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Outreach and Engagement Measurement Instrument

Michigan State University has annually collected data about community-engaged scholarship and university outreach from its faculty and academic staff since 2004. Researchers with MSU's Office of University Outreach and Engagement (UOE) developed the Outreach and Engagement Measurement Instrument (OEMI), and variants of it, in order to gather this important data.

The first part of the OEMI asks respondents to report how much of their academic work was community engaged, then to characterize this work in a number of ways. It gathers data about societal issues addressed, contributions to university strategic imperatives, whether it was meant to promote diversity or focused on urban issues, the kind of the work done (e.g., research and creative activities, technical assistance, instruction, service/experiential learning, clinical service), geographic locations, non-university people involved or served, and leveraged external funding and in-kind contributions.

The second part of the survey asks respondents to describe specific projects. It gathers data about societal issues addressed, the purposes of the project, methods and actions taken, the duration and length of the project, engagement of students, identification of partners and their roles, sources of funding, evaluation, creation of intellectual property, outcomes and impacts of the project (for the partners, communities, society), and impacts on scholarship (e.g., ongoing research, teaching practices, assessments about the practice of community-engaged scholarship).

These voluntarily, self-reported data are used to generate institutional and college-level reports that may be used for benchmarking outreach and engagement activities and to support faculty in their annual reviews. They are also used to describe the university’s engagement enterprise to the public and campus by communicating examples across disciplines/sectors and identifying and supporting the recognition of exemplars. The data support accreditation and other institutional self-studies, assessments of strategic plans, faculty networking efforts, professional development planning, university development initiatives, public access efforts, mapping locations of partnerships, etc.

MSU has partnered with a number of higher education institutions to provide customized and hosted use of the OEMI. Guest accounts for a fully functional demonstration version of the OEMI are available by request at:

As a pilot project, UOE developed and deployed a briefer version of the OEMI to collect data from faculty about their community-engaged scholarship and university outreach activities in calendar year 2020.


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Burton A. Bargerstock

Executive Director, Office for Public Engagement and Scholarship
Director, Communication and Information Technology
Special Adviser to the Vice Provost
Affiliated Faculty, Digital Humanities at MSU

Office for Public Engagement and Scholarship