Alignment through Community
The Case of a Metropolitan University and the Greater Oklahoma City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
The University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) is a public metropolitan university that has developed a highly collaborative relationship with the Greater Oklahoma City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (HC). This partnership unites several UCO divisions and the HC in support of a set of shared goals, articulated in UCO’s “Vision 2020” strategic planning document and in the HC’s seven community development priorities, which include business development, cultural and environmental stewardship, workforce development, and education. To facilitate these partnerships, UCO’s Division of Academic Affairs has reorganized its administrative structure to create an Office of Global and Cultural Competencies, which includes a Director of Cultural Outreach and Diversity Strategies, who serves as on-site liaison to the HC; the Division of Academic Affairs also has representation on the HC Board of Directors. These shared efforts provide a means for securing extramural funding, internships, and new leadership programs that will sustain the partnership and affect a growing demographic and economic segment of Oklahoma City. Within the university, this partnership complements the diversity and inclusion initiatives of UCO’s Division of Student Affairs and promotes the legislative and economic initiatives led by UCO’s Division of Public Affairs. This article addresses the often-unrecognized role that a university’s academic mission plays in anchoring community partnerships, and it contributes to best practices in fulfilling an institutional commitment to serve diverse, metropolitan populations.
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