Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1384-6639
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9692
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The article describes the Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania as an organizational innovation designed to mobilize the range of university resources to solve the strategic problem of creating democratic, local cosmopolitan communities. We identify the Center's approach to this problem as helping to develop university-assisted community schools, schools transformed to function as centers and catalysts for community revitalization with ongoing support from an institution of higher education. We argue that communal action research, in which scholarly attention is focused upon the university's local geographic area in a continuous comprehensive partnership with the community studied, is a particularly promising approach for revitalizing communities, advancing knowledge, and integrating the university's missions of research, teaching, and service. We describe the Turner Nutritional Awareness Project (TNAP), which works to alleviate nutrition problems in a university-assisted community school, as an example of communal action research conducted by all participants in a common project. We conclude by describing the structure and operation of the Center for Community Partnerships, claiming that the Center itself is part of a broader organizational change occurring throughout the American academy as urban universities, in particular, respond to severe external crises as well as internal difficulties resulting from the separation of service from teaching and research.


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