Areas of Emphasis

Submissions are accepted in the areas described below. In addition to textual submissions, multi-media and artistic products that emerge from or reflect on engagement are encouraged; this might include photos, video, digital stories, etc. For guidance about multimedia submission requirements or to discuss a potential submission, please contact or another member of the editorial board.

Profiles of Practice

The VA Engage Journal welcomes brief narratives that describe specific community-engaged experiences, practices, or programs in order to illuminate and advocate for best practices in specific areas of community engagement. Submissions in this category should be no more than 2500 words and should be written for a general audience interested in the value of engaged practice. Profiles of practice must be grounded in literature that contextualizes this practice in the field, discipline, or profession.


The VA Engage Journal welcomes critical reflections on engagement. Reflections should prompt new and challenging conversations about the practices of engagement through analysis of specific programs or personal experiences in light of scholarly perspectives.

Critical reflections on specific programs/projects should include details of the program goals (learning outcomes, community impact, etc.), basic structure, lessons learned, and suggestions for improvement. Authors should include relevant assessment metrics when describing a program or practice.

Critical reflections on a personal community engagement experience should include details to orient the reader along with particular attention to what was learned—in relation to oneself, a community, and an academic discipline.

In both cases, the word "critical" implies thorough attention to considering multiple lenses and perspectives and how these academic viewpoints interact with an author’s personal understanding of civic engagement.


The VA Engage Journal welcomes reviews of literature and practice. Reviews can either:

  • assess written work or media regarding a practice or perspective related to civic engagement or social activism, or
  • review current bodies of practice relevant to civic engagement (for example, programs addressing recidivism, or anti-poverty initiatives in specific localities, etc.).
    • In either case, the review should evaluate the work’s insight (or lack thereof) into best practices in the field and offer a critical view of the work in relationship to another perspective in literature/practice, or a student's own engagement experiences, and/or in the context of additional research about a related social issue or topic. Reviews do not have to cover new work to be considered for publication.


      The VA Engage Journal welcomes research studies that use quantitative, qualitative, or mixed- methods approaches to report community-engaged and/or community relevant findings.

      Submissions ought to report and evaluate the results of personal research relating to community engagement and demonstrate thorough study and thought as to the application and importance of the research conclusions to a broad audience. Data can be qualitative and/or quantitative in nature. Papers presenting the results from pilot studies or small-scale research or evaluation projects are also welcome.

      All research papers should ensure that the research adhered to APA ethical standards, indicate that participants consented to participate via an informed consent process, if relevant, and that the research was approved (or exempted) by human subjects protection committee (e.g., IRB). Per APA style, the paper should be organized into the following sections as follows: literature review, method, results, discussion, references, and tables/figures (if applicable).