Signature Partnership Historical Overview

University of Louisville Signature Partnership Initiative with West Louisville

Background: During FY 2003-2004, the university was engaged in more than 1,400 community partnerships or programs.  However, many of these projects were in the efforts of individual faculty, staff, or departments rather than part of a coordinated university strategy.  The establishment of the Signature Partnership Initiative (SPI) is expected to build further upon the outstanding work of the university's faculty and staff within the Louisville metro community.  This interdisciplinary scholarship and outreach in regards to urban/ metropolitan issues.  Furthermore, this new partnership initiative will engage a significant number of corporate/ business leaders, public sector officials, community leaders and university community in a focused effort to improve the quality of life for residents of West Louisville.

The Signature Partnership Initiative fit's well with the University's strategic plan and Challenge for the Excellence goals (Goals 4: Partnerships and Collaborations), Kentucky Higher Education Improvement Act 1997, the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education's advancement of the new economy and Greater Louisville Inc.'s 2005 Competitive City Agenda

University- Community Partnership Board Recommendation: Implement the Signature Partnership Initiative with West Louisville.  Complete the design and implementation of the programs and strategies aimed at eliminating disparities in education, health, economic development, and human and social services within the urban core.  Complete the steps necessary to secure buy-in from both university and community partners.  Consult with academics, representatives of community based organizations, residents, and others to exchange information and identify opportunities to collaborate.

Presidential Directive: Implement a new university-wide community signature partnership initiative that serves as a catalyst to mobilize both the university and community's talents, assets, and resources by (1) enhancing existing partnerships and building new interdisciplinary collaborations with community partners; (2) supporting capacity building in targeted neighborhoods, community organizations, and grassroots leadership; (3) promoting service learning and student development both on and off campus; and (4) enhancing faculty and student scholarship through applied/ engaged research, dissemination of knowledge, and forums for dialogue and exchange.

Overarching Goal Statement:

In collaboration with community partners, enhance quality of life for residents in West Louisville by improving the overall educational attainment levels to equal those of Metro Louisville in general, through the integrated enhancement of health, social and human services, and economic viability of the community.

Education Vision Statement:

Achieve Educational Excellence

Improve educational attainment levels of community residents by (1) working with educational institutions in the primary target area to achieve educational excellence in the delivery of learning opportunities; (2) assisting residents to achieve educational attainment sufficient to compete and prevail in the knowledge based economy and to enjoy a high quality of life; and (3) providing residents of all ages with access to a broad range of learning opportunities from pre-school to higher education, vocational and life-long learning, based on their educational needs and interests.

Education Program Objectives:

(1) Raise reading, math and science skills to grade level.

(2) Raise percentage of residents (over the age of 25) with a high school diploma to that of the community average.

(3) Raise the percentage of residents (over the age of 25) with a bachelor's degree to that of the community average.

Partial Listing of Quality of Life Indicators to be used in tracking trend data and measuring progress: public high school attendance, dropout, suspension, and graduation rates, students attending racially balance and magnet schools participation in advance and dual credit programs, student conduct, fourth grade reading, literacy, and math skills, library use and workforce development.

Economic Development Vision Statement:

Continued growth and development of a vibrant economy in West Louisville

Aid in the further growth and development of the target area economy that supports a vibrant and diversified mix of retail, commercial, and industrial businesses combining to provide (1) ample opportunities for productive employment; (2) a strong consumer market; and (3) a high standard of living that is shared widely among all residents of West Louisville by raising personal and household incomes and wealth creation.

Economic Development Program Objectives:

(1)  Raise employment level of residents of target area.

(2)  Raise average wage paid by target area businesses.

(3)  Increase number of businesses in target area.

(4)  Increase number of businesses owned by target area  residents.

Partial Listing of Quality of Life Indicators to be used in tracking trend data and measuring progress: Increase in average annual wages and salaries, living wage, new housing starts, real property values, access to and increase in home ownership, total taxable value of real property, environment clean-up (air, water, and ground pollution), employment growth and rates, job creation, land assemble, new business development, business ownership and licenses, new business survival rate, financial literacy, wealth creation, earned income tax credits received, ex- offender employment, percentage of males in the workforce, and workforce development.  Decrease in unemployment rate, unemployment benefit claims, poverty rate, foreclosure rates, and business failures.

Social and Human Services Vision Statement:

Promote stable and nurturing home and neighborhood environments

Partner with community partners to promote social well-being and harmony by (1) providing excellent services to those in need; (2)  strengthening target area residents and community organizations support for philanthropy and volunteerism necessary to enhance the social environment; and (3)  promoting social interactions that are characterized by equality of opportunity and racial harmony.

Social and Human Services Program Objectives:

(1)  Reduce substance abuse

(2)  Reduce youth violence

(3)  Provide safe, quality environments for individuals, including the elderly and disabled

Partial Listing of Quality of Life Indicators to be used in tracking data and in measuring progress: crime rates, perception of safety, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, juvenile delinquency, public assistance needs, supervised sports activities, civics and political involvement, level of volunteerism, philanthropic support of charitable causes, homeless, public satisfaction with arts, cultural and recreational activities, diversity of opportunities in the region for cultural and artistic enrichment, access to venues/ activities, teen violent deaths, children in poverty, divorce rate, domestic violence, homicides, requests for emergency assistance, childcare, and parental involvement.

Health Vision Statement:

Develop and sustain a healthy West Louisville Community by eradicating health disparities and inequities

Partner with existing health-care institution and providers in the target community to eradicate health disparities and equities by (1) providing medical and preventive health-care services with excellence; (2) ensuring equitable access to quality healthcare; and (3) supporting existing efforts aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles.

Health Program Objectives:

(1)  Reduce infant mortality

(2)  Increase life expectancy

(3)  Reduce chronic illnesses (e.g., cancer, cardiovascular disease, and mental health) through early identification and treatment

Partial Listing of Quality of Life Indicators to be used in tracking data and in measuring progress: health insurance coverage, racial disparities in rates of HIV, newly diagnosed AIDS cases, HIV/ AIDS related deaths, youth alcohol use, disparity in infant deaths, teen births, children receiving scheduled immunizations, early prenatal care, newborns with healthy birth weights, public perception of health care quality, heart disease, cancer deaths, obesity rates, Healthy 2010 goals, heath insurance coverage (including Medicare and Medicaid) health literacy, and environmental health