We All Must Contribute to a More Comprehensive “Communiversity”

We All Must Contribute to a More Comprehensive “Communiversity”

Quinton T. Ross Jr.
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1181-7.ch001
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Communiversity is a term that has been used to define collaborations between communities and educational institutions. It has also been used in specialized capacities to refer to a collection of educational institutions in an area; the term has been further used to refer to university-specific programs. This chapter explores the 'communiversity' as a construct. It also underscores the need for the communiversity and identifies each stakeholder's role in contributing to a more fortified community-educational institution alliance.
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Leadership is widely perceived as an advantage afforded to a select few after they’ve “earned their stripes” or made enough of the ‘right’ decisions to be deemed capable of guiding an organization and a group of people toward something better—a strengthened financial profile, for example, or increased profits, or in the case of educational institutions—fulfillment of mission-focused goals and, certainly, the education of students. Leadership is no small task, regardless of its arena, but for those who lead in educational institutions, the responsibility is about life, not subjects or standardized tests. As the 15th president of Alabama State University, it is an honor and privilege to serve in such a capacity. And while my responsibilities are numerous, at the center of my efforts lies the students who are not only vital to the future we plan for but whose individual accomplishments will one day serve as contributions to the very ‘communiversity’ we are working diligently to fortify.

The term ‘communiversity’ is not new and was featured in printed publications as early as the 1960s. Its uses range from a general collaboration between communities and educational institutions to specific learning structures and even institution-specific programs and models. According to Martorana and Kuhns (1977), for instance, ‘communiversity’ refers to an array of educational institutions in any area. The word has also come to mean collaborative efforts among communities and educational institutions in the same area or region. With regard to historically Black colleges and universities, Killens (1969) called for a ‘communiversity’ that would shape Black communities and would serve as bridges to educate people of color from the “cradle to the grave”. The scope of the communiversity phenomenon is essential to all facets of education and includes a PK-20 approach that certainly promotes life-long learning, no matter the career, income level, or race/ethnic group membership, and unpacking ‘communiversity’ allows us to place the extent of its use in proper historical context while using its essence to work toward a better-connected future. For its purpose within this chapter, ‘communiversity’ represents the intersection and cooperative efforts among communities and universities.

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