BY NATALIE FEDOR | OCTOBER 30, 2023
The UCF College of Community Innovation and Education and Edge Hill University's Faculty of Education recently participated in a four-day knowledge exchange and community tour in the United Kingdom. Edge Hill University, a public university in Ormskirk, Lancashire, England, hosted the visit. The UCF delegation comprised 11 faculty and staff members from the College of Community Innovation and Education with expertise on vulnerable children and families.
During the exchange, faculty members from both universities shared their research to assist in furthering their unique missions and forming long-term collaborative opportunities.
"This new partnership aims to create knowledge and experiences that can improve the lives of vulnerable children and families in both the United States and the United Kingdom," says B. Grant Hayes, dean of the College of Community Innovation and Education.
The 'Role of the University and the Vulnerability Agenda' symposium included networking opportunities and roundtable meetings with Edge Hill University's faculty research networks and subject hubs on Sept. 18. On Sept. 19 and 20, a two-day research symposium explored the role of the university and the vulnerability agenda through 17 research presentations and plenary discussions ranging from topics on community partnerships, youth justice, and emotional and occupational support to teacher candidate preparation.
On Sept. 21, the UCF faculty members went on a community tour to visit two of Edge Hill University's partners. The tour included visits to Our Lady of Immaculate School in Liverpool, which is a Catholic school that serves children aged two to 11, and the People's Hub at Everton Football Club, which is a registered charity known as Everton in the Community. The organization provides community support such as employment training, education opportunities, mental health support, and physical health and nutrition programs.
UCF Professor Thomas Bryer, one of the co-leads of the trip and visiting professor with Edge Hill University’s Centre for Social Responsibility, was pleased with the outcomes of the visit.
“We collectively demonstrated what is possible when we [academia] focus on shared substantive concerns (e.g., caring for vulnerable youth and families) and not on individual disciplines,” Bryer says. “This alone makes the journey worth it; the fact that we are advancing meaningful partnership and scholarly pursuits with our peers in England is icing on the cake.”
The UCF and Edge Hill faculty have committed to continue their collaboration through future knowledge exchanges and study visits along with scholarly work.
"In partnership with our peers at Edge Hill University, we are committed to developing a unique and, dare I say, groundbreaking book," Bryer says. "Chapters will be coauthored by at least one person from each university, plus community partners from each country. Embedding these diverse voices in single chapters will demonstrate how the best knowledge and the most meaningful solutions to common challenges emerge through deep dialogue and joint creative process."