The Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) fosters community university partnerships that aim to promote the principles and practices of civic engagement and democracy.

Event Details

EU IARSLCE Conference

Friday, 10th of June 2016 (09:00 – 18:00) @ Bologna

It is with great pleasure that we present this Call for Proposals for the initial IARSLCE European Regional Research Conference.

IARSLCE (The International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement) is an organization of scholars and practitioners in the fields of service-learning and community engagement who seek to build and expand the understanding of the maturing field of research on this growing phenomenon in many nations worldwide. Since 2001, IARSLCE has sponsored annual conferences to reunite scholars and practitioners and provide a likeminded community for persons new to the field. These conferences have highlighted critical discussions and debates, and surfaced questions we need to continue to explore in our research and scholarship.

In 2015, we asked ourselves how IARSLCE could bridge its dialogue from a predominantly U.S. audience to other world regions, so that we might increase our understandings of one another’s work and move toward greater, collective and intentional impact. Our commitment to grow internationally has led to our 2017 conference being held in Ireland. The 2017 IARSLCE conference is hosted by the National University of Ireland, Galway’s Community Knowledge Initiative and chaired by Lorraine McIlrath. The 2016 European conference in which we invite your participation is another step the association is taking to broaden participation and engagement by scholars and practitioners around the world. The present Call for Proposals reflects many similarities of that of the IARSLCE Annual Research Conference to be held in New Orleans in September 2016, but this Call is particularly geared for a European audience.

The Purpose of IARSLCE

The IARSLCE Reaffirmation Statement articulates the mission, purpose and values of IARSLCE. Through our Reaffirmation Statement we set out to reach our fullest potential as a body of service-learning and community engagement scholars.

Our Reaffirmation Statement encourages us

to embrace all research perspectives, advance research related to all forms of and approaches to community engagement, conducted through collaborative, participatory, community-engaged approaches where voice is given to the perspectives of silenced and subordinated groups. An explicit goal of this approach is to aim to improve the lived experiences of marginalized groups. In doing so our research does not claim neutrality and is grounded in issues of inclusion and justice. IARSLCE advances research that examines the utility and impact of engagement with diverse communities and that investigates questions from both the educational and community perspective.

As an international association, we engage scholars from around the world and provide a community for researchers to learn about, share, and advance the latest research in the field. And as we do this work, we intentionally connect with other engagement associations and organizations within the United States and around the world. (IARSLCE Reaffirmation Statement, 2014)

Through our annual and regional conferences, we hope to operationalize our guiding principles as we ask questions that increase our individual and collective understandings and move us toward greater impact.

To learn more about the guiding principles of IARSLCE please visit the IARSLCE Reaffirmation Statement.

IARSLCE European Regional Research Conference: June 10, 2016

The initial IARSLCE European Regional Research Conference is targeted at scholars, practitioners, students, and community partners interested in research on service-learning, community-based research, academic-community partnerships, and civic learning outcomes in education at all levels, from primary through postsecondary. Attendees will include faculty, administrators, and scholar-practitioners in higher education, community partnerships, primary and secondary-level educators (and those who prepare them), and professionals and leaders in educational policy and community development. The conference seeks both to advance our understanding of key research issues pertaining to service-learning and community engagement in the European context globally, and to begin the process of building a long-term collaboration among European scholars and practitioners in partnership with IARSLCE.

Additional objectives of the IARSLCE European Regional Research Conference are the mapping of service-learning and community engagement research initiatives in the European context, networking among existing practitioners and researchers, and, finally, the building of a European research agenda in the field.

General Conference Information

Research and scholarship must be at the centre of all proposals submitted.

Proposals that focus on program design and models, program evaluations, or ‘how-to’ strategies must describe how this topic will advance service-learning and community engagement research, policy, and practice. The focus of each proposal must be centred on research and initiatives in the European context. Perspectives are welcome both from European institutions as well as non-European institutions operating in the European context.

Please indicate if your research proposal involves vulnerable populations.


Important Dates and Information

Submissions accepted from: 9 March 2016

Deadline for receipt of proposals: 15 April 2016

Notification of acceptance sent by: 1 May 2016

Confirmation of participation as presenter: 15 May 2016

Deadline to register: 1 June 2016

Registration fee: 50 EUR

Registration includes: conference materials, coffee breaks, lunch, and a complimentary IARSLCE membership

Location: Università di Bologna -- Via Zamboni 32, Bologna 40126

For more information on the registration procedure please visit:


Since this is the initial conference, we wish to be relatively expansive in the topics we will include as presentations and in our discussions. Following is a brief list containing both topics that the IARSLCE 2016 Annual Conference Call for Proposals has invited, which may be helpful as you consider developing and submitting a proposal, as well as some that are new and specific to the Bologna conference. Note that we are open both to studies that involve programs and research in a single national context as well as comparative studies that grow our collective understanding of the community engagement and service-learning research between and across geographic borders. We are also open to proposals that would explore other service-learning and community engagement initiatives specific to the European context as well as those addressing the connection between these and intercultural competence.

