Goodlad School-University Partnerships for Educational Renewal

Goodlad, J. I. (1988). School-University partnerships for educational renewal: Rationale and concepts. In K. A. Sirotnik & J. I. Goodlad (Eds.), School-University partnerships in action: Concepts, cases, and concerns (pp. 3-31). New York: Teachers College Press.

  • "Things attended to in desultory fashion stagnate. This is as true of institutions and those who run them as it is of gardens, shake roofs, and swimming pools. What was once lovely and/or functional becomes ugly and dysfunctional when not cared for. With respect to decaying institutions, yesterday's innovations become today's rigidities and tomorrow's anachronisms (p. 3)."

Alternative Views of the Educational Improvement Process

  • Educational reform is cyclical and freeform recommendations redundant.
  • Rationale: "We believe, further, that reform proposals directed only to the rehabilitation or replacement of individuals in these settings, however accurate the diagnosis of incompetence or inadequate effort, are doomed to failure and will serve only to assure, later, still another round of similar reform proposals (p. 5)."
  • "It may be necessary to develop mechanisms for helping people move so as to achieve a better fit between individuals and institutional settings (p. 5)."
  • The term reform has a negative connotation. Goodlad prefers to use renewal instead.

Bureaucratic Growth and Educational Decline

  • "Growth in both the size and complexity of our institutions led to bureaucratization and, in turn - virtually by definition - the transfer of decision-making authority from thousands of individuals in cottage-type enterprises to far fewer individuals in corporate centers removed from the arenas of daily human interaction (p. 6)."
  • As scaling up occurs, problems arise because of context. Universal rules are insufficient for every context, thereby making them universal.
  • "Efforts to regulate, systematize, or standardize these decisions and interactions are doomed at the outset and, when implemented, are hazardous to the wellbeing of individuals and institutions (p. 7)."
  • Based on Nordstrom motto, "'Use your own best judgment at all times (p. 7)'": "This means that management's attention is addressed to both increasing the worker's decision-making capability and making the circumstances more hospitable to the exercise of the worker's best judgment. When management does this well, we call it leadership (p. 7)."
  • We crippled the legs of education when we removed the decision-making power from those who should be making the decisions - those individuals who are in the situation. 
  • We lack a common understanding or rather an agreed upon definition or purpose for the common school.

School-University Collaboration: A Non-Event?

  • "The foregoing discussion implies that institutions do not stand still for long; they renew or decline. Individuals collectively sustain the renewing process or are carried along by the decline. Individual and institutional well-being go hand in hand (p. 10)."
  • Two essentials for partnerships:

    • "First, the workers - at all levels - must have optimal opportunity to infuse their efforts with the expertise of others engaged in similar work (p. 10)."
    • "Second, there must be continuous infusion of both relevant knowledge and alternative (indeed, countervailing) ideas for practice stemming from inquiry into the enterprise (p. 10)."
  • Advancement requires investment in research and development, but education has traditionally not invested in those areas.
  • A disconnect exists between schools and universities. They value different things - schools value actions; universities value reading, reflection, and dialogue.
  • School-University partnerships require a shared purpose.

Evolution of an Educational Improvement Strategy

  • Definition of network: "In my lexicon, a network is a very useful arrangement of exchanging information and ideas - as among boatbuilders, engineers, sociologists, teachers, deans, and so forth. These networks are characterized by likeness of interest or job and camaraderie rather than by confrontation. They are not ordinarily designed with change - especially radical change - in mind; if change occurs (as it most assuredly does), it is more by serendipity than design (p. 13)."
  • Networks and partnerships are not synonymous, but the terms are incorrectly used interchangeably. 
  • "Symbiosis is a provocative concept. Viewed positively, it refers to unlike organisms (or institutions) joined intimately in mutually beneficial relationships. For there to be a symbiotic partnership, presumably three minimum conditions must prevail:  dissimilarity between or among the partners; mutual satisfaction of self-interests; and sufficient selflessness on the part of each member to assure the satisfaction of self-interests on the part of all members. Regarding partnerships between schools and universities, the first condition is clearly present. The others must be created and require resolve, commitment, planning, creativity, leadership, sacrifice, and endurance. A steady flame requires continuous replenishment of the lamp oil (p. 14)."
  • The Atlanta Area Teacher Education Service - Learnings

