Introducing CUE

by Beth Tryon, CUE Program Chair

Welcome to the first issue of the Community-University Exchange (CUE) Newsletter! The interdisciplinary mission of the newest Morgridge Center program is to connect academic resources with community knowledge to develop sustainable solutions and support social action. CUE is in its second year and growing rapidly. We are thankful for the wonderful collaborative spirit of our current campus and community partners and look forward to expanding that number.

While conducting my graduate research at UW-Madison, faculty mentor Randy Stoecker introduced me to the European “Science Shop” model. Its philosophy resonated with the Madison community in its desire for efficiency of access to higher education resources and for community-identified priorities to drive collaborative projects. Striving to equalize the balance of power lessens the burden of academic partnership for non-profits, while deepening student learning through more authentic relationships. The streamlined coordination of complex projects also supports faculty in 
conducting rigorous research without being overwhelmed by the extra time demands of mutually respectful community partnership.

So in summer 2010, a group of campus and community folks met to explore this structure for democratizing knowledge. I was fortunate to have Morgridge Center director Nancy Mathews provide seed funding for a pilot project in South Madison on a set of community-identified priorities that faculty and students had capacity to address, including bias in the media and healthy food access. Please flip through this newsletter for more detail on all our CUE projects.

The new course created for the CUE pilot is now institutionalized as a requirement for Community Leadership and Nonprofit Development majors in the School of Human Ecology. Since then, we have begun to collaborate on new project areas. Articles by the talented graduate students heading those project management teams follow in these pages. As Phil Nyden, Director of the Center for Urban Research and Learning at Loyola U-Chicago has stated numerous times, “We could never do this without our graduate students!”

We are also involved in several professional development opportunities in community-based pedagogies for graduate students and faculty (stories follow in these pages). We hope that this communication will help to pique your interest – what could you get out of CUE? All faculty, academic staff, students and community organizations are encouraged to inquire. ■

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