One of the important aspects of our world today is the vast amount of education available to us. There is a fantastic amount of new research being done by universities every day. However, the general public only sees a tiny percentage of the research out there. For the research they do see, often the results are manipulated to push the news outlet's or company's objective. This not only is dishonest and manipulative, but it also lowers trust in the scientific method of research if and when they find the truth.
What we need today is a bridge between universities and our communities. It's no secret that universities are more concerned with their global reputation and global impact than their local reputation or impact. Our communities should benefit from having these knowledge brokers as its in some ways a responsibility of the universities to do so. This divide between higher education and the general public is being created by ever-increasing tuition costs and many other reasons that are too long-winded to get into in this article. What we should notice about our society is that the more uneducated society is the worse off it will be economically at least, but also socially. With our communities cut off from the tools and support that our institutions can offer we all suffer.
Community-based research (CBR) is one solution to this divide. What CBR proposes is for universities to set up projects in many neighborhoods to figure out the problems that are specifically affecting that singular community and helping them find solutions and implement solutions. With the resources of universities and the number of universities capable of such undertakings, many communities in our nations and world could be positively impacted. With neighbors knowing each other and knowing each others' problems, a level of trust is gained in one another. Trust is very important for a society to continue thriving. Without the ability to trust your own neighbor, you live within a scarcity mindset, a fear-based mindset that forces you to act more selfishly and less charitably. Charitability is a cornerstone of what brings communities together. It's something we learn as kids that being charitable is for the greater good, but since we are so divided, this social tool is being forgotten. By pooling together our interregional human resources, we can not only figure out what people really want but actually solve these issues.
1. Chan, Y., & Farrington, C. (2018). Community-based research: Engaging universities in technology-related knowledge exchanges. Information and Organization, 28(3), 129-139.