Understanding and improving collaborative relations between an urban middle school and a university: Mayer B. Sulzberger - Center for Community Partnerships experience

Richard Steven Carter, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

The dissertation identifies elements affecting the collaboration between two educational institutions: (1) the Mayer B. Sulzberger Middle School (Sulzberger) of the School District of Philadelphia and (2) the Center for Community Partnerships (CCP) at the University of Pennsylvania. It examines the perceptions of faculty and staff at each institution about the strengths of the strategies used in the collaboration, alternative approaches that might have improved the quality and breadth of the collaboration, and the possibilities for effective, future collaboration between schools and universities in the predominately African American, low economic status, and urban community of West Philadelphia. This study focuses on ten participants including Sulzberger's administrative and teaching staff and CCP administrative and practice staff. Data for the study were collected over two years with members of the Sulzberger and CCP/University of Pennsylvania communities. As one of the ten participants involved in the partnership, I utilized participatory action research, face-to-face interviews, and site document analysis to identify and interpret the perspectives of the university and urban school staff members who were involved in the initiative. The data derived from the study were categorized into two broad areas: (1) factors facilitating collaboration and engagement and (2) factors inhibiting the collaboration and engagement. Facilitating elements include: (a) the influence of charismatic leadership and its implications, (b) the creation of pedagogy that is responsive to the experiences of Sulzberger school students, and (c) the recognition of the common institutional destinies of the University of Pennsylvania and Sulzberger as entities located in the same metropolitan area. The factors perceived as having impeded collaboration between Sulzberger and CCP are: (a) insufficient levels of trust, (b) power imbalance, and (c) inadequate communication. Finally, on a broader conceptual level, the factors inhibiting collaboration appear to be rooted in the historical relationship between the University of Pennsylvania and the West Philadelphia community. ^

Subject Area

Education, Administration

Recommended Citation

Richard Steven Carter, "Understanding and improving collaborative relations between an urban middle school and a university: Mayer B. Sulzberger - Center for Community Partnerships experience" (January 1, 1998). Dissertations available from ProQuest. Paper AAI9830674.
http://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI9830674

Share

COinS