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Public Scholarship


The National Center for Institutional Diversity’s (NCID) efforts align with the University of Michigan’s Public Engagement & Impact initiative. The NCID public scholarship agenda elevates diversity public scholarship by supporting the production, dissemination, and application of scholars’ work. Engaging and supporting diversity scholars in public scholarship is particularly critical. Therefore, the NCID:

  • Supports the production and translation of diversity scholarship into public scholarship
  • Disseminates diversity scholarship to inform policy, practice, and public opinion
  • Provides opportunities to increase the immediate impact of diversity scholars’ work
  • Works towards influencing academic cultures and processes to value and measure public scholarship

These goals are achieved through a number of activities, including:

Diversity Public Scholars Community

As an extension of the Diversity Scholars Network, the Diversity Public Scholars Community engages experienced public scholars, as well as those who are interested in moving their work into the public sphere, to explore challenges and opportunities of doing public scholarship.

Funding for Public Scholarship

Pop-Up Grants provide opportunities for scholars to actively engage in diversity scholarship around emerging or re-emerging social issues and disseminate findings quickly to the public. Scholars may apply for up to $2,000 in funding for a 6-month grant period.

Knowledge Communities Grants provide opportunities for staff and faculty at the University of Michigan to actively collaborate on scholarship-to-practice initiatives to drive institutional transformation on campus and across the country.

Grants to Support Research and Scholarship for Change are available to members of the University of Michigan community to support their work on innovative projects that will positively impact academia and society.

Think-Act Tanks mobilize multi- disciplinary, institutional, and generational collaborative research teams to advance diversity scholarship that has a public impact.

Writing stipends ($200, or $300 if there is a collaboration) are available for members of the Diversity Scholars Network to contribute to the NCID’s Public Writing Publication.

Informing Policy, Practice, and Public Opinion

A critical component of public scholarship is determining the most effective ways to disseminate and communicate with a broader public audience. A scholar must develop a strategy to reach stakeholders who may be influenced by their scholarship. This may come in the form of informing policymakers, practitioners, members of the media, and/or the public. Forms of dissemination and communication may include:

Public Writing

Pop-Up Writing Opportunities are announced throughout the year to work one-on-one with an editor and contribute to the NCID Insight Papers (published through Michigan Publishing) or NCID’s public writing platform and produce policy briefs or institutional reports. The NCID builds partnerships with public writing platforms such as the American Council on Education’s Higher Education Today and The Conversation.

Creative Products

Opportunities to work with one of NCID’s creative interns are available for scholars. Translating scholarship into an infographic, illustrated abstract, or animated video is just another way that scholars can communicate and disseminate their work.

Social Media Engagement

Periodically, the NCID works with scholars to publish Twitter threads or discussions around particular themes or topics. This provides an opportunity to engage and respond with publics through social media platforms.

In The Media

The NCID collaborates with journalists and the media to ensure that the most appropriate experts are contacted to inform current issues

Federal Advisory Committees

The NCID nominates and encourages the participation of diversity scholars in federal advisory committees to inform policymakers.  

Open/Public Data

In partnership with the University of Michigan Library, the NCID is developing a toolkit for diversity scholars to make their research datasets public. This effort aligns with national calls to make data more accessible and is particularly leading the way in informing processes for making data that is often sensitive accessible to a broader audience. Resources for how to use this public data will also be developed.

Making it Count in the Academy

While scholars are often encouraged by institutional leadership to engage in public scholarship, these scholars often receive mixed messages from their departments, particularly during the hiring, tenure, and promotion evaluation process. The NCID encourages and supports scholars to adopt a public scholarship while at the same time working towards transforming structures in the academia. This effort includes the following activities:

Publication Series

This series of Insight Papers (a Michigan Publication production) deconstructs a framework for transforming the academy at the institutional, disciplinary, and individual level and calls upon administrators and faculty to take action in their sphere of influence.


A series of workshops throughout the year are organized to engage scholars and institutional leaders to discuss and develop an action plan in transforming the evaluation process for hiring, tenure, and promotion reviews in their departments.

Alt Metrics

In partnership with the U-M Library, we are exploring tools and resources used to measure the impact in order to guide departments in assessing public scholarship. For example, we are piloting Altmetric Explorer and how scholars can best utilize the tool to track and articulate their impact.

Next Generation of Public Scholars

Emerging scholars are now more than ever facing the dual pressures of fulfilling the traditional requirements of academia and engaging in scholarship that will engage and impact the broader public. A series of workshops and dialogues will engage graduate students to identify the needs, learn from their current work, and provide supports for those who choose to pursue this career trajectory.

Trainings and Resources

In collaboration with existing U-M resources, the NCID provides customized trainings and resources relevant to diversity scholars and make these opportunities open to our national Network. Training opportunities may include speaking with the media, using social media, writing for a public audience, and leveraging their research for advocacy, all while taking into consideration the unique challenges and opportunities of diversity scholars.