University and community engagement: Towards a partnership based on deliberate reciprocity

Lesley L. Cooper, University of Wollongong
Janice Orrell, Flinders University

Cooper, L. & Orrell, J. (2016). University and community engagement: Towards a partnership based on deliberate reciprocity. In F. Trede & C. McEwen (Eds.), Educating the Deliberate Professional: Preparing for future practices (pp. 107-123). Switzerland: Springer.


This chapter considers quality of university-community engagement as a significant factor in educating the deliberate professional. Partnerships between universities and community organisations are increasingly based on provision of professional placements, enabling students to meet professional registration requirements and facilitating future employment. When these partnerships are based upon constructive and reciprocal engagement, they have the potential to be powerful mechanisms in achieving university and community goals and enhancing education of deliberate professionals. A problem lies, however, in the unevenness in the quality of these partnerships. At their best, mutual benefit is often fortuitous. At their worst, there is one-sided benefit, largely for the university. It is argued in this chapter that universities should approach the establishment and management of these partnerships with greater deliberateness of intent with focus on the interests of the community. Deep engagement and constructive reciprocity between universities and community facilitates intersection of a theoretical orientation to practice with ethical, economic, political, cultural or technological issues facing professional practice in the community.


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