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UVM Wins Learn & Serve America Grant

By The View Staff Article published March 21, 2007

The Office of Community-University Partnerships and Service-Learning (CUPS), in collaboration with the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Master of Public Administration program, has been awarded a Learn & Serve America innovation grant to pursue community-based research in collaboration with three community partners.

The university's proposal, one of 10 selected out of 100 applicants, is worth $22,500 over three years and was cited for its innovation and potential contributions to the field of community-based research, which engages faculty, students, and community stakeholders in research projects that aim to affect social change. Community agencies involved in the collaboration include the Burlington Community and Economic Development Office; Lamoille County People in Partnership; and the New England Grassroots Environment Fund.

The CUPS office, founded in 2003 with a mission of supporting collaborative UVM-Community partnerships with service-learning components and community-based scholarship, will use the grant to launch the development of a new academic course in community-based participatory research. The course, co-developed and taught by Hendrika Maltby, associate professor of nursing, will examine the process of conducting research with the community as full partner.

“The community is not just a place to do research,” Maltby says. “It should be a place to collaborate in research endeavors. Those who are most affected by the research should be actively involved.”

Students from a variety of disciplines will explore the philosophical dimensions and issues related to community-based participatory research and apply this knowledge through partnerships with identified community groups. By the end of the course, interdisciplinary groups of students, teaming with their community partners, will have developed proposals that will be carried out in the following semester through student theses and projects.