This session includes two presentations with Q&A.
Deep Collaboration: Employing Innovation to Develop a Truly Integrated Student Experience
Presented by Chanda Torres, University of Central Florida; Edna Jones Miller, Valencia College
The University of Central Florida and Valencia College have been partners in transfer student success for the past 15 years. From the development of a 2+2 matriculation agreement to a fully integrated student services model, these two institutions have become a national model for transfer access and success. Join the Student Affairs leads for the UCF Downtown and Valencia College Downtown Campus as they provide an overview of this unique model. Presenters will also discuss considerations for the development and implementation of a cross-institution partnership between community/state colleges and universities.
The Classroom as Think Tank: How Community Partnerships Can Sustain Higher Ed
Presented by Abraham Unger, Wagner College
This best practices session will present a community partnership model of pedagogy that speaks to our moment in terms of budgetary constraints, while also describing a type of learning that seamlessly weaves together theory and practice. Imagine the classroom as a “think tank.” In this session, I will walk participants through a “consultancy” between a student cohort from a course engaged in a formal partnership with a community agency. There is space for interdisciplinary collaboration in this kind of pedagogy. Drawing from this think tank model, student classrooms serve as policy incubators to conduct fieldwork and produce research that meet the agency’s needs on the ground in its respective community. Students are empowered as citizen-scholars when they recognize their work will be consulted by community decision-makers. As they generate their project, students also cover the literature of that field and refine their research skills, such as constructing a set of hypotheses and generating a literature review, while also learning to interface with community stakeholders and agency professionals. The budgeting for this model requires no additional institutional expenditures, it can be done remotely, but it offers the possibility of grants as well as fees for services by community partners. Students may add to their resumes that they were co-authors of a study for a real-world organization, so the systematic implementation of this model may also be a recruitment incentive for students thinking about their preparation and networking for the job market.
The overriding takeaway that attendees should gain from the presentation is that community engagement has a deeply beneficial practical side in addition to its activist civic stance. It is low cost, but high impact. It holds the possibility of new and self-sustaining revenue streams while also supporting recruitment and retention because of its rich experiential component. In terms of ZOOM, I will present current syllabi to demonstrate how this kind of learning works. Administrators and professors immersed in community partnerships would most benefit from this workshop, because it will systematize the often ad-hoc and vague understanding of how to implement an institution’s civic engagement imperative beyond traditional volunteering.