The University of Oregon’s Sustainable City Year Program (SCYP) has become a replicable model for large scale partnership between universities and communities whereby students through their regular coursework focus on community-identified project areas. While not all projects revolve around transportation, many do, including many disciplines of students who are not normally thought of within a transportation context. For example, through SCYP, University of Oregon students in geography, architecture, landscape architecture, business, law, product design, city planning, public administration, economics, journalism, and arts administration have all worked on applied, city-identified transportation projects. Thus, this model is expanding transportation education across the curriculum while simultaneously putting knowledge into action by working on real projects that are community-identified. And while such university-community partnership is not new, the SCYP model created a structure by which 760+ courses and 500+ students across 15+ disciplines could give 50,000+ hours of focused attention to real world community issues; the scale of this model is the key factor in achieving impact and is what differentiates itself from past efforts of this nature. Currently there are 9 city/community partnerships.
In 2012, SCYP began training other universities on adopting and adapting the model for their institutional and community contexts and in 2017, over 30 other programs have since launched, involving 26 schools, 130 city/community programs, 850 projects, and 27 faculty. Because the framework works within the administrative structures of both universities and communities, the model has proven flexible and adaptable, while still focusing on community impact, putting knowledge into action, and training the next generation workforce.
This NITC project is to support the continued expansion of the SCYP model to more institutions across the United States and to strengthen and improve existing programs. It is a program to “Educate the Educators”; by training new institutions to adopt and adapt the model successfully, they become in the position to annually direct their own massive amount of resources to their local communities, exponentially expanding impact and the training of the next generation workforce.
The primary mechanism for “Educate the Educators” is through an annual national training conference and through the provision of technical assistance and resources that help new programs “Just Start” and existing ones engage in continuous quality improvement. This NITC project will help in those endeavors.