University and Society
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University and Society

Interdependencies and Exchange

Edited by Ágnes Kövér and Gaby Franger

What role can the university play in the broader community or society in which it is embedded? Must it remain segregated in the halls of science and knowledge, which tower above the community? This book examines the growing number of questions and concerns around university-community relations by exploring widely accepted theories and practices and placing them under new light.
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Chapter 11: The Community Semester: enhancing town and gown relations in a medium-size city

John Murray


The purpose of this chapter is to describe how an initiative at Indiana State University called the Community Semester has made strides toward building a bridge between the residents of the community of Terre Haute and the university’s largest college. The Community Semester is a 15-week series of lectures, panel discussions, and arts events that the faculty share with the city’s residents. The chapter discusses the origins of the Community Semester, its connection with the strategic plan and vision of the institution, how the event is delivered, and the event’s strengths and shortcomings. The chapter concludes with a discussion of general issues associated with town–gown relations and looks at how events like the Community Semester can be used to leverage a better and more productive relationship between college, university, and city.

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