Becoming aware of the variety of ways academics and students experience and apply research in higher education empowers higher education providers, policy makers and academics to become more reflective and critical of the environment in which learning is taking place. Significant shifts in commerce higher education pedagogy that value community engagement as a bridge to holistic education and sustainable social change are taking place. With the increasing need to integrate the community into the teaching-research nexus, social responsibility is moving to the forefront of commerce higher education. The paper is based on the findings of a teaching and learning scholar research project on embedding notions of community in the teaching-research nexus among commerce academics at a regional Australian university. We examine how research knowledge in commerce faculties can generate socially innovative outcomes that meaningfully benefit a wider set of stakeholders in the community. A teaching and learning innovation in assessment development in a third year commerce undergraduate subject is analysed as a basis for discussion and evidence for recommendations.