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Principles or Ingredients of Successful Campus-Community CBR Partnerships

Page history last edited by Robert Hackett 13 years, 2 months ago

Below are some key principles or ingredients of Successful community-campus partnerships:

  • A Shared Foundation or Philosophy of CBR: Successful partners start from the same place. At the most basic level, they share the same definition of “community”, one that does not see the campus and neighborhood as separate entities. In addition, while they recognize that all individuals have the right and ability to make informed decisions that affect the quality of their lives—they are motivated by the fact that many have been historically excluded.
  • Knowledge—Mutual Appreciation, Sharing and Respect: Strong partners acknowledge that neither professors nor community members (or representatives) hold a monopoly of knowledge or creativity that can be tapped to address our most pressing problems or to educate our young people. At the same time, they are willing to defer when one member of the team has a particular area of expertise (e.g. sampling) and feels strongly about an issue.
  • Trust—Establishing and Nurturing Confidence in Each Other: The members of effective partnerships believe that their campus or community colleagues will ‘do the right thing.’ They will not, for example, place their own needs (e.g. publishing) first or fail to follow through. In addition, both parties seem to have faith in the collaborative endeavor itself—that the process and results are both important—and likely to justify their investment of time and resources.
  • Shared Power: This means that there is tangible evidence of all constituent groups exercising an equal amount of power within the context of specific research projects as well as within the decision-making structures of larger organizations (e.g. consortium boards).
  • Effective Communication: Strong partners avoid using “alienating rhetoric,” replacing the inaccessible language of their discipline or even neighborhood with a clear, honest, and ongoing dialogue.
  • Understanding Organizational Realities & Circumstances: In a healthy working relationship, both parties have a firm grasp of the institutional nuances (e.g., schedules) and constraints (e.g., reward structures) that could get in the way of the immediate work that needs to get done as well as frustrate the growth of their CBR partnership. Together, they develop strategies to overcome these potential barriers.
  • Flexibility: This suggests both an attitude one brings to their work as well as some concrete tactics to surmount the unforeseen challenges that surface in CBR projects.
  • Satisfaction of Primary Interests or Needs: A key component of any sustained partnership is its ability to take care of the main objectives or needs of the key stakeholders. Thus, CBR partnerships must help community groups accomplish their goals. They must also be effective vehicles for student learning.
  • Capacity: A solid partner is one who knows what he or she can contribute to a given situation, has the ability to deliver what is needed, and seeks opportunities to enhance the capacity (e.g., financial support, staffing etc…) of his CBR colleagues so they can continue their collaborative efforts.
  • Long Term Perspective: Successful partners understand that they are involved in a social change project—since their efforts seek to transform major institutions (colleges and universities, foundations, government agencies), power structures, and our democracy (in which more citizens are active). This influences the strategies they develop as well as tempers their expectations for the short-term.

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