One thought on “Question #2 – Community-University Partnerships

  1. I completed my undergraduate degree at a private university in a rural location (Colgate, in Hamilton, NY), but otherwise have been affiliated with universities in urban locations (1 private, 2 public). I was at Colgate before the resurgence of interest in CUPs but, from my perspective as a student, there were not many opportunities to interact with groups in the community. I think that has changed in recent years but imagine that the challenges and opportunities are quite different from those of universities in urban locations, if for no reason other than the sheer number of community groups, public agencies, and universities in a given area.

    In terms of the distinction between public and private institutions, I wonder if there’s a real or perceived difference about their relative responsibilities to the communities in which they are located. I think this is an especially important question when we consider the increasing attention paid to PILOTS (payments in lieu of taxes) that Ramon Borges-Mendez mentioned yesterday. It seems to me that public institutions have an inherent obligation to engage with and serve the communities in which they are located. Perhaps private universities do, too, but then that also begs the question of whether there is a distinction between nonprofit and for-profit private institutions of higher education.

    Finally, and this also goes to yesterday’s discussion, to what extent do CUPs really exist at the level of the university as opposed to with individual faculty? It seems to me that the concept of CUPs presumes some sort of institutional commitment on all sides, but that one overarching challenge is that the real commitment and work often is borne by individuals, whether in community groups or as faculty and students.

    Jennifer Shea
    San Francisco State University

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