Building Collective Knowledge
The Collaborative seeks to build the collective knowledge of the youth leadership and education communities through discussion groups, publications and conference presentations. All work is conducted in collaborative fashion and designed to inform practice.
The Collaborative facilitates discussion groups on timely issues such as youth violence, needs of youth workers, and youth in the media, among others. These groups are typically comprised of practitioners, researchers, youth and college students. The groups are designed to exchange ideas, broaden understanding and, ultimately, shape larger practices.
Responding to both the proliferation of higher-education-community partnerships and the paucity of studies that report the perspective of the community partners in such relationships, we interviewed community leaders to learn about their motivations for and experiences of participating in higher-education-community research partnerships. The article reports community leaders’ assessments of the benefits and challenges of engaging in such partnerships, shares their advice for both community and university-based actors considering involvement in such partnerships, and explores the larger institutional and structural issues that bedevil higher-education-community partnerships.
Why are Americans, and young Americans in particular, so turned off to government and politics? And, what can be done to arrest these trends? In this article, I suggest that three primary, and mutually reinforcing, trends, which can be summed up as the ‘‘relevance factor,’’ the ‘‘negativity factor,’’ and the ‘‘triumphant market factor,’’ have conspired to preempt any interest in government and politics on the part of young people. Consequently, these young people do not develop the skills and knowledge that democratic participation requires nor do they see a need to do so. As educators, how- ever, we have a unique opportunity to address these barriers and, thus, to help repair a key aspect of our democratic fabric—the willingness and ability of citizens to partici- pate in the well-being of the society and its political institutions and processes. This article presents a case study of such an effort at Temple University, a large public institution with a diverse student body located in the heart of Philadelphia.
Currently, we are told that rapid advances in technology have rendered place almost irrelevant in many circumstances. Complementing this is the research on social networks that has demonstrated the rich existence of spatial communities. Given these trends, the question facing us is, can we have geographically based communities?
Universities can significantly enrich the communities in which they are located. Through their educational role, they contribute to the overall wellbeing of the community by helping shape an enlightened citizenry and productive labor force. Through the musical, theatrical, and artistic activities they produce and sponsor, universities enhance the cultural life of the surrounding community, attracting residents and businesses in the process. Yet despite the myriad contributions of institutions of higher learning, their potential for community development has been and often still is overlooked by policy makers, even those within universities.
Involving youth in high-quality, longterm civic leadership activities can yield many positive academic and social outcomes. An overall approach to working with youth rather than a discrete program, the UCCP’s continuum of after- school programming, credit-bearing internships, peer education activities, media production, and paid employment opportunities is designed to keep youth involved at different levels and capacities over an extended period of time, including the critical transition from high school to college or employment. This continuum provides participants with unique opportunities to address issues that are relevant to their lives while forming connections to other youth and to college student mentors.
In 2001 the CDC declared youth violence a public health issue. In summer 2008, we embarked on a project designed to explore the issue of violence from the standpoint of youth who are exposed to and affected by violence in their communities. Using photovoice as the primary methodology, the project sought to develop a more nuanced and deeper understanding of these issues, while simultaneously giving youth a voice and further developing their critical thinking skills. Digital images produced by the youth and the subsequent structured conversations focused on representations of violence, causes of violence and ways to address violence. Analyses of the images and conversations, especially in the context of the literatures on youth violence, race and poverty, support the utility of photovoice as a tool for understanding how youth perceive violence and underscore the need to listen to the voices of those affected by violence.
- National Youth Leadership Council. Denver, CO March 14, 2013.
- Philadelphia Higher Education Network for Neighborhood Development (PHENND) Philadelphia, PA. March 1 2013.
- Promising Practices-Proven Strategies: Strengthening Youth, Families and Communities through Quality Extra Learning Opportunities’, Pennsylvania Department of Education. Harrisburg, PA. March 2011, March 2010, and March 2007.
- Action Civics Conference. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. August 28-30 2010.
- Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool Youth Development Network (PSAYDN) September 14 2010.
- One Voice, One City: Education and Empowerment Summit. Temple University. Philadelphia, PA June 2010.
- Student Leadership Conference. Philadelphia, PA June 2010.
- Chester Youth Empowerment Summit. Chester, PA May 2010.
- PA BUSTED! Conference. Temple University. Philadelphia, PA May 2009.
- Fielding New Strategies for Community Development. Rutgers University, Camden, NJ. April 22 2009.
- Youth Leadership Conference. United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania and the Greater Philadelphia Federation of Settlements. Philadelphia, PA December 2008.
- Eastern Regional Conference on After School Programming. The After-School Institute-TASI. Baltimore, MD May 8-9, 2008.
- Philadelphia’s Young Women Symposium. Philadelphia School District. Philadelphia, PA March, 2008.
- Youth Leadership Conference. United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania and the Greater Philadelphia Federation of Settlements. Philadelphia, PA. November 2007.
- Journalism Center on Children and Families at the National Press Club, Washington, DC. November 12, 2007.
- Philadelphia’s After School Youth Development Network. Philadelphia, PA. June 18, 2007.
- Southeastern Pennsylvania Regional After School Summit. Widener University. Chester, PA. May 24, 2007.
- Delaware Valley Grant Makers. Chester, PA. May 3, 2006.
- Neighborworks Conference. Atlanta, GA. February 22, 2006.
- Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Conference. Washington, DC. January 4, 2006
- American Youth Policy Forum, Washington, DC. October 4, 2002.
- International Conference on Higher Education Assisted Community Schools as Sights of Civic Engagement. Philadelphia, PA. March 29, 2001.