Principle 2: Equal Emphasis on Campus and Community Impact
Much like other institutions, WP has been guilty at times and in some processes of focusing more on internal outcomes than developing and assessing outcomes together with our community partners (Yamamura & Koth, 2018). The broader geographic focus may lend to this reality. We are also still in process of building relational networks among our neighbor-constituencies. In the MCE program, we have a solid community of practice, but are working to improve on formalizing partner feedback. We have had organic processes of gathering feedback in real
What Does It Mean to Be a Neighbor? 179 time and have been very responsive in making adjustments as we go, but our lack of human resources has meant that we have not always documented it formally in helpful and shareable ways, connecting feedback to its source, and mapping it to our desired outcomes.
Principles 3 and 4: Long-Term Vision, Commitment, and Mission Animation
We are still in process and in the stage of exploration in these pieces and how they link together. We have been intentionally seeking to collaborate with and for our urban environment for more than a decade. And yet, we are still figuring out who needs to be at the table and in which seats in order to do this in a way that is mutually beneficial for all and in a way that answers the questions of what concrete neighbor love looks like. In the MCE program, our answers to those questions move in and out of clarity based somewhat on the boundaries of the institution, somewhat on the boundaries and uncertainties of our sponsoring church movement, and somewhat on the changing possibilities and challenges of ministry in our moment. What is unwavering is our long-term vision and commitment to do this work together with our partners toward a picture of nurturing life in our neighborhoods.
Yamamura and Koth (2018) indicted that “All too frequently, contemporary community engagement efforts in higher education focus more on student learning and faculty research over pursuing measurable change on larger societal issues” (p. 3). This statement has been true of us to a degree. Not because we arc not committed to it not being so, but because “larger societal issues” (p. 3) are just that—larger—and we have not always put the time and effort into designing and following up with what changes and measures will positively address the concerns most impacting our communities at a larger scale. We have done significant work to increase access to higher education for some communities in our city. We are working on increasing access to more people of color and women in technolog)'. And as a recently designated Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), we are intentionally working together with the Latino/Latina/Latinx communities in Portland related to higher education. However, on the whole, we are still growing in the areas of clarifying our vision and identifying specific collaborative measures with the goal of addressing larger societal change.