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The role of HRD in university – community partnership

Emmanuel Osafo (Metropolitan Engagement Zone Initiative, Urban Research Outreach-Engagement Center, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA)
Robert M. Yawson (School of Business, Quinnipiac University, Hamden, Connecticut, USA)

European Journal of Training and Development

ISSN: 2046-9012

Article publication date: 11 March 2019

Issue publication date: 20 June 2019




This paper aims to identify ways by which the core functions of human resource development HRD can be used to enhance the university–community partnership (UCP) in lieu of the “town and gown” era. Furthermore, the paper addresses the need to extend HRD activities beyond the organization and leverage HRD to spearhead the community-development agenda through coalition building between organizations, local universities and the community.


Literature on UCP is reviewed and analyzed, and the need to extend HRD focus beyond the organization to include community development through coalition building is discussed. A single-case descriptive analysis to illustrate the critical role of human resource and leadership development in UCP is done.


HRD’s interest in the UCP drive is negligible. UCP presents a new frontier for HRD research and practice because there is both public and private funding that can be assessed through the right contacts and networks.


The need for UCP has been a subject of discussion among scholars for time immemorial. However, the collapse of the “town and gown” era has inspired greater interest in UCP. HRD scholars and practitioners can leverage the expertise in applying andragogy principles, the focus on the adult learner and community leadership development to play a crucial in the UCP drive.



Osafo, E. and Yawson, R.M. (2019), "The role of HRD in university – community partnership", European Journal of Training and Development, Vol. 43 No. 5/6, pp. 536-553.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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