Partner Featured Session SL Research 05

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The Community Dimension of Service-Learning: A Multi-Faceted Challenge for Researchers: 

The Community Dimension of Service-Learning: A Multi-Faceted Challenge for Researchers Barbara A. Holland, Ph.D. Director, National Service-Learning Clearinghouse Senior Scholar, IUPUI

Bringing Community Voice to Service-Learning Research: 

Bringing Community Voice to Service-Learning Research Barbara A. Holland, Ph.D. Director, National Service-Learning Clearinghouse Senior Scholar, IUPUI

Activity: 

Activity Community: What are the institution’s goals for partnering with you? What do they really want? Campus: What are the Community’s goals for partnering with you? What do they really want?

Activity 2: 

Activity 2 Community What do you believe the institution thinks you want from them? How do they see your interests/goals? Campus What do you believe the Community thinks you want from them? How do they see your interests/goals?

Activity 3: 

Activity 3 What is your ONE greatest fear/concern regarding the future of your community-campus partnership? What ONE thing do you most wish your partner organization would do differently?

Some of the Many Challenges of Community Partnership Research: 

Some of the Many Challenges of Community Partnership Research Stereotypes Generating candor Our presumptive views Who composes the questions? What matters to com’ty? What info do they value and/or want to track? Issues of time/place? Surrendering our expert role Power differences The causality problem

Role of Research in Service-Learning: 

Role of Research in Service-Learning Building intellectual foundations Integrating theory and practice Documenting practices/impacts/outcomes Improving program quality Reporting to funders and partners Building organizational support Persuading others Mode of Engaged Scholarship

Potential Research Directions: 

Potential Research Directions Door #1 Impact of SL on community conditions Door #2 Impact of community partner on student learning Door #3 Quality of SL partnership relationship or processes

Research Directions: 

Research Directions Door #1 Research on community conditions and outcomes of SL partnerships Metrics must relate to the SL task; limited to actual activity and population Challenges of causality; need for control groups (e.g. Kirby, NICHD study) Use of CBPR will be mandatory for this work to be successful in community and academic worlds

Research Directions: 

Research Directions Door #2 Research on impact of community partner on student learning We know partners self-identify as co-teachers Do students recognize this role? Do we prepare them to expect such an outcome? Need to explore partner role in student orientation, goal setting, performance evaluation. What’s wanted/reasonable? Need research on intentionality of partner teaching roles and responsibilities; across learning goals

Research Directions: 

Research Directions Door #3 Research on the partner relationship Focus on improving process and project Measuring attitudes, impacts, sustainability, satisfaction organizational capacity, reciprocity/benefits Requires agreement about what indicators will be tracked regarding impact See Gelmon et al for one model

Current State of Partnership Research (Sources): 

Current State of Partnership Research (Sources) Multi-institutional project/program evaluation Site visits, case studies, reports Doctoral research-growing! Institutional studies (PSU, MSU) Forthcoming research projects See handout

Partnership Types: 

Partnership Types Service relationship – fixed time, fixed task Exchange relationship – exchange info, get access for mutual benefit, specific project Cooperative relationship – joint planning and shared responsibilities, long-term, multiple projects System and Transformative relationship – shared decision-making/operations/evaluation intended to transform each organization Hugh Sockett, 1998

Why do Academics Want to Partner with Community?: 

Why do Academics Want to Partner with Community? Enhance student learning and civic responsibility Increase local student access Act as an involved citizen of the region Increase relevance of programs Add public purposes to research agendas – put knowledge “to work”; exchange expertise Attract new resources for campus & community Link campus and community in common purpose –heal old issues through new relationships Build public understanding and support – become responsive

Why do Communities Partner with Universities?: 

Why do Communities Partner with Universities? Motivate students to link education and community Promote economic opportunity/job growth Improve schools, youth outcomes, college ambitions Gain new perspectives on programs and services Build a responsive workforce Create new community networks Exchange expertise on key community issues Create change in university attitude and actions

Four Portraits of Effective Partnerships: 

Four Portraits of Effective Partnerships Community-Campus Partnerships for Health Partnership Principles Council of Independent Colleges Elements of Partnership Campus Compact Benchmarks for Partnerships HUD Effective Partnerships

CCPH Partnership Principles: 

CCPH Partnership Principles Mission, values, goals, outcomes Trust, respect, commitment Focus on strengths, assets, improvement Balanced power, shared resources Clear, open communication Mutually designed processes Feedback for continuous improvement Shared credit for accomplishments Take time to develop and evolve

CIC Core Elements of Partnerships: 

CIC Core Elements of Partnerships Mutually-determined goals and processes Shared resources, rewards, risks Roles reflect partner capacities and resources Respect for expertise of each partner Sufficient benefits to justify cost/effort/risk Shared vision/excitement/passion Accountability for carrying out plans Commitment to benefits for all partners

Campus Compact Benchmarks for Partnerships: 

Campus Compact Benchmarks for Partnerships Shared vision and values Benefits and incentives for all partners Investment in trust/mutual respect Multi-dimensional (reflects nature of issues) Clear organization/dynamic leadership Linked to mission of partner organizations Clear process for communication, decision-making, change Evaluation of both methods and outcomes

Effective Partnerships (HUD): 

Effective Partnerships (HUD) Joint exploration of goals and limitations Creation of a mutually rewarding agenda Operational design that supports shared leadership, decision-making, conflict resolution, resource management Clear benefits and roles for each partner Identification of opportunities for early successes for all; shared celebration of progress Focus on knowledge exchange, shared learning and capacity-building Attention to communications patterns, trust Commitment to continuous assessment of the partnership itself, as well as outcomes

Assertions: 

Assertions Research/evaluation-to-date is presenting us with a converging perspective on the characteristics of effective partnerships Largely from the higher ed perspective More systematic research is needed to enhance our understanding of HOW to achieve these ideal characteristics or on community perspectives on partnerships

Community Perspectives: A New California Study (in progress): 

Community Perspectives: A New California Study (in progress) Problem: Existing partner typologies arise mostly from a higher education perspective or framework. New Research Questions: How do community partners define effective partnerships? What are partner perspectives on working with academic institutions in particular? What are partner ideas for improved practice in service-learning partnerships?

