Relationship Building through Community-Guided Research Reveals Opportunities for SW- Madison Youth Engagement with the UW-Madison

by Marian Slaughter

One of the most exciting outcomes of collaboration between the CUE program and professors engaging in research with community groups is the opportunity they afford for building relationships between the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW- Madison) and communities less connected to the university. The work between CUE and the Capstone Experience-CBR course (Community and Environmental Sociology 500) represents one such collaboration. Taught by Professor Randy Stoecker, the course is designed to engage senior undergraduates in research projects to produce needed information and resources to support various Madison communities.

During the fall 2012 semester, the Theresa Terrace/ Hammersley neighborhood group along with the Meadowood Neighborhood Center (MNC) guided a wide variety of data gathering activities carried out by the Professor Stoecker and his class. There were multiple goals for this data collection work: identifying grants, other funding resources, and skills and knowledge of the neighborhood.

One of the opportunities was working with Terrace/ Hammersley middle and high school youth who regularly attended the MNC. Stoecker and four of his students (Beth Nitz, Kelsey Schroeder, Joe Shook, and Laura Thiessen), supported by CUE Engaged Graduate Fellow Marian Slaughter, worked with the MNC youth to create and administer a survey to identify the services and resources that the youth felt the MNC and other community centers should offer. However, instead of viewing these youth as merely a source of data, the students engaged the MNC youth as researchers who gave input and feedback into the survey design, and administered the survey to their peers at the MNC. The participatory youth-researcher design model provided these middle and high school students with an opportunity to develop research skills while helping to generate information that could significantly impact their communities.

During early conversations about the MNC survey, only two of the six youths participating had ever visited the UW-Madison. This sad circumstance struck all involved as a powerful opportunity to begin building a stronger relationship between the UW-Madison and underserved families and communities living in southwest Madison. So, on November 5, 2012, three of the MNC youth (Alisha C., Roosevelt C., and Savannah W.), MNC administrators Susan Jackson and Beatriz Canas and the four students were hosted to a brief tour of the UW-Madison by CUE Fellow Marian Slaughter. This tour included a visit to the Morgridge Center for Public Service, lunch at the UW-Madison Multicultural Student Center, a hands-on science workshop at the Wisconsin Institutes of Discovery and a trip to Babcock Hall for some delicious ice cream. The group then headed to Agricultural Hall so that the youth could continue working on the MNC youth activity survey with the students. Although the youth were a bit worn out at the end of the day (and they weren’t the only ones!), they all indicated how much they enjoyed the visit and expressed a desire to return. Their enthusiasm encouraged all involved to think about how to provide more opportunities to engage youth from southwest Madison in campus-based activities and events.

The UW-Madison is one of the most prestigious public research and education institutions in the world. All young students, particularly those living in Madison should regard the University as a positive, constructive and – yes, fun – part their lives. The sooner the University becomes a real, active and constructive part of the lives of all Madison youth, including youth from underserved neighborhoods like Meadowood and Theresa Terrace, the greater the chances that these youth will not merely visit the UW-Madison – they will attend and become graduates of this great educational institution. ■

<< Back to the list of articles

DELTA Course: Bringing Community University Partnerships to the Classroom

by Helyn Luisi-Mills

The high-impact practice of community-based learning/ research, embodying the Wisconsin Idea, has been shown to enhance student learning outcomes. Beyond that baseline, deeper and more authentic learning happens when care is taken to build solid long-term community relationships, and working to maximize courses for the best quality of community impact. This interactive course allowed participants to learn and share challenges and insights about these issues in a collaborative learning community approach.

CUE instructors, Beth Tryon, Ashleigh Ross, Marian Slaughter, and TA Helyn Luisi-Mills included readings that provided an overview of good practice in campus-community relationship building. Additionally, through the incorporation of skills and real time competency building, students engaged with community partners and faculty. As a collaborative learning community approach took deeper root, students shared their pre and post-course perspectives on community-based learning challenges and rewards. Community partners were invited to share their unique viewpoint and present current challenges and opportunities in current partnerships as case studies. Participants walked away with tangible skills in building community partnerships and curriculum development.

