Identifier

etd-07122012-111434

Degree

Master of Mass Communication (MMC)

Department

Mass Communication

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

This study examines the ways in which campus-community partnerships are represented in public communications produced by community-engaged institutions of higher education. Leading scholars of campus-community partnerships and service-learning agree that such relationships should be based on a reciprocal exchange between partners. In public relations endeavors, however, professionals concentrating solely on communicating the university’s achievements may overlook the equal contributions of the community partner. This study analyzed website content and universities publications from six colleges nationally recognized for their community-engagement efforts. Using quantitative and qualitative analysis, web content was analyzed for indicators of reciprocity developed from foundational literature regarding campus-community partnerships. Results showed that universities provided limited access on their websites for community partners seeking information about working with the university. Only a small number of university communications outside of the community engagement office provided evidence of mutual benefits (53 percent of articles), transformational partnerships (27 percent of articles), and collaborative language (45 percent of articles); however, community partner identity was included in most communications (64 percent of articles). For all reciprocity indicators, there was a stark difference in how university homepages and university community engagement offices described community engagement. Community engagement websites provided a clear sense of community partner identity and mutual benefits while using collaborative language; however, evidence of transformative partnerships was sparse across all communications. These findings show a great need for improvement in communicating reciprocity. The next step for scholars is to develop a guide to best practices; however, this process must involve community partner input.

Date

2012

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Secure the entire work for patent and/or proprietary purposes for a period of one year. Student has submitted appropriate documentation which states: During this period the copyright owner also agrees not to exercise her/his ownership rights, including public use in works, without prior authorization from LSU. At the end of the one year period, either we or LSU may request an automatic extension for one additional year. At the end of the one year secure period (or its extension, if such is requested), the work will be released for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Lundy, Lisa

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