Project Design: 

Project Design 99 Community Partners in 15 Focus Groups at 8 different sites in California Partners were chosen from 8 different types of academic institutional contexts Audio-taping and note-taking Three skilled moderators One protocol; 8 questions; 2 hours

Maximizing Data Quality: 

Maximizing Data Quality Participants were not exposed to higher education partnership models Campus staff/faculty were not present or involved in protocol development Small incentive for participation + Food Strict adherence to protocol; plenty of time for free discourse; “moderator-light” Questions were neutral, not suggestive Common recorder/notetaker

Next big research issues?: 

Next big research issues? Reciprocity – indicators? Power differences among partner organizations Culture/Race/language barriers Working language across organizational cultures Resources: sources and distribution across partners Infrastructure models Leadership: transitions, renewal, longevity Governance models and partnership roles Relationships between SL goals and activity design Visibility for this work: what audiences matter?

Key Factors to Study?: 

Key Factors to Study? Issues of SL design as linked to outcomes for students, or for community? Models of partner involvement in SL goal-setting and activity design? Impact of infrastructure models on partnership sustainability or growth? Focus on student learning as point of connection in partnership? Partner as co-teacher? How to define and recognize? Measure impact on learning?

More Factors to Study?: 

More Factors to Study? Joint articulation of essential partnership skills? Collaborative professional development? What personal factors/traits influence partner behaviors and attitudes? Formal v. informal partner agreements? Modes of communication/use of language? Impact of partnership on partner skills? Forms of partnership governance? Models for conflict resolution?

Research Methods Matter: 

Research Methods Matter All of these studies call for methods that fully integrate community perspectives. To move from research “on” community partnerships to research “as” partners with intent of mutual benefit, we must adopt the methods demonstrated in various forms of community-based participatory research!

Adding Community Voice to Research : 

Adding Community Voice to Research #1. Conceptualization-framing the questions Local knowledge Alternative explanations or hypotheses Complexities of interrelationships Identify variables of com’ty interest “knowing subjects” not guinea pigs Increases likelihood that research will be useful to community as well as academia (Jordan, Gust, and Scheman, 2005)

Adding Community Voice to Research: 

Adding Community Voice to Research #2 Research Design – Ways to explore Q’s, collect good data, protect subjects A blend of good science and com’ty expectations How to approach participants cultural competencies and expectations How to generate trust Appropriate incentives Potential threats to validity

Adding Community Voice to Research: 

Adding Community Voice to Research #3 Implementation of the Design Recruit participants Prevent attrition Community may collect data as peers Generates greater candor Demonstrate confidence in research intentions and value to com’ty

Adding Community Voice to Research: 

Adding Community Voice to Research #4 Analysis and Interpretation Sense-making of the data as well as formal analysis Exploration of different explanations Lived community experience blended with research expertise Objectivity enhanced by exploration of accuracy and rationality of diverse views Prevents oversimplification

Adding Community Voice to Research: 

Adding Community Voice to Research #5 Dissemination– tell the story Collaborative writing for different audiences; match language to audience Deliberate plan for sharing data Rapid translation across stakeholders Increase knowledge and skill of com’ty Academics report findings to peers Com’ty empowered to take action

Adding Community Voice to Research: 

Adding Community Voice to Research #6 Application – Using the Findings Data to inform com’ty choices; to make changes; choose new approaches Quick impacts on practice, skills, leadership Utility and successful application strengthens validity and generalizability; impact on knowledge and theory Can lead to new questions for com’ty or academia

Core Values of Community-based Participatory Research: 

Core Values of Community-based Participatory Research Trust Respect Exchange of expertise Shared responsibility Clear roles Involvement in all phases of work Value on listening and communicating Knowledge benefits for all Note similarity to key features of partnerships!

Shared Research Reinforces Effective Practices: 

Shared Research Reinforces Effective Practices Define mutual expectations/goals Agree on roles/responsibilities Define specific logistical needs and issues to guide planning Connect learning activities and partner motivations Track cost-benefit issues; organizational impacts

Benefits of Shared Partnership Research: 

Benefits of Shared Partnership Research Strengthen the partnership; all are involved Build a foundation of mutual understanding, common goals Reinforce mutual learning and shared power Create valuable knowledge products that empower community actions/practices Create transforming learning experiences for students Create knowledge products that build scholarship and theory

Challenge and Opportunity: 

Challenge and Opportunity Fulfill the promise of service-learning and engagement partnerships by adopting collaborative modes of partnership research that document evidence of the effects of our shared work For our students For our partners For ourselves For our communities, which we all share.

Question to you!: 

Question to you! What are your ideas for research studies to pursue the next big questions on partnerships?

Next big research issues?: 

Next big research issues? Reciprocity – indicators? Power differences among partner organizations Culture/Race/language barriers Working language across organizational cultures Resources: sources and distribution across partners Infrastructure models Leadership: transitions, renewal, longevity Governance models and partnership roles Relationships between SL goals and activity design Visibility for this work: what audiences matter?

Contact Information: 

Contact Information Barbara A. Holland, Ph.D. Director, National Service-Learning Clearinghouse 4 Carbonero Way Scotts Valley, CA 95066 Toll-free: 866-245-7378, ext. 273 E-mail: barbarah@etr.org www.servicelearning.org

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