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Vol. 12 No. 3

An Anatomy of a Community-University Partnership: The Structure of Community Collaboration

  • W. Barry Messer
  • Kevin Kecskes
July 23, 2010


Portland State University for the past twelve years has been engaged in a transformation of its general education program and a renewal of its urban mission. A major thrust of this reform has focused on broadening the involvement of students and faculty in community-based learning and scholarship. Curricular and administrative changes have significantly raised the presence of the university in the community and resulted in numerous academic units actively engaging in community collaboration. The collaboration has proven to be an important platform by which the university has expanded its boundaries into the community through actions involving many challenges to the university and community collaborators. In this article we explore the elements that have contributed to the success and achievements of this engaged work by closely examining a long-term community university partnership.