Towson University is one of the most community-engaged universities in the country and university-community partnerships are an essential part of TU’s identity and mission. As you can see from my past blog posts here, here, here, and here–we’ve been working for a long time to figure out the best way to track, evaluate, and support these partnerships.
University-Community Partnerships and Relationships Support System
In academic year 2014-2015, we launched a new University-Community Partnerships and Relationships Support System that does just that. This new system, developed by the Partnerships Working Group – which includes 16 members from across the university–provides definitions, categories, and evaluation tools for partnerships and relationships.
In Spring 2015, we did our first information collection using the new system. We found some pretty amazing results! We received information about 162 partnerships and relationships. A vast majority of these are taking place in Central Maryland, with 86 doing work in Baltimore City.
We also found that our partnerships and relationships are having huge impacts on the communities we serve. The five most common impacts we found were:
- Supporting education in Maryland and improving college readiness and completion
- Providing quality professional development and training that fits Maryland’s needs
- Promoting community development
- Producing leaders and graduates who are prepared for a more global economy
- Improving Maryland’s economic competitiveness and addressing critical skills gaps
Additionally, our partnerships and relationships are producing measureable outcomes for our students, the community, and the faculty and staff leading them. The most common outcomes identified were:
- Meet a community need
- Enhance community relationships
- Positive Impact or Measureable Change in the Community
- Student Learning
- Academic or Non-Academic Presentation/Publication
As you can see, our partnerships and relationships are producing BIG results! We plan to keep building on this momentum to keep supporting these partnerships and relationships and collecting information about new ones.
Community Partnerships: 2015 Status Report
If you’d like to read the whole 2015 status report, you can view it here.