The University Record, January 30, 1996

U-M, southeast Michigan groups plan collaboration symposium

The University has joined forces with nine organizations in southeast Michigan to present a symposium on "Commitment to Collaboration: New Strategies for Community-Based Development in Detroit."

The program will be convened by Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer and President James J. Duderstadt, and features Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros.

The Feb. 2 event at Focus: HOPE in Detroit is the first in a series of symposia supported by the Office of the Vice President for University Relations and planned by the U-M's new Center for Learning through Community Service, which is designed to help students "serve and learn," help faculty members conduct community-based research and integrate service into teaching, and strengthen collaboration between the University and community.

In a message to those invited to participate in the program, planners note that "following years of institutional disinvestment, Detroit is experiencing significant revitalization at the community level. Some communities are planning programs with fervor, but others are unsure how to proceed and would benefit from new opportunities for collaboration," say Barry N. Checkoway, professor of social work and director, Community Service and Service Learning, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, and James A. Kosteva, director of community relations, Office of the Vice President for University Relations.

"The University has a history of involvement in Detroit, from its first classroom building to more than 100 projects today. The University has partnerships in all areas of the city and seeks to increase involvement in the future.

"The symposium," they note, "will provide opportunities for community-based organizations, civic agencies and educational institutions to strengthen working relationships, critically reflect on projects and promote partnerships for future collaboration."

Symposium participants, they add, "include educational and community leaders with commitment to collaboration, with emphasis on those who have extensive experience and who want to address cutting-edge issues at an advanced level."

Archer and Duderstadt will speak at the luncheon plenary session, followed by Cisneros speaking on the federal role in fostering university-community collaboration. Cisneros previously served as mayor of San Antonio and proposed the idea for the symposium during a visit to campus in January 1995.

The opening sessions will focus on "Communities as Solutions." Working sessions, some featuring U-M faculty as discussants, will cover a variety of areas, including:

 

Business and Economic Development: How can community-based organizations collaborate to enhance economic development in a metropolitan community?

 

Legal Assistance for Urban Communities: What kind of legal assistance do community-based organizations need for successful housing rehabilitation and commercial redevelopment, and where can they get it?

 

Strengthening School-Family-Community Collaboration: If educational institutions made a serious commitment to strengthen school-family-community collaboration, what would it be?

 

Community-Based Public Health: How can the "Top Down" institutional model be transformed into a partnership approach to promote community health?

 

Civic Networking for Neighborhood Organizations: Can computer networking be a real source of support and solidarity for community-based organizations, or does "cyberhood" promise more than it can deliver?

 

Creating Multicultural Neighborhood-Based Human Services: What would it take to create multicultural neighborhood-based human services in a society that waivers uneasily between cultural pluralism and the melting pot?

 

Young People as Community Builders: Neighborhood leaders want leadership development, but where are the young people and how can they be helped to plan programs of their own?

 

University Students as Technical Assistance Providers: Student technical assistance is a vehicle for community-university collaboration, but how can it be maximized for both service and learning?

Sponsors, in addition to the U-M's Office of the Vice President for University Relations and the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, are: Focus: HOPE, Michigan Neighborhood Partnership, Michigan Neighborhood AmeriCorps Program, Community Outreach Partnership Center, Neighborhood Service Organizations, United Way Community Services, Office of the Mayor of Detroit, Office of the President of the Detroit City Council and Office of the Wayne County Executive.

U-M participants include Marian Krzyzowski and Larry Molnar, Business and Industrial Assistance Division; Rochelle Lento, Law School; Brian Rowan and Arnetha Ball, School of Education; Rosario Ceballo, Department of Psychology; Toby Citrin, Barbara Israel and Sherman James, School of Public Health; Larry Coppard, Larry Gant and Dean Paula Allen-Meares, School of Social Work; and Margaret Dewar, College of Architecture and Urban Planning.

U-M students participating are: Joshua Sirefman, Matt Rosen, Cordell Hines, Natalie Wiley, Kalyn Johnson and Janet Smith.