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Making BIG Things Happen Through Strategic Collaboration


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Through my presentation I will share a model for strategic collaboration that has the potential to significantly impact the lives of communities, youth, and individuals as well as building capacity for the partnering organizations and systems that they represent. I will begin by presenting the general model, which focuses on “designing” collaboration from the foundation up with the goal of building capacity and actualizing potential. I will then explore 4 levels of application with supporting evidence, including: Buffalo Public Schools; women and children in the Kitenga village in Northern Tanzania; youth engagement and social entrepreneurism; and personal empowerment.

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Making BIG Things Happen Through Strategic Collaboration

  1. 1. UB Center for Educational CollaborationMaking BIG Things Happen Through StrategicCollaboration.Mara B. Huber, Ph.D. Why is collaboration so important?   Share a flexible model for strategic collaboration 2 Applications:   •Buffalo Public Schools Partnership •Buffalo Tanzania Project Lessons Learned Discussion
  2. 2. UB Center for Educational CollaborationWhy so important?Increasing expectations for (educational) partnerships POLICY  Emphasis on partnerships MANDATES that are: RFP’S √ Equitable SENSE OF  URGENCY √ Innovative √ Impactful √ Sustainable DWINDLING  RESOURCES √ Transformative New expectations for partnerships AND partners
  3. 3. UB Center for Educational Collaboration Inherent Appeal of Partnerships **Needs: Needs: • Students• Teachers • Placements• Administrators • Research• Prof. dev • Grants• Expertise • Opportunities• Opportunities • Improved• Resources models• Improved models We need one another to fulfill our respective missions
  4. 4. UB Center for Educational CollaborationPartnerships are often built on unstable foundations RESOURCES EXPECTATIONS PARTNERSHIP Weak foundation can result  in limited impact
  5. 5. UB Center for Educational CollaborationPartnerships are surprisingly complex • intercultural differences • interpersonal differences • historical baggage • stereotypes • power imbalances • changing personnel • lack of accountabilityChallenge of bringing together such disparate systems/cultures
  6. 6. UB Center for Educational CollaborationMany partnership models are highly localized• focus on specific grant programs• limited participation• limited understanding• communication limited to kick-off• leadership may change• expertise specific to content Opportunity for impact is inherently limited
  7. 7. UB Center for Educational CollaborationHow to address challenges to maximize impact?
  8. 8. UB Center for Educational Collaboration Simple Process Model√ Build foundation on trust, respect, and understanding√ Identify areas of shared interest that are at the right level√ Seed core programs in focus domains√ Study and communicate impact√ BUILD CAPACITY
  9. 9. UB Center for Educational CollaborationExample:  UB‐ Buffalo Public Schools Partnership 1.  Building foundation: shared position 2.  Areas of focus:   ‐research and evaluation ‐ academic acceleration ‐college readiness ‐strategic support 
  10. 10. UB Center for Educational CollaborationExample:  UB‐ Buffalo Public Schools Partnership 3. Seed signature programs ‐ R & E:  Extended Learning Opportunity Program ‐ Summer STEM camps ‐ Buffalo Partnership Scholarship Program ‐ informal counsel and facilitation 4.  Study and communicate impact Evaluation contracts; newsletters; website; presentations; articles
  11. 11. UB Center for Educational CollaborationExample:  UB‐ Buffalo Public Schools Partnership 4. Build Capacity ‐ evolution of summer STEM ‐ expansion to after school ‐ grant applications ‐ development of “Pathways” including Civic Pathways ‐ evolution of University piece including Destination College ‐ expansion of model to international venue
  12. 12. UB Center for Educational CollaborationExample:  Buffalo Tanzania Education Project 1. Laying  the foundation:   2009 trip; IHSA 2. Identifying areas of focus: education; health; economics;  infrastructure 3.  Seeding Signature Programs Early Childhood School; Secondary School; Solar Cookers; Water
  13. 13. UB Center for Educational CollaborationExample:  Buffalo Tanzania Education Project 4. Studying and Communicating  Impact solar cooker research; focus groups website; videos; presentations… 5.  Building Capacity community partners research group public health project class wiki site
  14. 14. UB Center for Educational Collaboration Lessons Learned√  Importance of leadership√ Importance of strategic planning√  Value of stepping away from the work√  Need for clear accountability on both sides√ Partnership must be built on respect, trust, and understanding√ Notion of partner readinessIt is possible to build strong, sustainable, impactful partnerships
  15. 15. UB Center for Educational Collaboration How far can we go?√  Importance of mission√  Importance of process√  Power of historical tendencies…… If left to their own natural course, partnerships will not live up to our hopes and expectations…. Must be created and maintained by design