Beyond the Ivory Tower Symposium Seeks to Foster Improved Community-Symposium Collaborations

17 June 2016
Beyond the Ivory Tower Symposium Seeks to Foster Improved Community-Symposium Collaborations

Nearly 100 academics and community organization practitioners from 55 university and non-profit organizations attended the symposium, “Beyond the Ivory Tower: Co-Creating Community-University Partnerships That Work.” The conference was held June 6-7, 2016 at the University of Michigan Detroit Center as the final event of their 10th Anniversary programming. Besides the University of Michigan, advisors for the planning of the symposium involved scholars and administrators from Loyola Marymount University, University of Chicago, Georgetown University, Michigan State University, Case Western Reserve University, University of Toledo, and Wayne State University.

State Rep. Stephanie Chang and UM alumna opened the conference by providing a talk on the importance of community-university collaborations. Symposium highlights included a panel discussion on “Envisioning Co-Creation within a Community-University Partnership”; “An Emerging Model for a Meaningful University-Community Partnership”; The Meaning of Reciprocity” “Striking a (Local) Grand Bargain: How Cities and Anchor Institutions Can Work Together to Drive Growth and Prosperity”; and “Local Community-University Collaborations.” Featured Speakers included Derek R. B. Douglas, Vice President for Civic Engagement, University of Chicago; Dr. Byron T. Brazier, Pastor, Apostolic Church of God, Chicago;

Rev. David C. Bowers, Vice President, Enterprise Community Partners, Washington, D.C.; Ewa Cerda-Llanos, Manager, Community and University Partnerships, East Scarborough Storefront, Toronto; Kimberley N. Tull, M.Ed., Manager, Community Engagement Development, University of Toronto; Professor John M. Wallace, Jr., School of Social Work, University of Pittsburgh; and  Dr. Neil Kleiman, Deputy Executive Director for Policy and Research, National Resource Network.

Participants spent Monday afternoon on a bus tour of local community-university partnerships at TechTown Detroit, Eastern Market, Build Institute, Michigan Architecture Prep and the Brightmoor Maker Space. After the tour, participants convened at Focus: HOPE for an evening program, which featured the presentation of a Special Tribute to the University of Michigan Detroit Center by State Senator Coleman Young II. The tribute reads in part, “The UM Detroit Center serves as a gateway for UM and urban communities to utilize each other’s learning, research and cultural activities; and provides a visible symbol to the city of Detroit and its nearly 200-year relationship with the University of Michigan.” In addition, the symposium utilized a World Café Conversation format on both days to allow participants to work in small groups to initiate or deepen relationships, discuss common issues, and identify next steps to continue the work of the symposium.

According to Anderson, “Within the next two weeks, the Detroit Center will host a web page to include the conference agenda, resource links, and meeting notes, as well as updates on symposium-related activities. The web page will be accessible to conference attendees, as well as the general public.”


Photo: Derek R. B. Douglas, Vice President for Civic Engagement, University of Chicago and Dr. Byron T. Brazier, Pastor, Apostolic Church of God, Chicago discuss their community-university collaboration involving Chicago’s Woodlawn community.