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Dismantling the Ivory Tower: Engaging Geographers in University–Community Partnerships

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University–community partnerships offer synergistic spaces for communities to address difficulties and universities to meet their missions. Geographers are well positioned to participate in these partnerships, owing to the discipline's integrative nature, spatial perspectives and analytic approaches, and its attention to social and environmental issues at many scales. This paper endeavours to assist geographers interested in these partnerships by illustrating three case studies of geography–community partnerships. We reflect critically on the mutual benefits from, and barriers to, these partnerships. On the basis of case studies and literature review, the paper recommends ways to enhance university–community partnerships to help dismantle the ivory tower.

Keywords: Community engagement; engaged learning; geography; service learning; third mission

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography,University of Northern Colorado, USA 2: Department of Geography,The Islamia University Bahawalpur, Pakistan 3: Department of Natural and Social Sciences,University of Gloucestershire, UK 4: Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University, USA 5: Geography Program, University of Houston-Clear Lake, USA 6: Department of Geography,University of Kentucky, USA

Publication date: August 1, 2011

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