Students in the course produced final presentations outlining their philosophy, methodology, and activities for a CBL course they would teach in the future. Ideas included a peer education module, a geological science and elementary school STEM program, and a community research action project. Students’ submissions showed that the learning goals set by the syllabus were met. Excerpts from their final projects include:

“It [my class] will incorporate CBR into the [students’] work because it is the most effective route for learning about the individuals we serve.”

“Students will interact with non-technical members of the community and collaborate with a community partner to plan and execute a project deemed useful by both the community partner and the students.”

“. . . these service learning projects are intended to be mutually beneficial for both the students and the community partners. Students will learn how to provide useful services in a non-academic setting.”

This partnership with the Morgridge Center, DELTA, and the community was so successful that the invitation was issued to provide the course again. We plan to offer it again this fall. Please contact Helyn Luisi-Mills for details. ■

<< Back to the list of articles

The Midwest Knowledge Mobilization Network

by Beth Tryon

On October 19th, 2012, representatives from seven universities in the region met at the Center for Urban Research and Learning (CURL) offices at Loyola University-Chicago to discuss the possibility of forming a network of Midwest ‘Science Shops’. Serendipitously, Norbert Steinhaus from the Bonn, Germany Science Shop and coordinator of Living Knowledge, the international science shop network, was able to stop by Chicago on his way from Germany to Toronto (we bent the map a little!) to provide his guidance. According to Steinhaus, the purpose of a science shop network is to share ideas, experience, and research with different communities so that the same research doesn’t get repeated over and over. Science shop networks also give all citizens better access to scientific expertise because academic information is accessible and openly shared. Individual science shops can distribute information to networks so that other communities can benefit as well.

CURL is one of the most established science shops in the US. Director Phil Nyden described how CURL brings community and university knowledge together by using community partners at all levels of research, but most importantly, at the conception of an idea or issue, and embraces learning and teaching that goes in both directions. They work on projects that have deep impact – participatory evaluations, providing data for advocacy campaigns, researching models of successful community programs, and creating educational videos about community issues. CUE’s contributions included Beth Tryon’s description of CUE’s infrastructure, and Randy Stoecker’s presentation on his Community Development model with Mary Beckman of the Center for Social Concerns at Notre Dame. Mary also shared her work on designing CBR for maximum community impact.

At the meeting, representatives decided to pursue this idea of a regional network to create a community of practice that will allow practitioners to ask each other for administrative and research guidance, share their own experiences and best practices and provide a stronger voice for this type of community engagement. Although they wanted to keep this regional network within a driving distance context, it will also link into national and global networks such as Living Knowledge, Community- Campus Partnerships for Health, and GACER (Global Alliance for Community-Engaged Research). The group decided on a working title of “Midwest Knowledge Mobilization Network”.

Indiana University Purdue University of Indiana (IUPUI) has volunteered to host the next Midwest Knowledge Mobilization Network meeting on April 12, 2013 in the IUPUI Campus Center. Agenda, registration info and lodging suggestions will be coming shortly. If you would like to be on the email list for the details, please contact Teresa Bennett of the Solution Center at or 317-278-9170. ■

<< Back to the list of articles

Innovation in the Community- University Partnership

by Dadit Hidayat

On October 9, 2012, Interim Chancellor David Ward officially kicked off the Year of Innovation for the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  CUE was tasked to put together a panel on “Campus-Community Partnership: Fostering Innovation.”  The audience learned what community-based work means to student Sherri Bester (Student Liaison to Family Voices Project), Heather Gates (Executive Director, The Natural Step Monona), Dolly Ledin (Instructor, Institutes for Biology Education), Kim Neuschel (Nurse, Public Health Madison and Dane County), Sue Stanton (CUE Graduate Fellow and PhD candidate, School of Education), and Lynet Uttal (Professor, Family Studies and Human Development and Director of Asian American Studies).

Professor of Community and Environmental Sociology Randy Stoecker delivered an introduction.  He shared the inconvenient facts behind many success stories of university- community partnership.  “Untenured faculty literally risks their job, graduate student risks their degree completion, and community groups risk their organization’s productivity,“ he illustrated.  For that reason, he introduced the panelists as “not only the most innovative but also the bravest innovators.  ”When asked about innovation, Bester said, “It is when our [community] voice is recognized and heard.”  Rather different from the mainstream production of knowledge, partnership is about co- production of knowledge or according to Ledin, “a two-way street.”  Knowledge is produced collaboratively between academics and those who may only have an 8th grade education, as suggested by Stoecker.  Only in this way could the partnership make the difference that otherwise communities would not be able to make (on their own), added by Gates.

