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Aims & Scope

Mission and Values

Collaborations: A Journal of Community-Based Research and Practice aims to promote the development of mutually beneficial partnerships between institutions of higher education and communities and community organizations. The journal also seeks to advance public scholarship by publishing thoughtful scholarly articles, reflections on experiential learning, and case studies of exemplary university-community collaborative projects. The process of community-based partnerships, action research and public scholarship is ultimately as important as the product. The journal will highlight projects and scholarship that reflect the values of inclusion, fairness, collaboration, reciprocity, accessibility of language, reflection, continuous learning, the interconnection of scholarship and practice, and openness and respect for a plurality of methodologies and types of knowledge.

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Overview of the Journal

Collaborations will accept (3) different types of submissions, each with its own “portal” and rigorous review process. First, traditional reports of action-research and theory related to community-university collaborations. Reviews describing collaborative partnerships are encouraged. Action research reports and reviews should explicitly address implications for practice and policy. A second portal, emphasizing the ‘community’ perspective of collaborations, offers readers the opportunity to understand community-based organizational structures, new ways of thinking about partnerships, and how to overcome key challenges. This portal will include the voice of community partners and is meant to be a space for those working in partnerships to speak out about key issues or to discuss research and programs in progress. Non-academic voices as primary authors/contributors are highly encouraged for the second portal. A final portal is devoted to student reflections on experiential learning and experiences with community-based projects, public scholarship, and service and service-learning related coursework. All portals, especially the latter two, are open to multimedia submissions, including but not limited to still images, video, and audio recordings. These submissions must include an explanation of the content creation. Multimedia materials may also be included as supplemental materials to submissions that are principally text based. Collaborations invites you to submit manuscripts for review and possible publication.

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Scholarly-Research Portal

Within the Scholarly-Research Portal, the following topics are among those for which contributions are sought:

  • Research on social-ecological change and community development (describing reciprocal effects of change between individuals, family systems, social centers, and the broader ecosystem)
  • The architecture of inclusion (policies, programs, and initiatives that facilitate the provision of opportunity as well as the reverberating effects within adjacent structures of a given network)
  • Service grounded in scholarship (curricular practices and programs demonstrating the important juxtaposition between theory and practice; ways students develop personally and intellectually as a function of these unique educative experiences)
  • The empowerment of disenfranchised groups (grassroots and broader efforts designed to redress the violation of human rights)
  • The phenomenology of inequity (the lived experiences of those who do not have a voice; the multiplicative effects of poverty)
  • Costs and benefits of social welfare (weighing the currency of prevention against the costs of inaction)
  • Individual and collective empowerment (via various advocacy efforts and the provision of community and/or university-based supports)
  • Social and intellectual capital (capturing resources unique to centers of higher education; identifying key leverage points and methods used to ensure sustainability)
  • Institutional and government-based challenges to democracy as well as countervailing forces of change
  • Theoretical arguments for or against specific policies
  • Delivery of university research to the community (issues in implementation, translation; fidelity vs. adaptation; feasibility)
  • Exemplary projects that reflect effective university-community collaborations

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University-Community Collaborations Portal

Within the portal on University-Community Collaborations, submissions highlighting partnerships that describe the following topics are especially welcomed:

  • Mutual trust and respect (the function of trust and respect in supporting successful collaboration; roles of different types of knowledge manifested in the partnership; degree to which learning was mutual or exclusive to parties involved)
  • Reflection and assessment (the role of critical reflection before, during, and after partnerships’ actions; impacts of assessment processes and products on long-term viability of the partnership)
  • Clear communication (the methods of bridging different types of language used by academic and community partners; processes of mediation and consensus building; communication strategies employed in dissemination of the products of the partnership; communication breakdowns)
  • Flexibility (the means of adapting to change during partnerships’ actions and programs; struggles with inflexibility between academic and community groups)
  • Cultural understanding and power (the means of coming to understandings of different cultures participating in partnerships; roles that cultural difference and power can play in the outcomes of partnerships; impacts of partnerships’ underlying value orientations)
  • Shared authority and ownership of the project (the extent to which responsibility, authority, and ownership of partnerships’ products are shared by parties involved; means of determining the relative responsibilities and levels of authority wielded by the parties involved)
  • Reciprocity (the extent to which costs and benefits of participation in the partnership are evenly distributed across participating groups; relationships between sharing responsibilities and benefits and the long-term viability of partnerships)
  • Sustaining university-community partnerships in the long-term (the keys and barriers to successful long-term partnerships; processes of adaptation employed to sustain partnerships)

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Reflections on Experiential Learning Portal

Within the Reflections on Experiential Learning portal, Collaborations will publish reflective essays and multimedia submissions that examine the moral, ethical, philosophical, and epistemological questions that confront individuals during the process of experiential learning. Student initiated contributions will be given preference. Areas of contribution may include the process of learning to work within a partnership; considerations in the creation of products for faculty, scholarly, community, and other audiences resulting from collaborations; examples of innovative products; and challenges of working within different value systems and cultural contexts. Authors of these submissions should address how the experiential learning process impacted their values, beliefs, and assumptions as well as how the experience enhanced or complicated their understanding of the dynamics and complexities of the specific issues. For instance, authors could consider how their experiential learning process affected their ideas about knowing, about social justice and inclusion, about diversity and collaboration, and about themselves. Authors also should address what the process taught them about building impactful partnerships and how the partnership did or did not effectively achieve the goals it set out to accomplish. We are particularly interested in submissions by graduate and undergraduate students participating in experiential learning coursework, practica, or internships. In this section, we will publish original reflective essays, videos, audio recordings, and images of artifacts of experiential learning projects and processes.

If you are interested in contributing to the journal or serving as a peer reviewer for journal content, please view the submission guidelines page or contact the managing editor, Elizabeth McInerney at eem71@miami.edu

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