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IJER Vol 23-N3

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The mission of the International Journal of Educational Reform (IJER) is to keep readers up-to-date with worldwide developments in education reform by providing scholarly information and practical analysis from recognized international authorities. As the only peer-reviewed scholarly publication that combines authors’ voices without regard for the political affiliations perspectives, or research methodologies, IJER provides readers with a balanced view of all sides of the political and educational mainstream. To this end, IJER includes, but is not limited to, inquiry based and opinion pieces on developments in such areas as policy, administration, curriculum, instruction, law, and research.
IJER should thus be of interest to professional educators with decision-making roles and policymakers at all levels turn since it provides a broad-based conversation between and among policymakers, practitioners, and academicians about reform goals, objectives, and methods for success throughout the world.
Readers can call on IJER to learn from an international group of reform implementers by discovering what they can do that has actually worked. IJER can also help readers to understand the pitfalls of current reforms in order to avoid making similar mistakes. Finally, it is the mission of IJER to help readers to learn about key issues in school reform from movers and shakers who help to study and shape the power base directing educational reform in the U.S. and the world.

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5 Articles

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Engaging the Community: Universities at the Crossroads

ePub

Na’im Madyun

Rashné Jehangir

While it is common for universities and colleges to consider the public good as one of their many priorities, more often than not, the way in which the university situates itself in relation to the community around it has been complicated. Some have argued that academia is often seen as “in” rather than “of” a locality (Bender, 1998; Goddard et al., 1994, as cited in Chatterton, 1999). In the last two decades, institutional initiatives, public demand, legislative accountability, and students’ heightened orientation to engage in learning beyond the classroom have raised questions about what it means for the university to engage meaningfully and reciprocally with community.

Historically, university engagement with the community is, by definition, ideologically consistent with social justice values of fairness, access, and eventual empowerment (Gidley, Hampson, Wheeler, & Bereded-Samuel, 2010) and has been effective in placing students in challenging, supportive community spaces that allow them to make sense of and transform their current realities (Mitchell, 2014). Interestingly, at a time when today’s generation of students are seemingly more committed to engagement and service learning, the wisdom of universities committing to engaged experiences is still being debated. With the commodification and commercialization of the university, a diverse range of engagement definitions exists across higher education that vary in both their alignment with historic missions and their efforts to satisfy various stakeholders. Economic values and constraints have pushed many institutions and scholars away from efforts that do not immediately lead to dollars and toward a rationalization that removes educators from being responsible for the development of the citizen and the community (Harkavy, 2006).

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The Role of University Engagement in the Community

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Jarrett T. Gupton

Amanda L. Sullivan

Katie Johnston-Goodstar

ABSTRACT: University–community engagement is increasingly emphasized at institutions throughout the United States, yet there remains concern and confusion about how to conceptualize community engagement to provide benefits for both the university and the public. This article summarizes the history of community engagement and describes dominant paradigms of engagement. Specifically, we explore how conceptualizations of university–community engagement have evolved since the inception of the public university and how different roles of the university confer different benefits to not only the actors within the institution but also the community served by that institution. We argue that community engagement is critical to the modern public university, and we describe a model of nonhierarchical, mutually beneficial public engagement.

Over the last 25 years, the conversation related to improving university engagement with the public has increased. The driving concern is that university research, teaching, and service have little to do with actual social problems and that scholars’ perspectives are detached from the realities of the lived experiences of the surrounding community. Increasingly, institutions of higher education identify public engagement as a component of their mission (Campus Compact, 2012), yet the public perception of a gap between universities and community issues persists (Mundt, 1998). Furthermore, as colleges and universities face dwindling state resources, the demand for greater accountability grows, as does the need for private funding streams. This new context contributes to ambiguity and discord regarding the purposes and value of efforts to bolster community engagement. Community engagement is not typically an efficient path to revenue, so why pursue it?

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Considering New Paths for Success: An Examination of the Research and Methods on Urban School–University Partnerships Post–No Child Left Behind

ePub

Joseph E. Flynn

Rebecca D. Hunt

Laura Ruth Johnson

Scott A. Wickman

ABSTRACT: This article examines urban school–university partnership research after No Child Left Behind. Central to the review is an analysis in the trend of research methods utilized across studies. It was found that many studies are single-case studies or anecdotal. There are few quantitative, sustained qualitative, or mixed-methods studies represented in the literature sampled. We suggest that significant hurdles make more reliable studies difficult to mount. In light of that, we offer suggestions about issues and factors for consideration when such partnerships are created.