If you are interested in how IARSLCE is defining these topics for its 2016 annual conference please visit the 2016 annual conference page.

· Global Citizenship, Service-Learning and Community Engagement

· Inclusion and Justice

· Community Relationships

· Student Impact

· Next Generation of Community Engaged Scholars: Faculty, Students, Boundary Spanners and Community-Placed Scholars

· Institutional Structure, Leadership and Policy

· Primary and Secondary School Civic and Learning Outcomes and Teacher Education

· Epistemological and Methodological Innovations

In addition, we are suggesting two additional topics that may be particularly relevant to the European Context and we have included brief descriptions for each.

· Experiential Education Pedagogies in the European Context

This track aims to solicit proposals examining the wide array of experiential education pedagogies that may pave the way for Community Engagement and Global Citizenship. Some questions might be: What are the most effective experiential learning methodologies used in primary and secondary education throughout the European continent to achieve pluricultural competence? How does this competence relate to community engagement? How do European multilingualism and intercultural education policies (in practice) intertwine with the implementation of service-learning and community engagement? What may be some research questions to address the unique variety that the European context offers in this field? How much of a role does European cultural identity play in the (possibly varying) conceptualisation(s) of community engagement and service-learning?

· Varying Models of European Implementation of Service-Learning and Community Engagement and Invitation to Advance Research

One goal of the Bologna conference is to begin building a network of service-learning and community engagement professionals across Europe, particularly to create and advance a research agenda over the next several years. In that spirit, we invite proposals from those who may be service-learning practitioners and/or community engagement experts but who may not yet have done research in the field. We would encourage such proposals to assist us in mapping current initiatives as well as to explore research questions that may be emerging from your work and/or that you would like to pursue in the future.

Other Perspectives

We are certain that not all research on service-learning and community engagement, particularly in the European context, may fall within the tracks described here. As we continue to advance our understanding of critical and current research issues in the field, we welcome and encourage proposals that fall outside the tracks above.

Session Formats and Proposal Review Criteria

Given the exploratory nature of this research conference, presenters will be given a choice of presentation formats from which to choose once the conference organisers have received the proposals. Presentations, in any format, will range from 30-60 minutes.

Proposals will be evaluated based upon:

(1) Significance of Topic or Research Question: Originality, importance of issues being studied as clear contribution to the field;

(2) Theoretical Framework: Well-grounded theoretical/conceptual framework, rationale, with clear indication of awareness of literature and other scholarly contributions in the field; or Analytical Argument: The quality of the analytical argument, including how well the argument is supported by the literature as well as a well-grounded theoretical/conceptual framework;

(3) Research Design and Methods (if proposing a research paper): Design is appropriate for the study and directly addresses clearly stated research questions, hypotheses, or premises; rigor of data collection methods, relevance to research design and methods; and appropriateness of analysis, given design and methods; or

(4) Interpretation of Findings: Reasonableness and clear articulation of the conclusions and implications;

(5) Scholarly Contribution and Relevance: Importance and relevance of contributions to theory-building, empirical knowledge, or practical implications for community partners, public policy, teaching and learning, or program design; centrality to advancing knowledge in the field or cross-cultural comparisons; and

(6) Audience Appeal: Potential for further research, appeal, discussion, future publication and dissemination.

Accepted research papers may be submitted for consideration for the association’s journal, the International Journal for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement.

Conference Leadership

Conference Program Chairs

Lavinia Bracci and Nevin Brown

Conference Program Coordinator

Eliza Nash

Conference Planning Committee

Pilar Aramburuzabala, Autonomous University of Madrid, Europe Engage

Amy Anderson, Duke University

Burton Bargerstock, Michigan State University

Lavinia Bracci, Foundation for Intercultural Exchange/Siena Italian Studies

Nevin Brown, Foundation for Intercultural Exchange/Siena Italian Studies

Christine Cress, Portland State University

Julie Cronin, Merrimack College

Italo Fiorin, Università di Roma LUMSA

Andrew Furco, University of Minnesota

David Malone, Duke University

Lorraine McIlrath, National University of Ireland, Galway

Eliza Nash, Foundation for Intercultural Exchange/Siena Italian Studies

Brian Ó Donnchadha, National University of Ireland, Galway

Wolfgang Stark, University of Duisburg-Essen

Elaine Ward, Merrimack College

Bruna Zani, Università di Bologna