The Center will use the following standards as a yardstick to measure potential projects:
- Collaboration: A fundamental value for the Center is the collaborative nature of research and teaching between faculty and community, between students and community, and between various community interests. True collaboration reflects equal partnerships based on mutual respect for the contributions and knowledge base of each partner. One role of the university is to facilitate the sharing of information about collaborative projects as a way of better coordinating our work with communities outside the university.
- Community Interest and Involvement: The new model of teaching and research is driven by community-identified needs. Community and university researchers will determine jointly the formulation of research and policy issues, development of methodologies, analysis of information, and the reporting of findings. The outcome is productive solutions to pressing community needs.
- Institutional Change: In fostering a new way in which research and teaching are done, the Center will work to change perceptions within the: University to alter the ways in which faculty and students think about community-initiated research and problem solving and in which they see themselves as teacher/learner; Community to alter ways in which activists see themselves impacting social, economic, political inequities; changing the ways community approaches resources of the university; and viewing themselves as teacher/learner; Government to alter ways the public sector sees itself as a partner in addressing social, economic, political inequities while fostering respect for community/university collaboration problem solving.
- Geographic Focus: The majority of the Center’s research projects focus on communities within Chicago and its suburbs. In some cases we work on regional, national, and international initiatives as a way of facilitating connections with community-based research efforts outside the local community. These connections help to build the capacity of local communities by sharing knowledge, providing access to innovative ideas, introducing residents to creative practices elsewhere, and creating ongoing linkages that are valuable in future work.
- Communication: It will be important to continue to build awareness within the university, community, and outside organizations and institutions by disseminating project outcomes. By demonstrating successful collaborative university/community problem solving, the model can be expanded to other urban communities.