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The emergence of university–school partnerships as strategies for community development in distressed cities: lessons from a comparative case study of Rutgers University–Camden and Clark University

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The emergence of university–school partnerships as strategies for community development in distressed cities: lessons from a comparative case study of Rutgers University–Camden and Clark University
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Closter
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Matthew K.
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1983-
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Matthew Closter
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author
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Bonilla-Santiago
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Gloria
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Gloria Bonilla-Santiago
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Advisory Committee
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chair
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Donaghy
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Maureen
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Maureen Donaghy
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Advisory Committee
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internal member
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Bowers
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Melanie
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Melanie Bowers
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Advisory Committee
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internal member
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Rutgers University
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degree grantor
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Camden Graduate School
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school
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theses
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2019
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2019-05
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2019
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English
Abstract
Using a qualitative case study methodology, this dissertation examines the emergence, formation, implementation, and sustainability of two university–school partnerships designed by university faculty and leaders as strategies to rebuild communities and build an educational college access pipeline. Both cases—Rutgers University–Camden and LEAP Academy University Charter School in Camden, NJ, and Clark University and the University Park Campus School in Worcester, MA—influenced policy outcomes and state legislation to create new categories of public schools—charter schools in New Jersey and innovation schools in Massachusetts—that transformed the educational landscape in their communities. The research question addressed in this dissertation is: How did two small-city universities develop and sustain an educational pipeline as a community development strategy to provide access to college for students and families and to revitalize distressed neighborhoods?

I use Herbert Blumer’s sociological theory of collective definition for solving social problems as a theoretical framework and Appreciative Inquiry (AI) as a methodological framework to contribute to growing attention to university–school partnerships as a community development concept when planning and designing new urban schools in small cities while focusing on marginalized families and children to elucidate the connection between vulnerability and resilience. To address the research question, I interviewed senior university officials, school officials, and parents who were active during the emergence of the partnerships, analyzed census data of socioeconomic indicators, analyzed historical documents of strategic plans and newspaper archives, and observed students, teachers, and physical school facilities and their neighborhood conditions. The interviews, analyses, and observations produced data on the conditions, qualities, and characteristics that supported creation of the two partnerships.

Results suggest that university partnerships emerge when committed faculty and community leaders cooperate in inclusive planning that is driven by collective participation in building solidarity, shared meaning, and common purpose with a community such that the community builds the agency and capacity to sustain the partnership for an extended period. LEAP Academy University School was developed and driven by Dr. Gloria Bonilla-Santiago, a Rutgers Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor, and University Park Campus School was developed and guided by Clark President Richard Traina, his senior leadership team, and faculty from the Clark Adam Institute for Urban Teaching and School Practice. I demonstrate that the models were different regarding their approaches to engaging stakeholders and producing a community-based school, but that a comprehensive community development approach from a university is required for families and children to be empowered and excel in an urban school pipeline built on channeling students to college.
Subject (authority = local)
Topic
University-School Partnerships
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Topic
Public Affairs
Subject (authority = ETD-LCSH)
Topic
Social planning
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Topic
College-school Cooperation -- New Jersey -- Camden
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Rutgers University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
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ETD_9543
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application/pdf
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1 online resource (xi, 178 pages) : illustrations
Note (type = degree)
Ph.D.
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Includes bibliographical references
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Includes vita
Subject (authority = ETD-LCSH)
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College-school cooperation -- Massachusetts -- Worcester
Subject (authority = ETD-LCSH)
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Charter schools
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Universities and colleges
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Camden Graduate School Electronic Theses and Dissertations
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rucore10005600001
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doi:10.7282/t3-fza0-h866
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ETD doctoral
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The author owns the copyright to this work.
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Closter
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Matthew
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K.
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2019-01-24 11:39:15
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Matthew K. Closter
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Rutgers University. Camden Graduate School
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I hereby grant to the Rutgers University Libraries and to my school the non-exclusive right to archive, reproduce and distribute my thesis or dissertation, in whole or in part, and/or my abstract, in whole or in part, in and from an electronic format, subject to the release date subsequently stipulated in this submittal form and approved by my school. I represent and stipulate that the thesis or dissertation and its abstract are my original work, that they do not infringe or violate any rights of others, and that I make these grants as the sole owner of the rights to my thesis or dissertation and its abstract. I represent that I have obtained written permissions, when necessary, from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis or dissertation and will supply copies of such upon request by my school. I acknowledge that RU ETD and my school will not distribute my thesis or dissertation or its abstract if, in their reasonable judgment, they believe all such rights have not been secured. I acknowledge that I retain ownership rights to the copyright of my work. I also retain the right to use all or part of this thesis or dissertation in future works, such as articles or books.
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Open
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