Re-Imagining Campus-Community Partnerships: A Collaboratory Initiative in Partnership with AASCU’s American Democracy Project

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It is essential that institutions engage in strong campus-community partnerships – now more than ever.  As we re-emerge from the events of 2020 and move forward, how can we ensure that we create more equitable and responsive relationships?  And perhaps more importantly, how can institutions learn not just from each other, but from the communities in which they are situated?  Higher education needs to better understand engagement in this new landscape and define the who, what, where, when and why of strategies, activities, and programming with and for our communities.  During times of financial uncertainty and societal unrest, how do we leverage data about our campus-community partnerships to achieve common goals?  How do we tell a robust story of engagement?

To support efforts to build this critical knowledge and understanding among institutions, AASCU – a network of 299 public colleges and universities, serving 2.7 million students across 48 states nationwide – and Collaboratory are launching the Re-Imagining Campus-Community Partnerships Initiative.  Together, AASCU and Collaboratory will provide the tools and resources for institutions to:

  • Build a community of practitioners to help define community engagement in the new landscape and share effective strategies and approaches
  • Use data to deepen work with community partners and identify the most effective community partnerships and models to address pressing issues in the community
  • Better tell their story qualitatively and quantitatively
  • Provide individual campus and aggregate evidence of how civic community engagement is operationalized against learning outcomes
  • Identify concrete engagement trends and patterns
  • Be prepared for accreditation and Carnegie applications
  • Have access to centralized engagement data and reports
Support and Resources

Participants will be granted access to Collaboratory for one year free of charge, and will have access to the library of Collaboratory content and to the Collaboratory Education team. Subject matter experts who currently use Collaboratory are serving as ADP Civic Fellows and will help with project planning and support the group as thought-leaders who will advance best practices around assessing community engagement in higher education.


The Re-Imagining Campus-Community Partnerships initiative will be the second Collaboratory cohort in partnership with AASCU and ADP.  The first year cohort (2020 – 2021) explored Understanding Engagement in Times of Crisis.

Call for Participation

AASCU is seeking a limited number of institutions to join a new cohort of campuses to participate in a community of practice that works towards documenting engagement initiatives.  The pilot initiative will begin in Fall 2021 and any AASCU ADP-member institution may apply to participate.

For additional information about the initiative and to apply, please see the American Democracy Project’s Call for Participation.

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