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Hauptsachtitel:
Learning Cities, Systems Change, and Community Engagement Scholarship.
Zeitschriftenausgabe (-> Ref.Nr):
Zeitschrift/Zeitung:
New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education
Z-Heftnummer/-bez.:
145
Erscheinungsjahr:
Seite (von-bis):
21-33
Kurzinfo:
Abstract: Learning cities/regions, as education systems, require the practice framework of community engagement scholarship that anchors systems change for data-driven decision making.
During the latter part of the 20th century, a zeitgeist enveloped vast segments of society drawing education, business, civil society, and government toward similar conclusions with respect to approaches to problem solving. During most of the century, the prevalent approach to problem solving was to fund specific projects designed to produce evidence-based practices, which then could be taken to scale beyond the initial demonstration context. In too many cases, such efforts failed to produce desired system-wide transformative change. Gradually, change agents began to realize that project-focused efforts to produce change were too often disconnected from the broader systems within which projects were embedded. Change efforts began to shift to more directly focus on changing systems as well as the
specific problems embedded within those systems. The development of learning cities/regions (LCRs) is one such effort. However, a focus on systems change does not mean that targeted interventions seeking effective practices should be abandoned. Rather, outcomes or data produced by project-focused change efforts are valuable and should provide input to more systemic models which then can guide structured or data-driven decision making.
In this chapter we argue that community engagement scholarship (CES) is an evidence-based practice framework that can anchor LCR systems change efforts to data-driven decision making. In addition, we suggest that service learning provides a framework for structuring lifelong or transformational learning, a core component of the LCR approach to economic development and quality of life. First, we provide a brief context for these propositions by summarizing the core principles of LCRs as we understand them. Second, we trace the emergence of CES as an approach focused on program- and system-level change achieved through scholarship-focused university–community partnerships. We especially draw attention to the affordances provided by a comparison of CES and LCRs with respect to efforts to promote systems change, economic development, lifelong learning, and innovation and creativity for 21st-century knowledge societies and economies. Third, we draw particular attention to the role of service learning as a framework for generating lifelong learning opportunities for individuals and organizations, drawing on commonalities between service learning and transformational learning (Mezirow, 1997, 2012; Pinzon & Arceo, 2006; Stage & Wells, 2014). We conclude with recommendations for building even stronger interconnections among the four helixes believed to be important for achieving sustainable systems change: higher education, business, government, and civil society (Cooper, 2011).
DOI:
10.1002/ace.20120