we created the following outline of the potential work that could be done:  


As Enablers/Catalysts the Detroit Rising Group could:

  • Build a data base and create a matrix of existing projects, services, and non-profit organizations presently at work in Detroit and SE Michigan
  • Review and identify similar services, projects, and people being served
  • Identify opportunities to connect resources
  • Build a membership directory for the Detroit Rising Group
  • Invite 2-4 organizations to a quarterly Detroit Rising Group meeting to present organization needs that could be supported by the Detroit Rising Group
  • Identify volunteer and fund-raising opportunities that could be supported by the Detroit Rising Group


As Advocates/Heralders the Detroit Rising Group could raise awareness and generate enthusiasm as follows:

  • Create a monthly/quarterly press release to highlight a specific non-profit
  • Create a website to streamline access to local non- profit resources
  • Fact check and raise awareness of work being done for Detroit's “revitalization movement”
  • Assist with marketing of key efforts, needs, opportunities
  • And more


With these draft ideas in place the steering committee invited the fifty founding members to a follow-up meeting on June 22, 2018. The meeting was used to share what has been done over the past six months and to capture additional input on the potential plans.  In addition, we invited two non-profit organizations to give a presentation. The meeting was a successful opportunity to re-engage members and to test the format for the Detroit Rising Group project. 


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