As guests approached the Campus Center ballroom on the afternoon of April 10, you could hear the buzz in the air. Hundreds of people were there to view 90 posters on display at the Community-Engaged Partnerships Symposium sponsored by the Provost’s Office and Division of Government Relations and Public Affairs.
The McCormack Graduate School displayed 16 posters at the symposium, which was designed to advance and showcase community-engaged activities at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Posters represented faculty research and service projects as well as center and institute collaborations.
The following list of posters provides a sample of the many local, national, and international partnerships in which our McCormack colleagues are engaged. The fields include many of those research and service specialties in our college: aging studies, community development, community democracy, conflict resolution, diversity and inclusion, economic policy analysis, governance and sustainability, housing and homelessness, minority affairs, rebuilding sustainable communities after disasters, and women’s issues, among others.
- Building BRIDGES: Fostering Dialogue and Shared Understanding between Communities and Government Agencies
Eben Weitzman and Darren Kew, Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance, in partnership with minority communities and federal and state agencies
- Community Partnerships at the Center for Peace, Democracy and Development
Center collaborations with Nigeria’s Interfaith Mediation Centre, University of Liberia, Israel’s Neve Shalom/Wahat al Salaam, Boston’s Somali community, and Boston’s Busing/Desegregation Project
McCormack Graduate School diversity initiative to increase the visibility of and access to professionals of color in Massachusetts
John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies community members are volunteering at and donating food items for the new university-sponsored food pantry
Led by Padraig O’Malley, the Moakley Chair for Peace and Reconciliation, an international network of mayors, councilors, municipal officials, business people, and representatives of the voluntary and community sectors working toward peace and reconciliation in 13 divided cities including Belfast, Tripoli, Kaduna, and Kirkuk.
- Healthy Aging in Massachusetts: Reporting Indicators, Identifying Resources, and Activating Allies
Department of Gerontology collaboration with Tufts Health Plan Foundation, Watertown
- LIFT Boston Client Well Being Study
Public Policy PhD Program student practicum project with LIFT Boston’s poverty alleviation programs in Roxbury and Somerville
- New England StatNet: A Community of Practice in Performance Measurement
Edward J. Collins, Jr. Center for Public Management in partnership with more than 70 New England and New York cities and towns working to build more efficient and effective government using data-driven measurement tools
Gerontology Institute partnerships to promote a community of mature adults who enjoy learning and want to spend time with like-minded people.
- Partnerships in Teaching and Research: Center for Rebuilding Sustainable Communities after Disasters
Professor Adenrele Awotona in partnership with Center for Homeland Defense and Security, FEMA, Red Cross, and several international academic institutions, among others
Gerontology Institute center in collaboration with aging services networks, legal service providers, and local and federal government agencies
- People and Place: Understanding the Processes, Outcomes, and Impacts of Interventions of the Fairmont Corridor
Center for Social Policy project in partnership with the Boston Indicators Project, Boston LISC, Mattapan United, Millennium 10, and Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership
- Planning for the Growing Older Population: Conducting Community Needs Assessments
Gerontology graduate students Caitlin Coyle and Hayley Gravette and Professor Jan Mutchler in partnership with Boston, Cohasset, and Hingham municipalities
- Policy Impact Through Rigorous Analysis
Center for Governance and Sustainability in collaboration with Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia and other United Nations environmental policy initiatives
- Process Evaluation: Suffolk County House of Correction’s Reentry Programs
Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy partnership with the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department
- Thrive in 5−Boston Initiative
Center for Social Policy collaboration with Family Nurturing Center, Boston Community Partnerships for Children, Neighborhood Cluster, United South End Settlements, Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, Dorchester House Multi-Service Center
According to Ira A. Jackson, dean of the McCormack Graduate School, "This display of our collaborative efforts is testament to the value we place on working with community partners to improve the world in which we live and work. It not only represents our strategic mission and deep commitment, it also demonstrates our impact in local and global communities."
In addition to the posters, several members of the McCormack community spoke about their work or led facilitated discussions at the day-long event.
During the breakfast plenary, Mark Warren, an associate professor of public policy and public affairs, outlined the work of UMass Boston’s Urban Research-Based Action Initiative (URBAN) working group. Also the national co-chair of URBAN, Warren noted, “Communities are facing complex challenges and could value greatly from the innovative research conducted in universities. As academics, we should not work in isolation, but work in cooperation with community-based organizations to help find solutions to their problems.”
Diana Salas Coronado, a PhD candidate in public policy and student member of the network, echoed Warren’s message. “I sit in this space as a former community practitioner; I recognize the needs communities have in order to move their agendas forward. But I also sit in this space as a young emerging scholar who recognizes the value of participatory action research.”
Later in the morning, Public Policy PhD alumnus and Gaston Institute research associate Phillip Granberry led a session on “Deepening Partnerships to Advance Scientific Knowledge and Social Change through Community-Based Participatory Action Research.”
During the afternoon activities, Donna Haig Friedman, director of the Center for Social Policy (CSP) and a member of the URBAN working group, helped facilitate a conversation for UMass Boston institute and center staff on the success and challenges of community engaged research. She emphasized that neighborhood members are not only CSP clients, but are allies and research partners as well.
As Mark Warren nicely summed up, “UMass Boston is the kind of place that should anchor this type of research-based community network,” noting that we have “not only a teaching soul, but a community soul−one that values social justice and community development.”