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This brief was derived from the discussions of NERCHE’s think tank for coordinators of GEAR UP school-college partnerships. The insights of these coordinators point to the principle that it is the quality of the relationships among the partners that determines the effectiveness of multi-institutional collaborations. This means then that those who support and invest in multi-institutional collaborations should also focus on supporting the process of partnership building. But what does this mean in practical terms? It means being strategic right from the beginning in the design of grant structures, and throughout the relationship with the grantees. This brief provides examples of the kinds of structures and purposeful actions that build effective partnerships. The examples and the recommendations that follow are intended primarily for project funders but are relevant for all those involved in higher education collaborations. Both the funders and the grantees need to advocate for partnership building as a sound investment strategy.


The following Brief from the New England Resource Center for Higher Education (NERCHE) is a distillation of collaborative work of members of NERCHE's ongoing think tanks for administrators and faculty in the New England region. NERCHE Briefs emphasize policy implications and action agendas from the point of view of the people who tackle the most compelling issues in higher education in their daily work lives. With support from the Ford Foundation, NERCHE disseminates these pieces to a targeted audience of legislators, college and university presidents and system heads, and media contacts. The Briefs are designed to add critical information and essential voices to the policy decisions that leaders in higher education address.


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