The Community is the Curriculum

 

Vanessa Nelson and Ann Bishop

June 2007 marked the first anniversary of the Community Informatics Corps (CI Corps) as a formal program of study within the Graduate School of Library and Information Science master’s degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Focused on addressing local needs and developing capacity, it was created in partnership with Chicago’s Puerto Rican Cultural Center (PRCC) in the inner city neighborhood known as Paseo Boricua. Here, CI Corps students have collaborated with community members through action research and various practical engagement experiences. Through interviews with stakeholders from the community and university, this paper will inquire into attitudes toward the university’s presence in the neighborhood, perceptions of the partnership as a whole, and the outcomes of action, particularly with various youth organizations in the community. “The community is the curriculum” and “Live and help others to live” are two tenets that represent the teaching and learning practices of Paseo Boricua and, by extension, of the CI Corps itself. The purpose of this paper is to develop a sense of the complexities, engagement practices, and early outcomes of the partnership within the larger community and, more broadly, of university/community partnerships within the field of community informatics. Keywords: university-community partnership, practical engagement, reciprocity

The Community is the Curriculum- Vanessa Nelson, Ann P. Bishop

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