3 Responses to “The University as Community Partner”

  1. John Stephens

    Shawn and Katie – I’d like to encourage you to compare your recent posts:

    Translating Academic Research to Results-Oriented Solutions
    http://cele.sog.unc.edu/translating-academic-research-to-results-oriented-solutions/
    and The University as Community Partner
    http://cele.sog.unc.edu/the-university-as-community-partner/

    Here’s how I see two possible connections. I hope others will chime in:

    1. How to listen and work together on what college people “know” and what is “really needed” by community people of various educational backgrounds.

    In Katie’s post The University as Community Partner – she notes three things universities do less well [I shorten her points]:
    • Knowledge Sharing/Co-creation. Universities [do less well] at asking communities what their challenges are and working together toward solutions.
    • Sharing the Wealth. Universities must ask themselves whether the wealth they are generating is improving the economic health of the whole community….Sitting next to these centers of innovation and economic growth are centers of poverty and need.
    • Too often colleges and college students “use” communities for feel good projects that do little to address the most important challenges that communities face.

    2. Who participates, how, and with what power or authority?

    Shawn, in Translating Academic Research to Results-Oriented Solutions writes that “be it though university volunteerism or simply goodwill, [college leaders should] provide guidance to [neighborhood people to] strengthen their political voices for more effective civic participation.”

    I think this is part of an interesting topic: which voices get attention, and how much of university-community connections should be designed to strengthen a grassroots groups, or neighborhood’s political voices for more effective civic participation (paraphrasing Shawn).

    Participation that mobilizes people, can shift the perception of political power, and may be judged to be “effective.” One measure of participation is how a group focuses on what it wants or needs and if they achieve their goals.

    Alternatively, as I wrote about in “Is there a sharp line between political protest and civic engagement?” people who benefit from the current arrangement of power and participation may see university folks as stepping beyond what they should do with neighborhood people.
    My post: http://cele.sog.unc.edu/is-there-a-sharp-line-between-political-protest-and-civic-engagement/

    I hope to hear from others.

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