Owing to the scope and pace of change, society has become increasingly knowledge-based so that higher learning and research now act as essential components of cultural, socio-economic and environmentally sustainable development of individuals, communities and nations. In this environment, it is essential that higher learning and knowledge creation involve effective partnerships among academic and non-academic learning institutions and communities to create and apply learning and knowledge with stakeholders that are managing and creating sustainable development initiatives. Growing concern regarding the importance of the contribution that higher education institutions make to society has aroused increasing debate about their relevance and credibility amid escalating social problems. An underlying premise of community engagement is the understanding that not all knowledge and expertise resides in the academy, and that both expertise and great learning opportunities in teaching and scholarship also reside in non-academic settings.
This conference will explore how LIS educators and researchers can develop curricula, programs, and research activities that enable active partnerships with communities and civil society to manage and create change. How can LIS programs increase opportunities for experiential, service oriented, and community engaged student learning? How can we develop further collaboration between LIS programs and their larger communities (local, regional/ state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity?
This presentation will discuss the development of the partnerships in Serbia, the structure of the academic courses that revolve around the study trips, and the development of the students in the areas of cultural understanding and diversity. It will identify the various levels of support within the university to make this partnership a reality, and the long-term commitments that must be made before embarking on a similar project. It will also discuss in detail the development of the curriculum materials and the changes that have proved necessary to provide the students with a solid foundation for their learning. Student’s own comments on their learning and discovery will also be presented to highlight the impact of this type of learning experience on the students.