Steans Center > Community Partnerships
At DePaul University's Steans Center, relationships with community partners are the cornerstone of our work. Partnerships are defined as: Shared vision, resources, rewards, and risks. Community partners are not considered solely as recipients of services or resources, but as equal partners who have educational resources to share with the broader community including the university. We view them as co-educators who have an equal stake in exchange of resources. As such, our partnerships allow for space for people to talk freely about expected rewards of collaboration but also about the potential risks to the time and resources among others.
We view partnerships as motivated by a desire to combine forces to address the respective missions of DePaul and community organizations. Ideally this results in outcomes greater than any one organization could achieve alone. Well planned and transparent collaboration creates a sense of shared purpose that serves the common good (Partnership Forum, 2008). The report of the Community Partner Summit (Community-Campus Partnerships for Health, 2006-08, p. 13) identified three essential components for authentic community-higher education partnerships:
Based on the above principles, the Steans Center creates "educational partnerships" where community organizations share in the process of educating our students, faculty and staff. At the same time, we work as hard as possible with our community partners to assure that the services and resources provided by DePaul contributes to the existing work of the organization. We ask that partners evaluate our support and partnership regularly. In sum, we view partnerships as assets that require regular nurturing and critical self-reflection so that DePaul and its community partners can improve the lives of the people we all seek to serve.