Action Research in a Campus-Community Partnership: Lessons Learned

Abstract

In an effort to fully understand the impact of campus-community partnerships, and the programs that compose them, our research team has conducted action research over the course of the last 10 years. In particular, we have conducted this research on the partnership we operate, Husky Sport, focused on how its programs influence the behaviors and actions of participants. Our research team has utilized action research as a methodology to evaluate Husky Sport, a campus-community partnership between the university and the city of Hartford, Connecticut, United States. We have engaged the Hartford community (e.g., youth, parents, teachers, and school and community leaders) in the evaluation of our sport-based youth-development programs operating in Hartford. We have also engaged the students at the university in assessing the outcomes they have experienced from participating in service-learning courses that are operated by Husky Sport. What we share in this case study is part history and context, part struggle and learning, and all an ongoing commitment to engaging members of both the campus and community in our research. We have worked over many years to align our service, teaching, and research, in such a way that each informs the other. In this case study, we offer suggestions on how we have done that with particular attention to the unique aspects of our situation, but also highlight aspects of our work that can transfer to other locations.

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