New roads to community: Interprofessional education for community schools. A study of a national initiative

John Clinton, Fordham University


This study investigated a collaboration program between schools of education and social work, and public schools. The purpose of the study was: (a) to analyze the worldviews of the two professions for pertinent shared and divergent conceptions, and (b) to assess program organizational mechanisms. Research focused on a national program and its nine project sites. Using field observations and interviews conducted over a 4-year period, and document analysis, data were collected, analyzed, and presented as an embedded, single-case study. Research disclosed that participants shared a belief that fragmented educational and social services are detrimental to children. Therefore, they designed projects based on a holistic conception of children's conditions in order to provide integrated services at the public school through collaborative efforts. Sharp divergences exist on matters such as the professional-client interaction process. Program functionality required that participants strengthen their common perspectives. Although many did so, at some sites differences were too severe to overcome. Each project devised structures, roles, and processes for collaborative service delivery coincidental with the training of future professionals. A common deficiency was insufficient knowledge and, consequently, a prolonged period of dysfunctional implementation. Geographic dispersion posed national-level administrative problems and presented sites limited communication opportunities, and the national office did not sufficiently disseminate knowledge available from research literature and comparable concurrent programs. The role of the project coordinator was found to exercise strong influence on project outcomes. Sarason & Lorentz (1998) have proposed a model for interagency collaboration contingent upon a “network coordinator.” At two sites where the coordinator possessed the model's characteristics, more effective university-school collaboration was found. A model for the coordinator-school principal relationship proposes that program success is related to the extent the coordinator and principal collaborate. The study's recommendations include that program planners: (a) incorporate the “network coordinator” role, (b) conduct preliminary planning of organizational mechanisms and other elements, and (c) foster a national movement for interprofessional education that includes development of a graduate student coterie. Future research is suggested on strategies to transform professional schools for interprofessional collaboration. Six figures and six tables display findings.

Subject Area

Higher education|School administration|Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Clinton, John, "New roads to community: Interprofessional education for community schools. A study of a national initiative" (1999). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9938898.