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As community engagement approaches continue to expand in urban-identified public colleges and universities, so have innovative community-university partnerships that now span a wide range of public and private sector organizations. Partnerships between public universities and faith-based institutions, however, have sometimes lagged because public universities have yet to appreciate ways in which their public missions align with those of local faith-based organizations. This paper examines the partnership established between a large, urban-identified, public research university and one of its campus ministries to implement a servant leadership model and asset-based community development methodology designed to enable the university community to work collaboratively, recognize their own and others’ gifts and talents, and improve their own broadly-defined diverse communities. This research shows that through a servant leadership framework, faith can inform and enact this public mission to create active and engaged citizens. The asset-based partnership model shows promise for realizing the intersecting missions of faith partners and public higher education institutions, which can be replicated in with other institutions.
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VCU L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs Publications