Community Partners

A culture of collaboration

Clark University is fortunate to work with partners who are committed to the idea that engaged scholarship, in tandem with effective practice, creates positive change. That joint commitment has helped earn Clark a national reputation for transformational work in urban education, and informs our efforts to reduce youth violence, promote improved public health, and conduct essential research into the economic growth and well-being in mid-sized cities. Our robust alliances are critical to making these endeavors flourish and will provide greater opportunities to blend research with practice as we expand our partnerships and the scope of our research in the community.

University park partnership

Clark University has been a national leader in the development of successful university and community partnerships since 1985, promoting the mutual benefits of collaborative, neighborhood-based decision-making. Clark’s close ties with the Main South Community Development Corporation, residents, local businesses, the Boys and Girls Club of Worcester, and faith-based institutions are crystallized in the University Park Partnership, a comprehensive strategic plan that has revitalized the immediate neighborhood surrounding Clark, transformed the University, and is helping to establish the city as a place in which young professionals want to live and work. This transformation has attracted Clark faculty, students, and staff who embrace the University’s vision of authentic partnerships, mutual respect, and shared responsibility with our community. The work encompasses Clark research and internships that examine solutions to complex problems; professional development in the public schools and exceptional educational opportunities for families; and recognition by Clark students that true learning extends beyond the classroom and into our community.

Clark lnnovation school initiative

Clark’s pioneering work in school partnership and reform in its Main South neighborhood, embodied by the development of the University Park Campus School (UPCS), continues with the “Innovation School” initiative. Working with Clark’s Adam Institute for Urban Teaching and School Practice and Hiatt Center for Urban Education, four partner schools, including UPCS, have qualified as “Innovation Schools.” Made possible by a recent Massachusetts law, this designation allows the schools to act with greater autonomy to establish new structures and practices to increase student achievement, with support from Clark. This represents the first cluster of partnership Innovation Schools in Massachusetts and new promise for education in Main South.

Academic health collaborative of Worcester

Clark and the city of Worcester have collaborated to create the Academic Health Collaborative of Worcester, a partnership that pairs students and faculty with public health professionals to improve health outcomes in lower-income neighborhoods. Among the initiatives is the work done by Professor Marianne Sarkis, a medical anthropologist in the Department of International Development, Community and Environment, who has led student research teams in conducting critical analyses of the commercial sex industry in Worcester and patterns of opioid-related overdoses.

Working cities challenge

The Mosakowski Institute for Public Enterprise at Clark University is the research partner for the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston on the bank’s Working Cities Challenge, which advances collaborative leadership in Massachusetts cities and supports work to improve the lives of low-income people in those cities.

Clark science-math teaching and education partnership

The Adam Institute for Urban Teaching and School Practice and the departments of Mathematics and Computer Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics were awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation to recruit, prepare, and sustain teachers in the sciences and mathematics. This grant provides internship stipends and scholarships to highly promising future teachers in these fields, preparing them to teach in high-need schools.

Shannon community safety initiative

Clark researchers have partnered with the city of Worcester to develop research support and program evaluation of citywide gang violence prevention and intervention initiatives in ways that are providing national models for other cities to consider. Generous funding from the Senator Charles E. Shannon Community Safety Initiative (Shannon CSI) supports regional and multidisciplinary approaches to combat gang violence through coordinated programs for prevention and intervention. These approaches may include, but are not limited to, law enforcement initiatives such as anti-gang task forces and targeting of enforcement resources through the use of crime mapping; focused prosecution efforts; programs aimed at successful reintegration of released inmates and youth from juvenile detention; and programs that provide youth with supervised out-of-school activities. Working in partnership with the city administration, the Worcester Police Department, and the Worcester Community Action Council, professors Laurie Ross and Ellen Foley serve as investigators for the Shannon SCI Local Action Research Partner in Worcester.

Main south theater initiative

Clark’s partnership with the Claremont Academy Innovation School includes a new theater-based curriculum. Designed not only to expose Claremont students to the creative world of theater, but also to build their resilience, trust, confidence, and the social and expressive skills important for academic learning, the program brings together members of Clark’s Theater and Education departments. Theater becomes the means for Claremont students to take risks, develop their academic foundation, and become familiar with college; for Clark theater students to learn from Claremont students; and for the development of a creative community across campus, school, and neighborhood.