What Happens in Successful Community-University Partnerships

  1. Collaboration is established before projects begin.
  2. Communities identify the research topics.
  3. Communities are involved in the research from the beginning.
  4. Formal processes and structures link community and researchers.
  5. Researchers and funders include communities’ views and concerns.
  6. Community assets are recognized, not just risks and deficits.
  7. Researchers and community organizations share funding appropriately.
  8. Resources are dedicated to sustaining the collaboration itself.
  9. Researchers and community groups are honest about goals and agendas, limitations and constraints.
  10. Research findings are shared with the community before or at publication.
  11. There is follow-through to disseminate results and sustain the project after the grant  ends.
  12. Mutual trust and respect is built.

[This article was published as a sidebar to Town and Gown, an article on participatory research.]

Peggy Shephard is the executve director of West Harlem Environmental Action, Inc. (WE ACT). WE ACT has conducted several research projects in collaboration with universities on environmental justice issues.


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