University-community partnerships: inclusion and transformation

Davies, Merryn, Grace, Marty and Eckersley, Bill (2008) University-community partnerships: inclusion and transformation. In: Partnerships for Social Inclusion Conference, University of Melbourne Centre for Public Policy .


Victoria University (VU) is located in Melbourne’s West, a culturally rich and diverse, but economically and educationally disadvantaged urban region. VU is the largest education and training provider in the area and the largest single employer in the Western Region. It is strongly identified with its geographic location and its institutional mission includes bringing accessible educational opportunities to the people of the region. Community engagement and partnerships are high on the university’s agenda. Participation in vocational and higher education is a key enabler for social inclusion, building individuals’ capacities for future social and economic participation. However, education offers more than this, with its potential for personal and social transformation. It holds the possibility of challenging the potentially conservative aspects of social inclusion. As people’s lives and outlooks are transformed by education, they may then in turn transform education and influence how institutions such as schools and universities understand themselves and their work. This kind of interplay of mutual influence and contribution can be seen as a kind of regional partnership, supported and underpinned by a complex network of numerous more specific university-community partnerships played out at a local level. This paper employs relevant models and frameworks to reflect on how a large multifaceted university located on multiple sites and including diverse disciplines can engage in partnerships with and within its geographic region. It discusses why a dual sector institution such as Victoria University would locate its mission so strongly in the sphere of geographically specific engagement. It examines emerging findings,based on practice and research conducted within VU, concerning partnership activity and social inclusion outcomes. Finally it examines the extent to which the University’s 2 partnership with its region might be regarded as transformative and sustainable over the long term.

Item type Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
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Subjects Historical > RFCD Classification > 360000 Policy and Political Science
Historical > RFCD Classification > 370000 Studies in Human Society
Historical > FOR Classification > 1607 Social Work
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
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