Discover how CU Boulder defines and supports public outreach and community engagement, work that plays a key role in our mission as a public research university.

Outreach and engagement definition

In 2010, the Council of Deans updated their definition of outreach and engagement to clarify its commitment to public research:

At CU Boulder, we define outreach and engagement as the ways faculty, staff and students collaborate with external groups in mutually beneficial partnerships that are grounded in scholarship and consistent with our role and mission as a comprehensive, public research university.

For faculty, outreach rooted in scholarship enhances teaching, research, creative work and service while addressing larger societal issues. For students and staff, community engagement and service projects link campus teaching and learning to civic responsibility and community well being.

For communities, partnering with CU Boulder increases the capacity to address important social, economic and cultural issues. At their best, outreach and engagement activities provide significant learning and growth opportunities to faculty, students, staff and partnering communities.

Whether through research projects, teaching activities, civic engagement or service learning, the reciprocal nature of outreach and engagement enriches both our academic mission and the communities we serve.

Since 1912, the university has connected its resources to communities, influencing the development of higher education and public life in Colorado.

That’s why CU Boulder supports offices and networks that help faculty, staff and students partner with nonprofits, agencies, schools and more to address community needs and challenges. 

Campus outreach and engagement offices

CU Boulder has many offices across campus that connect research, teaching and creative work with communities and support faculty, staff and students who do this work.

Office for Outreach and Engagement

This office is a campuswide resource that helps faculty and staff connect their research, teaching and creative work with public needs across Colorado and beyond, offering program development, funding, communications support and more. Our office manages this outreach programs website.

CU Engage: Center for Community-Based Learning and Research

CU Engage, located within the School of Education, oversees multiple programs that help students and faculty apply what they learn on campus to complex community challenges.

Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement

This office coordinates campuswide initiatives and programs that promote diversity and inclusive excellence, enhance campus climate and strengthen community engagement through community partnerships.

Outreach and Engagement Professionals Network

This network is designed for CU Boulder staff and faculty who manage outreach programs and community partnerships. Members meet regularly to share best practices, learn about current research and resources, participate in professional development programs and more. 

Office of Government and Community Engagement

The office helps connect CU Boulder faculty and staff with local community leaders and policymakers and enhances existing outreach efforts.

Research & Innovation Office

This office cultivates and supports collaboration, transformation and leadership in ways that have global impact. At the heart of this focus are the diverse contributions of world-class experts, working together to accelerate ideas throughout the entire innovation lifecycle.

Outreach Strategy and Coordination Network

This network increases cross-campus communication about outreach and engagement efforts and shares resources, knowledge and best practices, so that CU Boulder leaders can work together to more effectively represent the university to all Colorado communities and positively impact Coloradans. The Office for Outreach and Engagement and Office of Government and Community Engagement coordinates this network. Contact us for more information.

Volunteer Resource Center

The center connects CU Boulder students, faculty and staff to volunteer opportunities that positively impact communities. The center matches students with volunteer programs that best fit individual interests and offers leadership opportunities for students.