Education is a collaborative process by its nature. For success to happen, there must be a collaborative relationship between student and teacher to facilitate the learning process. Similarly, there must be collaboration among teachers and administrators for successful implementation of policies and curriculum. Equally important are the collaborations between schools and communities and between parents and teachers. All these collaborative relationships, when well executed, can bring about positive results for all parties involved, especially in terms of student achievement.

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Connecting the Disconnected: Scholar Activists and Education Reform in Post-Katrina, New Orleans

ePub

Daniella Ann Cook

ABSTRACT: When Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans on August 29, 2005, the failure of the levees resulted in the largest single human-made disaster in the United States. In addition to the physical devastation of the city, the landscape of public schools in New Orleans was permanently altered, as was the national dialogue about school reform in the United States. The contested terrain of urban school reform in post-Katrina New Orleans led to the establishment of the National Coalition for Quality Education in New Orleans, an ad hoc group of New Orleans and national scholars who believe that New Orleans education, if rebuilt with thoughtful attention, can become a model for improving urban education in the nation. Drawing on data from two coalition-sponsored equity forums held during the summers of 2006 and 2007, this article discusses findings from the work of the coalition that deepen our understanding of how scholars can work with communities around education reform in three ways. First, it is crucial for scholars to focus work on the expressed needs of the community rather than from the imposed authority of the research community. Second, making use of academic research expertise requires acknowledging the diversity within the communities where the reform is being implemented. Finally, sustainable relationships between researchers and communities must be supported with mechanisms that facilitate clear expectations and communication. It is my hope that readers come away with a sense that working with marginalized communities to shape educational reform agendas is an important aspect of sustainable reforms.

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Pathways to the Tenure Track: Reflections From Faculty of Color on Their Recruitment to a Research University

ePub

J. B. Mayo Jr.

Vichet Chhuon

ABSTRACT: The effective recruitment and retention of faculty of color continue to present major challenges to universities, in part, because the normal search process in higher education has been largely unsuccessful at diversifying faculty. Therefore, universities have implemented alternative strategies to recruit and retain scholars of color, including active interventions to recruit future faculty. Through personal narratives, two faculty of color at a large research-focused university critique the various processes that brought them to their current faculty positions. They conclude that “target” hires and postdoctoral transition programs, alongside increased mentoring and advocacy from senior faculty, may lead to increased retention of faculty of color.

There is widespread recognition among institutions of higher learning that diversity on campus—particularly in the form of faculty, student, and curriculum—leads to positive effects on students’ learning and preparation to live and work in a diverse society (Gurin, 1999; Gurin, Dey, Hurtado, & Gurin, 2002; Smith, Turner, Osei-Kofi, & Richards, 2004; Turner, Gonzalez, & Wood, 2008). Given the compelling evidence that there is a need to prepare all students for a diverse society (Antonio, 2002; Stanley, 2006; Umbach, 2006), colleges and universities desire to increase the numbers of diverse faculty on campus because they bring with them added benefits: increased academic success for diverse students on campus (Hagedorn, Chi, Cepeda, & McLain, 2007), increased recruitment of students of color into higher education (Alger & Carrasco, 1997; Antonio, 2000), and engagement in new forms of scholarship and approaches to teaching (Alger, 1999; Antonio, 2000; Christian-Smith & Kellor, 1999; Padilla, 1994; Turner, 2000; Urrieta & Me’ndez Benavi’dez, 2007; Vargas, 2002). For example, having more faculty of color on campus will likely lead to greater diversity in curriculum materials, since faculty of color are more inclined to incorporate diversity-related course content as compared to White faculty. Research suggests that faculty of color are more than two times likely to introduce and utilize such content as compared to their White peers (Mayhew & Grunwald, 2006). But engagement also refers to the role often played by faculty of color as bridges to any number of diverse communities found within the urban spaces that many universities occupy. While faculty of color often feel pressured to serve on internal committees so that diverse perspectives are represented, many simultaneously feel obligated to serve as “change agents for issues that are of the utmost importance” to surrounding communities (Laden & Hagedorn, 2000, p. 62). This level of perceived obligation represents the “cultural tax” paid by faculty of color, as identified by Padilla (1994).

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