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Partners In Time: Key Steps To Establishing An Effective Partnership Between The University And The K 12 Community

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Outreach: Future Women in Engineering I

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.981.1 - 9.981.9



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Paper Authors

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Elizabeth Parry

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Laura Bottomley

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1692

Partners in Time—Strategies for Establishing an Effective Partnership between the University and the K12 Community Elizabeth A. Parry, Laura J. Bottomley, Jan Kidwell North Carolina State University/Wake County Public School System


Today’s funding environment makes it imperative for institutions of higher education to actively solicit and maintain a positive ongoing relationship with the K12 community. Government and private dollars are often offered with the caveat that the universities engage local school districts in some part of the efforts. The K12 community, while under constant budget pressure itself, and therefore welcoming of additional resources, faces high stakes testing and accountability demands, teacher shortages and a myriad of other issues that might make starting, or maintaining, a relationship with the university less attractive.

The key to establishing a symbiotic, long term relationship with interaction at all levels is forming programs that benefit both constituencies in a way that is not perceived to add to current workload. From the university’s standpoint, obtaining the funding to complete its primary task, usually research, is the key driver. In the K12 community, it is incorporating new programs and ideas in a manner sensitive to the district’s current climate and workload. The College of Engineering (COE) at North Carolina State University (NCSU) has, over the past five years, developed such a relationship with the local Wake County Public School System (WCPSS). WCPSS is the 25th largest school system in the country, with 127 schools and over 108,000 students. Engineering faculty and staff are actively involved in all grade levels and have developed a trusting, productive working relationship with WCPSS central office personnel. The result of this relationship is the university has a willing partner when seeking funding for research and growth opportunities, and the school system has a responsible collaborator on its initiatives. The end result is that this partnership is a winning proposition for the full K16 community.

The Importance of the University-K12 Partnership

The need to establish a symbiotic relationship between these two entities is apparent. In today’s economy, funding agencies are especially concerned with the ‘bang for the buck’ for their investment dollars. Increasing the spectrum of the population benefiting from this investment makes both economic and public relations sense. Science, technical and engineering pipelines at universities are under constant recruiting pressure, challenging enough for the general population but especially so for under-represented groups and women in these fields of study. In addition, universities have a vested interest in the rigor of the K12 curriculum so that incoming freshmen are well prepared for the demands of collegiate academics.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright @ 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Parry, E., & Bottomley, L. (2004, June), Partners In Time: Key Steps To Establishing An Effective Partnership Between The University And The K 12 Community Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13338

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