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.

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