Community-Engaged Scholarship


trinh-maiTrinh Mai, LCSW, MSW, has been a member of the social work faculty at the University of Utah since 2006. As Special Assistant to the Dean on Community-based Research for the College of Social Work based at UNP Hartland Partnership Center from 2008-2011, Trinh built research and teaching collaborations between UofU faculty, students and west side residents that addressed pressing community needs. Trinh, a west side resident of immigrant background herself, is committed to supporting “integration and mutual respect” among long-time US residents and new Americans.

In collaboration with the Hartland Resident Committee and Rai Farelly, a doctoral student in Linguistics, Trinh helped implement and evaluate a series of cultural trainings and community workshops for local schools titled, Voices of New Americans: Bridging Communities and Schools. In 2010, Trinh was named the UNP Community Scholar in Residence. She served on the UNP Advisory Board, and continues to do engaged work in SLC and at the Thai-Burma border. Her scholarship has been published in journals, books, and many other outlets. She is currently the Associate Director of MSW Field Education and the Chair of the Global Social Work Concentration at the College of Social Work.

UNP supports community-engaged scholarship (CES) addressing topics across our partnership areas. The goal of CES is to simultaneously advance knowledge and address social issues through equitable, mutually-beneficial partnerships between scholars and communities. CES blurs the lines between research, teaching, and community engagement. It is rooted in a respect for locally-grounded knowledge and a commitment to scholarship serving the public good.

CES is an umbrella term for a diverse range of research and teaching methodologies. In the realm of research, CES includes approaches like action research, community-based participatory research, design research, and youth participatory action research. In the realm of teaching, CES can manifest as community-engaged learning, service learning, activist pedagogy, and critical pedagogy, among other approaches.

Check out our publications page for reports on the practice of CES, and a bibliography of scholarship that has emerged from UNP-supported partnerships.

Community Scholar in Residence/Community Resident in Action

The UNP Community Scholar in Residence and Community Resident in Action are awards offered by UNP to enable university and community partners to engage in the work in a project-centered way. These financial awards support faculty and community residents’ involvement in mutually beneficial partnerships that promote systemic change and increase access to higher education for youth and families living in Salt Lake City’s west side neighborhoods.

Community-Based Research Grant Program

The Community-Based Research Grant Program is sponsored by the Vice President for Research in collaboration with UNP. The goal is to encourage collaborative, mutually-beneficial research that involves the university and community partners at the local, regional, and/or statewide level. One to two annual grants of up to $20,000 are available to faculty of all disciplines. There is one submission cycle per year. Application deadline is February 15.

Community-Engaged Learning

In collaboration with the Bennion Center, UNP supports a range of community-engaged learning (CEL) courses across the disciplines. These courses enhance academic learning through on-the-ground collaboration with west side partnerships.

Contract Classes

UNP and the Division of Continuing Education have collaborated since 2006 to increase access to the U of U for west side residents through a combination of both non-credit and for-credit (contract) classes. Some of our longest-running courses include the Westside Leadership Institute and Humanities in Focus.