Two sides of a partnership: Egalitarianism and empowerment in school-university partnerships

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Lefever-Davis, Shirley
Johnson, Charlene
Pearman, Cathy J.

Lefever-Davis, S., Johnson, C., & Pearman, C. (2007). Two sides of a partnership: Egalitarianism and empowerment in school-university partnerships. Journal of Educational Research, 100(4), 204-210. doi:10.3200/JOER.100.4.204-210


Partnerships between universities and public schools that recognize the interdependence and mutual benefits derived from an alliance have become a cornerstone of educational restructuring (C. Dean, P. Lauer, & V. Urquhart, 2005; J. L. Goodlad, 1991; Holmes Group, 1990). Although interrelated, these partners exist in distinctive milieus in which roles and expectations differ. Effective partnerships honor the distinct characteristics of each while ensuring egalitarianism between the 2 partners. Mutually beneficial goals, valuing each party's unique contributions, and receipt of benefits based on involvement are critical for the egalitarianism that is realized between the partners. Those ideas are achieved on the basis of relationships developed between the participants. Histories of affiliation have implications for the type of partnership relationship that is developed and its effectiveness in being mutually beneficial. The authors describe relationships that were formed between a university and 2 elementary schools. They also illustrate unique historical relationships between the university and the schools, contextual factors of the schools that influenced these relationships, implications of these relationships for the degree of egalitarianism realized, and the way that this is reflected in the communicative stances taken by the partners. The impact of these factors on conditions that contribute to successful partnerships, such as a shared vision of simultaneous renewal, active and open communication between all partners, and ensured true egalitarianism and empowerment is explored.

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