Thursday, April 11, 2024

30-year history of reaching out to universities

Last December I posted this article asking "What if students in every city did this?" 

Youth in every part of the world could be writing articles similar to what I've written on this blog since 2005 and in newsletters back to 1993. 

I promised that "In a few weeks" I was going to write an article showing my efforts since 1993 to build strategic alliances with local and global universities, which would lead to students doing the research and writing that I dream of.

Today's the day to share that history.

Open this PDF presentation and stroll through 50 pages of history showing how I connected with universities throughout Chicago, the Midwest, and other countries, starting in the late 1980s when I led the Tutor/Mentor program at Montgomery Ward's corporate headquarters in Chicago.  

You'll see pages like the ones below, that show evidence of those connections and include links to documents on my Google drive.

These are just a few examples that show important work done by interns over the past 30 years, which I've highlighted on other pages in this PDF.

Please spend a little time looking at the slides. On your first visit, just walk quickly through each slide, so you can see the range of universities I've connected to.  Then, pick a university you're interested in, and open the links on those pages.  These show some of the interactions that I had which led to student involvement.

The slides show 30+ years of engagement. Valuable work was done. Yet, they all have one common weakness, which is a lack of ownership at the university, and no integration into a long-term university-led effort to support the growth of well-organized, non-school tutor, mentor and learning programs in all high poverty areas around the university, or the cities where they are located, or places where some of their student live.

The projects with Illinois Wesleyan from 1993-2004, Columbia College of Chicago in the mid 1990s and with IUPUI from 2002 to 2011 came closest to becoming a formal university based initiative.  But these never took root because I did not have the wealth, or fund raising ability, to fund faculty and student involvement, and no one at the university was willing to take on the fund-raising role.

Below is page 57 of the presentation.  Universities establishing Tutor/Mentor Connection programs and implementing the ideas I've piloted would represent "tipping points", or actions that change every thing else that happens.

At the bottom of the page I asked, "What if a wealthy patron, like MacKenzie Scott, who is giving millions of dollars to nonprofits, or Dr. Ruth Gottesman, who gave a $1 billion dollar donation to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, were to fund a Tutor/Mentor Connection strategy on one or more campuses for 10 to 20 consecutive years.

Don't give the money to me. Set up a competition and award it to universities who spend time reading this presentation and digging through my blog archives, then present a plan for engaging students and faculty in long-term learning that continues well past the years they graduate.

What might universities do differently to prepare leaders to lead needed youth, tutor, mentor and learning programs in high poverty areas that help youth to, and through, college and into careers. Or to train other alumni to support them as on-going  volunteers, advocates and donors?

Yesterday was a day of raising money for Illinois Wesleyan. I made a small donation. they raised a lot of money.  What if such a campaign were raising money each year for non-profits led by their alumni?

That was the idea that a University of Chicago Business School student worked on in 2006. 

Creating leaders who are constantly learning from peers and leaders who are consistently providing needed operating and innovation dollars, could be a degree program at any university. The on-going flow of student interns could come to nonprofits with greater preparation to contribute to the work being done, building on work done by previous interns.

Please share this widely.  As this slide shows, neighborhoods of concentrated poverty are spread throughout the USA.

Without a consistent, on-going, comprehensive effort, not much will change over the next 30 years for people living in areas of persistent poverty.  I've proposed a strategy that might make a difference.

I suspect that my presentation could be turned into a book, or could have an audio narration.  I hope some people will be interested in doing that.

Thank you to all of the faculty and students who have helped me since 1993. The work you did was really impressive and of great value.  

I especially want to thank Dr. Minor Myers, Jr., President of Illinois Wesleyan University from 1990 to 2003, for his constant encouragement.  

You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Mastodon, and other places (see links  here).   

And, if you want to help me pay the bills and continue to maintain and share this resource, visit this page and make a contribution.

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