Partnerships between University and Adult Education Providers

Partnerships between University and Adult Education Providers

Maria Martinez Witte (Auburn University, USA), Azzam Abd-El Naby Ahmed (Beni Suef University, Egypt) and James E. Witte (Auburn University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5780-9.ch081
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Lifelong learning can be enhanced through the establishment of academic and societal community partnerships. Adults face a multitude of challenges and roles that impact their ability to succeed in a teaching and learning environment. The motivation to pursue learning experiences will also vary and needs to be accounted for when working with the individual adult education learner. Post-secondary institutions can serve to bridge education, research, training, and service to the community. This chapter discusses current practices and advances within partnerships that have been established between university and adult education providers.
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Partnerships can be defined as a relationship between two or more parties that cooperate with joint rights and responsibilities (Partnership, 2012). Partnerships may be arranged through different associations or perceptions. This may include the use of a business model or specific language to define the relationship. Relationships can be built if there is a foundation of trust and respect. Wagner and Muller (2009) identified eight elements of a powerful partnership which were complementary strengths, a common mission, fairness, trust, acceptance, forgiveness, communicating, and unselfishness. Educational partnerships can be established to set up a social practice and to bring stakeholders together in order to enhance student learning. Effective educational partnerships will focus on student learning and may alter relationship practices. They can provide structures that encompass schools and universities and tap into available resources that include “…personal and professional; institutional; and the contribution of professional understandings via a shared language” (Selkrig & Keamy, 2009, p. 187). The result can assist in creating positive community processes and outcomes. Partnership initiatives can organize individuals, organizations, and communities to share expertise, resources and carry out common goals or generate community solutions (Strier, 2011).

A partnership refers to a contract between partners to achieve goals and to share the benefits and disadvantages of the relationship. It can be an agreement among a group in order to gather efforts towards a specific target. There is a purpose for the relationship, a mutual benefit to achieve common goals. Lindsay, McQuaid, and Dutton (2008) refer to the many features that make the partnership process important and effective. Working together allows achievement of better results than working individually and it also allows each partner to benefit. It is a shared commitment and clear recognition of the priorities set forth within the agreement. These types of arrangements reach for flexible solutions that are in response to policies or practices. They can encourage creative ideas and in turn, partners learn from the best practices.

Universities are serving as the partnership foundation for training and research functions and addressing social issues such as health, women, welfare, and access to technology.

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