Explore Partnerships

Ohio State is dedicated to solving societal challenges through community-engaged partnerships with the people and institutions of Ohio, the nation, and the world.

We aspire to build meaningful partnerships that effectively leverage the strengths of each partner for mutual benefit to accomplish far better solutions than what is possible working alone.

The university is engaged in many forms of partnerships, including research, teaching, student volunteerism, service-learning and community service. Our partners come from a broad array of organizations under the umbrellas of community groups, nonprofits, educational institutions, and the private sector.

Ohio State strives for mutually beneficial partnerships where all members advance their goals. Community partners benefit from access to Ohio State's cutting-edge knowledge, innovations, facilities, and capabilities in education, research, and evaluation within an expansive network of experts. The university's goals are achieved when faculty, staff, and students work in real-world situations, enabling more relevant outcomes and scholarship, better prepared students, and improved ability to succeed in future challenges.

Meaningful Partnership Principles

Meaningful partnerships are both a process and an outcome. Building and maintaining them requires an investment of time and attention to the following principles. Success provides the solid collaborative framework that opens up doors to new possibilities.

The partnership is guided by a shared vision and purpose established through honest, diplomatic and open communication in a safe forum. It incorporates an on-going commitment to understanding evolving partner's needs, assets, values, and organizational frameworks.

Indicators of Success

  • Committed investment of time and energy to develop partnership potential
  • Partnership mission and vision jointly created
  • Partner needs assessment completed

Example: SciDome Planetarium

The SciDome is a 30-ft, 4K projection planetarium launched by The Works and The Ohio State University. This partnership has created an immersive facility where educational experiences will engage audiences of all ages. The Works and OSU Newark together planned and raised funds for the SciDome, ensuring its design would extend both institutions' ability to serve students and the community.

Partners need a defined and documented understanding of individual members' roles and responsibilities. Governance is shared and transparent. The value added by combining efforts is clear and respected.

Indicators of Success

  • Articulated goals are mutually beneficial to partner organizations
  • Work plan leveraging individual partner's strengths is jointly created and supported by partners
  • Partnership decision-making process is established and involves all partners

Example: Young Scholars Program

Photo of students in a lab

The Young Scholars Program's (YSP) mission is to improve pre-college preparation, retention, and degree completion among academically talented, low-income, first-generation students. Ohio State partners with nine of the largest urban school districts in Ohio to recruit pre-college students into YSP. The university and community partners have well-documented roles and responsibilities, enabling the program's success for more than 30 years. In 2013, YSP was the recipient of the C. Peter Magrath University Community Engagement Award, one of the nation's highest honors for a community engagement program.

A healthy partnership promotes an atmosphere of accountability and continuous improvement. Evaluations are aimed at learning together to improve work performance and establish impact.

Indicators of Success

  • Performance and outcome evaluation plans in place
  • Outcomes are documented and published
  • Rate of return of partnership initiatives improves with time

Example: LiFEsports

Photo of OSU students and youth at a sports camp

The goal of LiFEsports is to enhance the quality of youth development, sport, and recreational programs through service and outreach, teaching and learning, and research, thereby increasing positive developmental outcomes for youth. LiFEsports researchers continuously refine a curriculum that fosters creative problem solving, critical thinking, teamwork, and the development of healthy self-esteem among its campers. Youth develop a sense of community, increased motivation, and develop a greater belief in themselves during their time at camp. This curriculum is now being studied for its effectiveness in a variety of youth development settings, including summer and after-school programs.

Partnerships rely on shared leadership among respected individuals who are recognized and empowered by their organizations to diplomatically and efficiently manage the partnering relationship and partnership goals. Partnerships have the potential to deliver sustained value to members, if cultivated. This requires an intentional effort in time and resources to grow the relationship.

Indicators of Success

  • Formalized partnership agreement in place
  • Organizational buy-in to the partnership and investment of resources
  • Partners continually explore new opportunities for collaborative work

Example: Endeavor Center

Photo of the Endeavor Center building

Located in Piketon, the Endeavor Center is a 27,000 square foot business incubator that provides flexible lease space, management guidance, networking, and shared services to entrepreneurs in south central Ohio.

The Endeavor Center Council, made up of both private and public sector partners, works with Ohio State to manage the university-community relationship and partnership goals by sharing information on the current economic conditions and business climate of the region, evaluating new development and training opportunities, and serving as a marketing voice for potential clients.

The accomplishments of the partnership both the benefits to society and the health and value of the partnering relationship should be celebrated.

Indicators of Success

  • Partnership success stories visible and shared
  • Partnership recognition programs established
  • Partners share responsibility for advocating on behalf of the partnership to gain visibility, support, and resources

Example: Generation Rx

Generation Rx educates people of all ages about the potential dangers of misusing prescription medications. Since 2007, the College of Pharmacy at The Ohio State University and the Cardinal Health Foundation have partnered to provide open source educational materials that anyone can use to help prevent the misuse of prescription drugs. These ready-to-use resources are designed to provide everything you need to make a presentation or offer a program in your community, school or college.

Generation Rx held a 10-year celebration at COSI, providing awards to each partner and sharing the story of influence and impact achieved through the partnership. The event was held at COSI to celebrate the partnership between Ohio State and COSI through the Generation Rx Labs in Life.

More engagement resources can be found here.


For more information, please contact the Office of Outreach and Engagement at engage@osu.edu.