Occasional Paper I: What Works: A Research-Rich Environment

A Focus on Partnerships

Issues Raised:

Partnerships provide critical support networks for faculty and administrators and reduce the isolation of an individual "change agent."

Effective partnerships take time, including release time, and leadership by committed faculty and administrators.

There are many models that show how partnerships work, including those supported by private funding agencies such as the Pew Science Clusters and the Keck Geology and Keck Astronomy Consortia, and those supported by FCCSET agencies.

Electronic networks provide an excellent mechanism to maintain communication within partnerships regionally and nationally.

College and university presidents should establish a national network and local partnerships to formulate policy, discuss issues, and speak with a common voice.

Different objectives call for different partnerships: high schools with colleges and universities to develop science career paths; undergraduate with graduate programs to provide opportunities for under-represented groups; interdisciplinary to develop science literacy and introductory courses; regional networks to share innovative ideas.

  Recommendations:

Recognizing that institutions in each sector of the academic community and national associations have much to contribute to and benefit from collaborative involvement in building a stronger undergraduate science and mathematics community nationwide, we recommend:

  • Regular opportunities be established for faculty and administrators from two- and four-year colleges and comprehensive and research universities join in regional and national, discussion on issues of common interest and concern.
  • Such partnerships give immediate priority to fundamental reform of introductory courses in sciences and mathematics, building regional networks to identify models of successful reform and to evaluate the success of such models in different academic settings.
  • Regional partnerships give immediate priority to collaborative efforts to put talented women, minorities, and persons with disabilities on the path to successful careers in science and mathematics.
  • Colleges and universities across the country take the initiative in developing partnerships, and funding agencies support partnerships, across disciplinary, departmental, institutional, and regional lines.