For Uttal, the motivation to work with community is so that academics are able to learn from local people who are in practice in the real world.  Local theorizing, as Uttal illustrates, is where book knowledge is translated into more conceptual ideas working collaboratively.

When asked about the key to a successful partnership, Neuschel offered thoughts from her experience with an on-the-ground model and the importance of forming sincere relationships with the community.  Stanton added both academics and community members can then speak the same language.

Following the panel, five groups showcased their campus- university partnership projects at interactive table displays.  These included the Family Voices Project, South West Madison Community Organizers, Savor South Madison, Slow Food UW, Institute for Biology Education, and the Community-University Exchange. ■

<< Back to the list of articles

CUE Chair’s Report

by Beth Tryon, CUE Program Chair

Greetings and welcome to the Winter 2012-2013 Issue of the CUE Newsletter. Much has happened since our first issue last August!  Inside this issue you’ll find articles about all of CUE’s latest developments, including:

  • Our graduate seminar taught through the DELTA certificate program. An AACU “Bringing Theory to Practice” grant funded a TAship for our Engaged Scholarship Fellow Helyn Luisi-Mills.  She did a fantastic job refining the curriculum developed in 2011.  Several of the Ph.D. students in the class are now developing new community-based learning course curriculum based on class projects!
  • Our ongoing work in Southwest Madison’s Meadowood Neighborhood Center and the Teresa Terrace-Hammersley area, involving new elements of community gardening and math & science tutoring.
  • We are in the planning phase of a new literacy project with Gloria Ladson- Billings and Catherine Compton-Lilly in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction, School of Ed.  We hope to obtain funding for CUE Fellow Marian Slaughter’s tutor/mentor training curriculum and expand tutoring to several community centers.
  • An evaluation of the work of the Slow Food-UW students serving brunch to and with the families in the Family Voices tutoring program, and updates on the partnership, partially funded by a Wisconsin Idea Fellowship award from the Morgridge Center.
  • The fledgling “Midwest Knowledge Mobilization Network” is starting to get legs – our inaugural meeting at the Center for Urban Research and Learning at Loyola-Chicago was a success with 25 representatives from 7 schools.  Our second meeting will be in Indianapolis on April 12th. Please join us there!

We are also involved with the Morgridge Center’s new faculty/staff roundtables – the kick off is February 27th.  There will be another in April concerning faculty tenure and promotion. Interest is high in the Engaged Scholarship Summit on March 20th.  Several of these ongoing projects have been supported by CUE Fellows or are in CUE’s ongoing project areas.

Meanwhile, we continue to grow our infrastructure and look for ways to support the work of the many faculty, staff and students across campus working with the community on academic projects.  We are currently in meetings with the Promise Zone (an initiative based at the Urban League), faculty and staff across campus, and the Vice Chancellor’s Office of University Relations about re-establishing the UW’s physical presence on South Park Street.  We envision a “CUE Station” to help facilitate the comings and goings of UW students in and out of community-based learning projects, decreasing the organizational burden on both faculty and community partners.  The Promise Zone report has highlighted ideas such as a Cultural Heritage Center to bring awareness of all the different cultural identities in South Madison, a space to have community suppers, musical performances, art and other continuing education classes, and community art projects.  The recent residency of internationally- renowned artist Lily Yeh allowed me to connect her to the Promise Zone folks.  Lily has offered to lead a catalytic planning session to galvanize and organize community interest and capacity, so we are working on partnership opportunities to fund that return visit.  The Community-Based Learning in Art 448 class, supported by a CBL Fellow from Morgridge Center, is excited to work with Lily on the methodology of organic design!

I’m sure I’m leaving out many things that our talented CUE Graduate Fellows are germinating, but read on for their detailed reports of activities going on this school year.  Please contact us if you are interested in participating in the South Park Street plans, or to discuss other ways we can collaborate with you to support your community-based scholarship, and check out our website for more updates. ■

<< Back to the list of articles