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Year : 2001  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 231-240

Town and Gown in America: Some Historical and Institutional Issues of the Engaged University

Adjunct Faculty, Irwin W. Steans Center for Community-based Service L earning Office, DePaul University, USA

Correspondence Address:
Loomis Mayfield
Adjunct Faculty, Irwin W. Steans Center for Community-based Service Learning Office, DePaul University, Chicago, IL 60614
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

The engaged university is a descriptive term for linking the different perspectives of university/community partnerships in higher education in the United States. While interest in this idea comes from recent events and processes, there is an historical background for university/community relations that offers important suggestions on the issue related to institutionalizing this concept. The history includes the original religious founding of US institutions, the establishment of the land-grant system of colleges, and the expansion of the mass education system in US universities. The development of community-based research disciplines, dating from the time of the settlement house movement in America, provides support for university/community collaboration. While some faculty and administrators support this idea, others are more critical and do not see it supporting the strategic interests of their institutions or disciplines. Comprehensively supporting the engaged university at an institutional level means changing the way the academy operates and including community concerns in research, teaching and administrative decisions. This article explores some of these issues and some possible solutions.

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