July 28, 2006
The University's Northside Partnership website
Maybe you arrived here, looking for the more general site describing the University's Northside Partnership. If so, please look here.
February 6, 2006
A model for Minnesota?
As discussions on- and off-campus have continued, I've noticed interest in (and descriptions of) various models of "community-university engagement." In general, these models are intended to summarize a general approach to partnerships; Ken Reardon's article that appeared recently in Communities and Banking (a publication of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston) is a great review of these models.
Missing from many discussions, however, is a long-standing example of incredibly successful community-university partnership and collaboration, Juniper Gardens Children's Project at the University of Kansas. Started in the early 1960s, Juniper Gardens has followed many of the core principles we value here -- meaningful participation of community members and university faculty, staff and students; focus on research and training that directly contributes to community development; and a generative, ever-deepening relationship between community members, leaders and agencies with University faculty and programs.
The Juniper Gardens story is a rich one, told ably by the current leaders and their colleagues; one great source is an
article from the American Psychologist in 1992. While future entries here will return to the notion of social validity as a defining element of community-university partners, learning more about Juniper Gardens is a great way to begin.
January 28, 2006
It occured to me that I've never added a link here to the Center for Early Education and Development, adminisrative home for early childhood activities of the Northside Partnership.
January 27, 2006
Center for Families
On Wednesday, January 25, I met with Gary Reierson -- President of the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches, Bruce Bjork, and Sara Nelson-Pallmeyer. Sara is director of the UMCC's new Center for Families, a facility at 3333 3rd Av N that will serve all comers, but is particularly for recent immigrants from Western Africa. I was surprised to learn that some 50,000 recent West African immigrants are living in the Twin Cities, and that many live in the western metropolitan area. The Center for Families will offer a host of programs for immigrant families, as well as provide office space for various groups providing social and other services on the North Side. Dr. Reierson was interested in finding ways to link with the University -- perhaps especially in areas related to immigration law -- but we also pledged to stay in touch and see if other possibilities arise.
I was greatly impressed, and look forward to going to the Center's grand opening celebration on Sunday, Feb 12.
November 17, 2005
Universities and "Anchor Institutions"
Cathy Jordan of the U's Children, Youth, and Families Consortium has been monitoring discussions nationally about universities as "anchor institutions" -- essentially, ways these organizations can use their intellectual, fiscal, and social resources to contribute to community development efforts in their own regions. Cathy passed along this reference to a fact sheet published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation a couple years ago, with descriptions of key characteristics and examples of "anchor institution" activities. You can read it at: [Anchors] Urban Universities as Community Anchor Institutions
October 23, 2005
Some information about Mt. Hope Family Center
At recent community meetings, individuals have asked for more information about the Mt. Hope Family Center, Dr. Dante Cicchetti's program in Rochester New York. In the near future, we hope to have more information available about Mt. Hope and the possibilities for a similar program in Minnesota; until then, you can follow these links to view some information about Mt. Hope Family Center and about Dr. Cicchetti.
Dr. Cicchetti has also been profiled in a recent article by Professor Alan Sroufe of the University's Institute for Child Development, as well as a press release from the University following his hiring in early 2005.
A small step...
For some time, I've been interested in creating an office for CEED that is located directly in the area where we do our work; for many reasons, that points right now to North Minneapolis. My colleagues and I have always seen this as one part of creating a new basis -- and a new base -- for research, teaching, and outreach that truly engages community wants, needs, and priorities.
Over the years, we've had some small steps: temporary work places in some schools, ongoing relationships with some programs. But never, really, a place we might call "CEED."
As part of the University's growing commitment, as well as related discussions about a possible Educare Center and our work with Minneapolis Early Reading First, I've rekindled this effort of late. It's not easy, though -- how can we find a place to begin, but know that our needs and requirements will grow (somewhat unpredictably) over time? And how do we 'start' when the U is involved in a much larger discussion about space for many programs?
Recently, Roberta Englund at the Folwell Neighborhood Association was kind enough to provide a perfect beginning: She offered me deskspace in their offices! The desk is a 'floater' space, in the basement. The folks I've met at Folwell are doing exciting work, and they seem to be anxious to talk about ways to add some more 'early childhood' work to their program of activities.
It is wonderful to have a place to go, and I know the contacts I'll make at Folwell and as a result of this 'spot' will be invaluable. Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays I hope to spend time on the Northside, basing out of the Folwell offices. If I can just get my cell phone to work in the basement, all will be great!