    • Renewal needs: "For a school to become renewing, there must be at least a core of teachers and the principal engaged continuously in inquiry about the nature, quality, and relevance of the educational enterprise in which they are engaged.
    • There must be 'detached' time - time away from daily demands, as in summer workshops (with no children to teach) - for periods of sustained dialogue and reflection.
    • It is highly desirable and perhaps even necessary for there to be some interpenetration with other cohort groups, 'alternative drummers,' and countervailing ideas on provocative questions (p. 16)."
  • The Englewood Project - Learnings

    • "Just as the culture of the individual school can powerfully resist changes imposed upon it, that same culture can be a potent force for change, given proper conditions (Goodlad, 1977).
    • One of these conditions is a supportive infrastructure that not only encourages the principal and teachers to design the best possible settings for learning and teaching but also provides the necessary resources and supporting mechanisms (p. 17)."
    • "Left alone, a school faculty that runs against tradition and convention consumes so much time and energy defending its accomplishments that it soon has little of either left for continuing the process of renewal (p. 18)."
  • The League of Cooperating Schools - Learnings

    • "Although certain of the concepts are more seminal and important than others - for example, developing the renewing capacity of those closest to students, the individual school as the center of change, the process of inquiry - potency for change lies in combining all of these and more within a supportive infrastructure which includes ample access to alternatives and relevant knowledge.
    • The most significant elements, such as collaborative inquiry (Chapter 8), are also the most difficult to achieve and, simultaneously, the most deceptively subtle in their mature functioning. Consequently, they usually are the ones least likely to be diligently cultivated and most likely to be sacrificed to 'packages' or quick-fix panaceas.
    • In efforts to achieve the positive potential of symbiotic partnerships between schools (or school districts) and universities, the latter are least likely to perceive the relationship as relevant to their self-interests and, therefore, least likely to enter seriously into the marriage and to make it work (p. 20)."
  • A Study of Schooling

    • The potential of partnerships: "Juxtaposition of the action-oriented culture of the school and the inquiry-oriented culture of the university offers promise of shaking loose the calcified programs of both (e.g., how teachers teach and how teachers are prepared to teach. (sic)
    • A school-university partnership offers promise of stimulating collaborative inquiry into both the problems of the schools and relevance of various research paradigms. 
    • The agenda of instructional, curricular, and organizational improvements needed in the schools and of the relevance of teacher education and research programs in schools of education appear to overlap and thus to satisfy the criterion of mutual self-interests characteristic of a potentially powerful partnership (p. 21)."

School-University Partnerships and the NNER

  • The NNER Mission Statement

    • Sustainability = Partnerships must have a balance of both selflessness and selfishness.
    • "The agenda of collaboration grows out of the points of overlap. For a partnership to be successful, each partner must see satisfaction of the self-interests of the other(s) as essential to the satisfaction of its own. Consequently, to see to it that the self-interests of the others(s) are met is to be both selfless and self-serving. It is realistic, not cynical, to suggest that partnerships lacking this balance of selflessness and selfishness are short-lived (p. 24)."
  • Minimum Essentials for Each Partnership

    • "CONCEPT.  A school-university partnership represents a planned effort to establish a formal, mutually beneficial, interinstitutional relationship characterized by sufficient commitment to the effective fulfillment of overlapping functions to warrant the inevitable loss of some present control and authority on the part of the institution currently claiming dominant interest (pp. 25-26)."
    • "PURPOSES.  The intent is to create a process and an accompanying structure through which each equal party to a collaborative agreement will seek to draw on the complementary strengths of the other equal parties in advancing its self-interests. Each partnership is a means to this end and not an end in itself (p. 26)."
  • Minimum Essentials for the NNER



  • Goodlad, J. I. (1977). An ecological approach to change in elementary-school settings. Elementary School Journal, 78(2), 95-105.