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University of Iowa News Release


April 18, 2007

May 11 Roundtable, Conference To Examine Community Engagement Partnerships

University and community members will have a chance to address issues surrounding community engagement partnerships during a roundtable discussion on May 11.

"We all strive for strong partnerships that provide a safe and mutually beneficial collaboration," said Patti Fields, a VAN leadership team member and director of volunteer services for the Crisis Center. "This event will be an opportunity to learn from successful partnerships and discuss best practices for building the relationships as a community partner instead of as a community placement."

The roundtable, free and open to the public, will conclude the daylong Volunteer Administrator's Network 2007 conference, held in the Iowa Memorial Union (IMU). The Civic Engagement Program will host the roundtable and reception, scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. and last until 4 p.m. in the IMU's Richie Ballroom.

Registration for the conference is open until April 30. For more information about the conference, call 319-351-2726.

"The goal of the roundtable is to begin discussion and a process for formulating 'best practices' aimed at helping civic engagement partners develop productive, and mutually respectful relationships," said Mary Mathew Wilson, the coordinator of the Civic Engagement Program. "We hope to gather input from various individuals and organizations about what these 'best practices' might look like and then work together to develop specific guidelines that can be used by faculty, students and community partners to strengthen their collaborations and enhance sustainability."

Mathew Wilson said an additional benefit of engaging in this process would be identifying the common assumptions, miscommunications, or misunderstandings that often put community partnerships at risk. She encouraged students, faculty, staff, and community partners to attend and contribute to the formulation of these guidelines, noting that attendees do not have to register or RSVP. Questions about the roundtable may be directed to or 319-335-7589.

The Volunteer Administrator's Network Conference, in its third year, serves to provide practical tools, resources and networking opportunities for organizations working with volunteers. Last year, the conference expanded to 60 statewide attendees. UI Emeritus President Willard "Sandy" Boyd is this year's keynote speaker.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Mary Mathew Wilson, UI Civic Engagement Program, 319-335-7589, or; Stephen Pradarelli, University News Services, 319-384-0007,