Goodlad & Sirotnik Future of School-University Partnerships

Goodlad, J. I., & Sirotnik, K. A. (1988). The future of school-university partnerships. In K. A. Sirotnik & J. I. Goodlad (Eds.), School-University partnerships in action: Concepts, cases, and concerns (pp. 205-225). New York: Teachers College Press.

Merging the Two Cultures: A Productive Tension

  • Survival of a partnership depends upon the preservation of each institution's individual cultural identity. Partnerships need to celebrate and retain the differences while still changing. Change is not the merging of cultures into one identity. Instead it is alterations that progress while retaining differences.
  • SYP (???): "Educators in the schools are capable of coming up with increasingly better ideas about their work and workplace, particularly if they have opportunities to observe and converse with co-workers in their own and other settings - something the partnerships described are designed to promote. But the record of so doing and then implementing radically different ways of conducting business is not impressive (p. 206)."
  • "The university has little to offer such a joining, however, if its faculty members create, in their ignorance of schools, some fictional characterizations of the precollegiate educational world (p. 208)." 
  • "We are proposing, then, not just a project in the reform of schooling or teacher education, but a way of life: a joining of schools and schools of education in a permanent partnership similar to those now imperfectly forged between most other professional schools and the settings where their graduates intern and practice (p. 210)."

Developing Trust and Ownership

  • Partnerships need trust.
  • "Lack of initial trust stems in part from the unfamiliar relationship between university-based and school-based people called for in the partnerships (p. 210)."

The Change Cycle

  • Change is not easy, simple, or linear.
  • Problem in the change process: "Herein lies a major problem in change processes. Because the very idea of change (and especially innovation) is threatening, particularly to persons who see themselves well served by the way things are, those involved often perceive a need to stay away from areas of controversy, at least initially (p. 214)."
  • "Those involved must come to understand that power is not finite. Sharing it usually creates more to spread around. Crossing over turf boundaries requires belief in that third characteristic of a symbiotic partnership: satisfaction of the self-intersts of other collaborators in a common agenda is essential to the satisfaction of one's own self-interests (p. 216)."

Developing a Common Agenda

  • Teacher isolationism inhibits critical reflection and dialogue and is contrary to the social nature of learning.
  • Principal isolationism exists as well and perpetuates the same issues.

Concluding Observations

  • "First, the role of executive director may prove to be crucial (p. 219)."

    • They are using these characteristics to describe an executive director, but I would argue all hybrids need them. Qualities of a hybrid: "One must be able to move readily back and forth between the culture of the school and the culture of the university, to have an understanding and an appreciation of the values of both, and to be perceived as contemptuous of neither. Increasingly, executive directors are learning the importance of being able 'to walk both sides of the street (p. 220).'"
    • "Perhaps more important than the promulgation of ideas may be the ability to draw ideas from others and move them into a common agenda and strategies for action. The ability to question and even challenge others without being threatening, to supply information and resources at critical junctures, and to foster the use of relevant data in all inquiry appears to be a productive, though perhaps rare, trait (p. 220)."
  • "Second, whatever the governance structure initially established, it will create problems and probably will require later modification (p. 220)."

    • "Ultimately, the governance structure must be broadly representative of those upon whom significant educational improvement depends (p. 221)."
  • "Third, the disparity between the rhetoric of expectations and the financial commitment of school-university partnerships raises interesting questions about the future (p. 221)."

    • Partnerships must not exist on the peripheral if they are to survive. They must be an integrated and integral part of both institutions.
  • "Fourth, questions of involvement, participation, and representation must be resolved on shared turf: the individual school, on one hand, and the university's programs for preparing educators, on the other (p. 222)."
  • "Fifth, for this time, energy, and motivation to be poured into creating parallel programs is to assure failure (p. 223)."
  • "Sixth, if the necessary mechanisms are to be sensitively nurtured, the partnership must become self-conscious of the change process (p. 223)."
  • "Seventh, the ultimate indicators of the success of a school-university partnership are not what gets marked up on the scoreboard, however important short-term accomplishments are as motivators. The nature and quality of institutional and individual renewal serve as the source for determining evaluative indicators (p. 224)."
  • An analogy for renewal: "In brief, renewal is a process of readying the ship's crew for possibilities and emergencies, changing the compass in the light of new data on rocks and clear passages ahead, taking appropriate action as a way of bringing informed experience to bear in considering further possibilities (p. 224)."
  • "The enemy of renewal is the quick-fix (p. 224)." MY THOUGHTS: Renewal is not a Band-aid approach. It is a disposition and a lifelong commitment.