Plymouth State University has a long legacy of engaged teaching and scholarship. Nearly all of our academic programs maintain working relationships with partners such as schools, hospitals, businesses, government agencies, performance venues, and local non-profits. These important relationships create engaged opportunities for students and faculty that include clinical experiences, basic and applied research, service learning, civic engagement, creativity and artistic expression, and collaboration.
As the University seeks new ways to support external engagement, the CBCP was asked to explore the definition of a “robust partnership” and begin a conversation in which we consider the different ways that we as a campus engage with the outside world. After hearing from many of you, we’ve learned that robust partnerships are built upon values such as reciprocity, trust, and mutual opportunity. Inherent in our work is the sense that higher education must work together with industry, students, and community to create mutually beneficial exchanges of knowledge and resources. Robust partnerships are built upon a democratic and deliberate advancement of the public good through participation, inclusion, and reciprocity in the problem-solving process.
A Robust Partnership…
- Enriches the student experience
- Brings research & engagement into the curriculum
- Offers practical (“real-world”) and field-based experiences, in which students can either work on (not necessarily solve) critical problems or engage in basic scholarly exploration and discovery
- Promotes creativity, experimentation, and reflection
- Cultivates personal and social awareness through explorations of meaning, purpose, and values in service to our common future.
- Supports collaborative, collegial, and transformative relationships among faculty
- Strengthens collaboration among academics and individuals outside the institution
- Is interdisciplinary and integrative when appropriate (i.e. discipline-specific partnerships can be also be robust)
- Provides opportunity for faculty to integrate engagement and collaboration into their teaching, research, and service and “have it count” towards P&T
- Is reciprocal and beneficial to our partners
- Democratically encourages the participation of non-academics (“partners”) in problem articulation and solution development
- Advances the public good
- Is fair (note: “fair” is defined as each stakeholder getting what they need, not necessarily each stakeholder getting the exact same thing)
- Has measurable outcomes, that can be articulated and operationalized (sometimes differently) by each of the following stakeholders:
- Plymouth State (as an institution) – does the partnership contribute to our mission, enhance our reputation, generate revenue, reduce tuition, increase recruitment and retention, and/or engage alumni?
- Faculty – does the partnership enhance our ability to teach, serve the community and discipline, and/or develop opportunities for scholarship?
- Student – does the partnership create career connections, contribute to personal and professional growth and development, allow involvement in the community, and/or contribute to a sense of place, purpose, and meaning?
- External Partner – does the partnership help us grow, increase our capacity, and/or solve a problem?
- Discipline/Profession – does the partnership improve the methodology of our scholarship, generate additions to the knowledge base, and/or effectively disseminate results?
- The Public – does the work of the institution deliver value to the community? Is intellectual property licensed responsibly for the public good? Are we better off?
We hope that this definition serves as a “living document” that guides decision-making through reflection, discussion, and consideration.