UW authors critique community-university partnerships in UNESCO report

September 18, 2015

A new landmark report on community-university research partnerships from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) features a critical analysis of practices in the United States from two University of Wisconsin-Madison authors, including a Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies graduate student.

Morgridge Center for Public Service Assistant Director Elizabeth Tryon was the lead author on the analysis of research partnerships between universities and communities beyond campus in the United States. The 19-page chapter was co-authored by Nelson Institute doctoral candidate Dadit Hidayat, as well as Loyola University Chicago Professor Philip Nyden.

The report emphasizes the importance of national and regional knowledge-sharing networks, targeted research funding aimed at community-based work, recognition for the contribution of community partners and established centers — like the Morgridge Center — that play a key role in facilitating campus-community linkages. National, regional and community policy support for community-university partnerships was also found to be a critical factor in the success of the partnerships.

"The hope for [the report's]
impact is that it helps
communities around the
globe who work with
universities to design
and use academic research
to inform public policy."

The open-source report, Strengthening Community University Research Partnerships: Global Perspectives, was released in August 2015 by UNESCO's chair in community-based research and social responsibility in higher education.

The goal of the project was to develop "cutting-edge analysis of contemporary academic practice and innovative collaborative methodology."

"The hope for its impact is that it helps communities around the globe who work with universities to design and use academic research to inform public policy," Tryon says, "and to enable those of us engaged in research and research partnerships to evaluate our procedures and look towards developing even more improved processes in the future."

In addition to an overview of community-university research in the United States, the chapter includes case studies on UW-Madison, Loyola University Chicago and the Community-Campus Partnerships for Health, based in Seattle.

Read the report.

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