On Friday, March 6, 2020, 76 members from the University of Windsor community gathered for a partnership appreciation and consultation breakfast to discuss what the University can do to support and enhance current and future collaborations with community and industry partners. Participants included University of Windsor faculty, staff, and students, along with 39 representatives from partners in the arts, education, tech, transit, health, social services, and more.
During the event, University of Windsor partners were asked to discuss two sets of questions.
Understanding the Impact of Community-University Partnerships
- What are your key expectations from community-university partnerships? To what extent does the University meet those expectations?
- Where specifically do you see the University’s impact in the community? What role does partnership play in those examples?
- From your perspective, how have you seen partners and partnerships influencing practice and planning at the University? Or, how could it? Please provide examples!
Supporting Partnership Goals
- What are your current and desired goals in partnering with the University?
- What can the University do to make it easier to achieve your partnership goals?
- What are the best, least burdensome, ways to get feedback and engage in dialogue with partners?
- What would be the best ways to recognize and celebrate community-university partnerships?
- What other issues, opportunities, or experiences do you want to make sure we are aware of?
In response, participants provided valuable insights and examples. Some key themes that came out of discussions around partnership impact included the following:
The University’s impact is its students and graduates
- Partners want to see continued growth in the University's offerings for experiential learning—students bring fresh perspectives, energy, and new ideas to the workforce
- Partners want to see more engagement from the University's alumni—"they are the impact, but not the biggest cheerleaders”
Partners believe that the University's impact could be greater with...
- A clear message from the University on its priorities concerning community engagement that would inform Faculty priorities
- A nimble, neutral point of contact on campus ("concierge" or “liaison”) who works to understand partner needs, connect partners to the appropriate people at the University, and supports collaboration
- More knowledge mobilization and collaborative problem solving around complex urban and regional problems (e.g., transportation infrastructure, newcomer transitions, applied technologies, etc.)
More findings will be shared with the University of Windsor community as consultations continue to take place across campus.