On March 5th, we hosted the Campus Meets Community Workshop in partnership with America’s Urban Campus, the Asset-Based Community Development Institute, the Office of Civic Engagement at University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago. The workshop brought together leaders from campus and community to discuss the current state of campus-community partnerships and to develop new strategies for future partnerships.
Campus Meets Community Workshop
What information did we collect?
Our main focus during this workshop was to gather the varied experiences of both community leaders partnered with higher education and those seeking partnerships.
Our three primary data collection areas were:
- What is a successful community partnership with Higher Education?
- What is a difficult community partnership with Higher Education?
- How can these partnerships be made better in the future?
To answer these three broad questions, we also needed to understand the various types of partnerships.
Our secondary data collection areas were:
- What are the unique types of partnerships communities have with Higher education?
- Why are these partnerships formed?
- How are these partnerships formed? (What is their structure?)
How did we collect this information?
To answer these questions, Terry Bergdall led a two-part discussion during the morning session of the workshop, which was exclusively open to Community Partners.
During the first portion of the discussion, community partners were placed at tables of no more than eight with a moderator to lead discussion and take notes. Each partner was encouraged to be frank in their assessment of current partnership practices, including outreach, implementation and sustainability.
After an hour of formulating ideas and hearing about different structures of partnerships, the community partners were brought back together in a room-wide plenary discussion led by Terry Bergdall. During this portion, participants were encouraged to dive deep into their suggestions for better outcomes, as they were now equipped with a broader view of higher education partnerships.
During both of these sessions, roaming note-takers were collecting recurring thoughts and suggestions.
How will we use this information?
Once all of the feedback has been collected, we will go through our notes to pull our important and recurring insights. As a coalition of higher education institutions, it is Illinois Campus Compact’s goal to always be improving and supporting the partnerships built by community engagement professionals.
This information will be put to use to create new tools and standard practice guides. It will also set the stage for our next Campus Community Workshop as we continue to strive for strong relationships between higher education and our communities.