Cases

Resources that share examples, experiences, outcomes, and reflections on particular community-based research endeavors.

Expectations and Realities of Engaged Scholarship: Evaluating a Social Economy Collaborative Research Partnership

This paper examines and evaluates the dynamics of engaged scholarship within a complex community-university research partnership. The British Columbia–Alberta Social Economy Research Alliance (BALTA) brings together academics and practitioners with the goal of advancing understanding of the social economy and contributing to the development of a social economy research network in western Canada. Engagement in BALTA refers to both internal (academic and practitioner research partnerships) and external (research process) project components. Our findings indicate that the structure of the project, dictated in large part by funder requirements and the professional cultures of research participants, greatly influenced the nature and quality of engagement. This paper examines the BALTA initiative and the reflexive and adaptive process it has undergone as it responds to various challenges and seeks to realize the ideals and potential of engaged scholarship. Continue reading

Developing a Community-Based Research Network for Interdisciplinary Science: The Alabama Entrepreneurial Research Network

The Alabama Entrepreneurial Research Network (AERN) is a program originated to encourage entrepreneurship in rural areas of economic distress. In addition to promoting prosperity in low-income areas, the program now also serves as an opportunistic research network for interdisciplinary science investigations. Through AERN, potential and existing entrepreneurs in rural areas of Alabama have access to extensive university resources and personnel to advance their ideas for improving their local economies. The network provides materials, training, counseling, and business research services. AERN now includes 15 partners located over a large geographic area. This network has been sustained for over 10 years at a non-land grant state university. This paper describes the AERN program and suggests that an extensive university bureaucracy devoted to community relationships (such as the very successful and admirable Extension System) is not always necessary for long-lasting, effective engaged scholarship. The University of Alabama (UA) team has benefited as surely as the rural partners and local entrepreneurs. Continue reading

University-Community Partnerships in Small-Town Idaho: Addressing Diverse Community Needs through Interdisciplinary Outreach and Engagement

Beginning with a review of community-university partnerships, this paper presents three case studies and the interdisciplinary partnership model for outreach and engagement at the University of Idaho (U of I). More detailed sections explore partnership relationships, academic and service outcomes, and the prospect of exporting the community-university model to other institutions. We make the argument for an interdisciplinary outreach and engagement model that focuses on multiple partnerships both within and outside the university to comprehensively address communities’ design and planning needs. Addressing different stages in the planning process, from visioning to policy development, requires matching appropriate skill sets of academic programs with the needs and abilities of community partners. During our 20-year history of working with transitioning communities, we have found that they face a host of economic, environmental, infrastructure, social, and governmental problems. A long-term strategy is generally needed to prioritize and schedule partnership projects (Reardon, 1999; Sorensen & Lawson, 2011). Continue reading

Redefining the Lines of Expertise: Educational Pathways Through the Communities Together Advocacy Project

The profiles of American communities are among the most dynamic in recent history. This qualitative study examines collaboration between an urban community and The University of Utah. The Communities Together Advocacy Project illustrates parents’ perspectives on the effectiveness of an advocacy training program and their subsequent leadership roles within a community. Findings speak to parent advocates as critical stakeholders in community-university partnerships. Continue reading

Building Capacity to Improve Latino Health in Rural North Carolina: A Case Study in Community-University Engagement

In North Carolina, health disparities for the emergent Latino population are well documented. Between 2005 and 2009, a community-university engagement model with Latino leaders and university faculty and students in rural eastern North Carolina worked to address solutions to health disparities among Latinos. Based on principles of community-based participatory research, this model focused on partnership formation and capacity building. Community partners acquired leadership and research skills. University partners gained a local understanding of Latino health through collaborative community and systems-level initiatives. Mutual benefits were achieved in partnerships established, resources leveraged, and community members reached. These strategies can be replicated in other communities that have an immigrant Latino population, community-oriented, bilingual health professionals, and a university committed to engagement. Continue reading

Making It Real Through Transformative Scholarship, Service-Learning, and a Community-Based Partnership for HIV Education in Alabama

HIV/AIDS is increasingly common in the U.S. South, especially among young people. This article describes a sociology course on HIV/AIDS for college students at the University of Alabama that sought to increase HIV knowledge through instruction, service-learning activities, and community- based research. In the first half of the course, the students partnered with an AIDS service organization (ASO) for HIV outreach. In the second half of the course, the students conducted surveys on HIV- related knowledge and attitudes in the community. Three main conclusions emerged from teaching the course: (1) service-learning with community-based research on HIV/AIDS is feasible, (2) service-learning modules require careful planning, and (3) student engagement for HIV prevention is beneficial for advancing the principles of public sociology. Continue reading

Transforming Cities and Minds through the Scholarship of Engagement

Written by engaged scholars and practitioners,Transforming Cities and Minds is an “instrument-for-action” on the problems faced by U.S. cities that have suffered from decades of disinvestment. The book advocates the concept of reciprocal knowledge: real learning on both sides, campus and city, through a complex network of human relationships.

Across the country from Camden to Oakland, the contributors engaged with community partners–hospitals, churches, community development corporations, community foundations, and other rooted institutions–to help restore old cities to life. Their collaborative thesis project engaged them with one another and university staff; it may offer a new paradigm for graduate education. Continue reading

Sociologists and the Formation of URBAN

A number of sociologists played a role in establishing URBAN, an emerging multidisciplinary network that will promote community-based and collaborative forms of research. While many sociologists have long conducted research in collaboration with community-based organizations, most of these scholars work in silos and their work is typically not rewarded or credited within the academy.  Learn more in this American Sociological Association Footnotes article by Jose Calderon and Mark Warren about the  innovative ways that sociologists across the United States worked to bring URBAN into being. Continue reading

How Students Are Leading Us

Philadelphia’s students have long been a major force in the battle for public education, and for the past decade and a half they have fought valiantly against the encroachment of neoliberalism, the idea that market-based logic can solve non-market problems more efficiently and effectively than governmental or public sector agencies. Leading this charge have been two prominent youth organizing groups, the Philadelphia Student Union (PSU) and Youth United for Change (YUC). Both PSU and YUC have been at the forefront of recent organizing efforts to protest and propose alternatives to the shuttering of 23 schools, the firing of 3,859 educators and support staff, and the elimination of extracurricular programs and arts education from the public schools for the 2012-2013 school year. Continue reading

Morris Justice Project

In 2011, neighborhood mothers in the Morris Avenue section of the South Bronx who were outraged by the NYPD’s treatment of their sons, connected with researchers from the Public Science Project, John Jay College, and Pace University Law Center who were interested in studying and challenging unjust policing. The mothers and researchers got together and recruited additional community members to join a collaborative research team, now known as the Morris Justice Project, to document experiences with police. Continue reading