Levels and networks in community partnerships: A framework informed by our overseas partners

Thomas Klak
Emma Gaalaas Mullaney


The literature defines successful university-community partnerships as those that are long-term, deep, and multi-dimensional. Our findings, on the contrary, suggest that partnership success can occur at all levels of intensity. Lower-intensity partnerships often contribute crucially to the overall success of the community engagement project, and function as necessary support scaffolding for higher-level partnerships. Relatively few studies have sought to understand university-community partnerships from the perspectives of community partners, so we draw evidence from interviews with our partners in the Eastern Caribbean country of Dominica. We believe instructors can increase the success of their off-campus teaching by deploying our conceptualization of partnership levels and scaffolding.

Full Text:



Arnstein, S 1969, 'The ladder of citizen participation', Journal of the Institute of American Planners, vol. 35, no. 4, pp. 21624. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01944366908977225

Bailey, K & Grossardt, T 2010, 'Toward structured public involvement: Justice, geography and collaborative geospatial/geovisual decision support systems', The Annals of the Association of American Geographers, vol. 100, no. 1, pp. 5786. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00045600903364259

Battistoni, R, Longo, N & Jayanandhan, S 2009, 'Acting locally in a flat world: Global citizenship and the democratic practice of service-learning', Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 89108.

Baumann, G 1996, Contesting culture: Discourses of identity in multi-ethnic London, Cambridge University Press, New York.

Bringle, R 2010, 'International service learning', in R Bringle, J Hatcher & S Jones (eds), International service learning: Conceptual frameworks and research, Stylus, Sterling, VA.

Bringle, R, Clayton, P & Price, M 2009, 'Partnerships in service learning and civic engagement', Partnerships: A Journal of Service Learning & Civic Engagement, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 120.

Bringle, R & Hatcher 2002, 'University-community partnerships: The terms of engagement', Journal of Social Issues, vol. 58, no. 3, pp. 50316.

Bringle, R, Hatcher, J & Holland, B 2007, 'Conceptualizing civic engagement: Orchestrating change at a metropolitan university', Metropolitan Universities Journal, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 5774.

CCPH 2005, Linking scholarship and communities: Report of the Commission on community-engaged scholarship in the health professions, Community-Campus Partnerships for Health, Seattle, WA, 2005, viewed June 2012, http://depts.washington.edu/ccph/pdf_files/Commission%20Report%20FINAL.pdf.

Dorado, S & Giles, D Jnr 2004, 'Service-learning partnerships: Paths of engagement', Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, Fall, pp. 2537.

Enos, S & Morton, K 2003, 'Developing a theory and practice of campus-community partnerships', in B Jacoby (ed.), Building partnerships for service learning, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA, pp. 2041.

Giles, D, Jnr & Eyler, J 1998, 'A service learning research agenda for the next five years', New Directions for Teaching and Learning, vol. 73, Spring, pp. 6572. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/tl.7308

Holland, B & Ramaley, J 1998, What partnership models work to link education and community building? How do we know?, Prepared for the Joint Forum of U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Portland, OR.

Hondagneu-Sotelo, P & Raskoff, S 1994, 'Community service-learning: Promises and problems', Teaching Sociology, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 24854. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1319139

Imperial, M, Perry, J & Katula, M 2007, 'Effective service learning in public affairs: Lessons from the literature', Journal of Public Affairs Education, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 23152.

Kahn, H 2010, 'Overcoming the challenges of international service learning: A visual approach to sharing authority, community development, and global learning', in R Bringle, J Hatcher & S Jones (eds), International service learning: Conceptual frameworks and research, Stylus, Sterling, VA.

Klak, T & Mullaney, EG 2011, 'International civic engagement: From development studies and service-learning to Miami University-Dominica partnerships', Partnerships: A Journal of Service Learning & Civic Engagement. vol. 2, no. 1 (Winter), pp. 126.

McLeod, M & Wainwright, P 2009, 'Researching the study abroad experience', Journal of Studies in International Education, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 6671. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1028315308317219

Mohan, G 2001, 'Beyond participation: Strategies for deeper empowerment', in B Cooke & U Kothari (eds), Participation: The new tyranny?, Zed Books, New York, pp. 15367.

Nye, N & Schramm, R 1999, Building higher education-communitydevelopment corporation partnerships, Seedco & US Department ofHousing and Urban Development, New York.

Perry, J & Katula, M 2001, 'Does service affect citizenship?', Administration & Society, vol. 33, no. 3, pp. 33065. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/00953990122019794

Perry, J & Thomson, A 2004, Civic service: What difference does it make?, ME Sharpe, Armonk, New York.

Ramaley, J 2009, 'Government/university partnerships: An international perspective the view from the United States', viewed 12 June 2012, www.deakin.edu.au/dhs/symposium/Keynote%20Presentation_Symposium_JR.pdf.

Reason, P & Bradbury, H 2001, 'Inquiry and participation in search of a world worthy of human aspiration', in P Reason & H Bradbury (eds), Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice, Sage Publications, London, pp. 114.

Sandy, M & Holland, B 2006, 'Different worlds and common ground: Community partner perspectives on campus-community partnerships', Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, Fall, pp. 3043.

Sockett, H 1998, 'Levels of partnership', Metropolitan Universities: AnInternational Forum, vol. 8, no. 4, pp. 7582.

Torres, J 2000, Benchmarks for campus/community partnerships, Campus Compact, Providence, RI.

Whitney, B & Clayton, P 2010, 'Research on and through reflection in international service learning', in R Bringle, J Hatcher & S Jones (eds), International service learning: Conceptual frameworks and research, Stylus, Sterling, VA.

Woolf, M 2005, 'Avoiding the missionary tendency', InternationalEducator, MarchApril, pp. 2731.

Worrall, L 2007, 'Asking the community: A case study of community partner perspectives', Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, vol. 14, pp. 517.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5130/ijcre.v6i1.2739