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Introduction to successful collaboration for community engagement.: Start

This workshop exposes the importance of successful collaboration and the role it plays in community relationships. It explains some critical foundation factors that drives successful collaborations and sheds lights on step by step approaches that can help

Connecting University (Libraries) with Community partners for accessible resources for Community end-Users


What is Successful Collaboration?

Collaboration means working together with consensual stakeholders towards the accomplishment of a defined objective. A successful collaboration usually involves being open to suggestions, critiques, and ideas from all team members, even if it means changing course. Innovation (and evolution) often stems from considering radically different perspectives.

According to Hackeling (2020), a truly good collaboration should have these characteristics;

  • Aligning on desired results: 

  • Designating clear ownership: Good collaboration requires ownership and accountability. Challenging others and adapting: When it comes to developing something totally new, good collaboration means having honesty and willingness to change to make things better Good collaboration is, "when someone takes your ideas, tells you you're crazy or impossible, and then works with you to make them better," Manager Sean Xie.

  • Knowing the impact or end result you're working towards it.

  • Strengthening cross-departmental communication: Clear communication among the internal team is an obvious prerequisite for good collaboration, but strengthening your cross-departmental communication is also critical.

  • Maintaining a sustainable pace

  • Mutual listening and risk-taking

  • Ensuring opinions and skillsets are valued

  • Building a regular communication cadence

  • Empowering high quality work, faster: Good collaboration should make work easier for individuals, instead of adding to your teams' plates or causing overlap or overhead on tasks.

Community engagement and Team Science

There is a need for team science to promote better collaborative relationships to address community problems which are usually wicked problems. Wicked problems were characterized as complex, demanding multiple issues, marked by high uncertainty and ambiguous solutions. These kinds of problems can be considered grand societal challenges requiring collaborative solutions of cross-disciplinary teams. There are four relevant categories of integration needed to determine how teams share information and jointly tackle problems at hand. These degrees of integration were progressively divided into four categories:

Uni-disciplinary: This integration exists within a single sector, with similar methodology and conceptual approaches. The teams and their members collectively work on common problems.

Multi-disciplinary: Diverse sector/disciplines independently make their own decisions and bring it to the multidisciplinary table for discussion and decision-making. These interdependently made decisions are additive contributions to a problem at hand.

Inter-disciplinary: This degree of integration develops synergies beyond additive contributions by merging different methods and perspectives from two or more disciplines in a cohesive manner.

Trans-disciplinary: In this degree of integration, boundaries are blurred and transcended.

Events Relating to the Qualitative Research and Community Engagement Workshops @ CMU Libraries


CMU Libraries is committed to helping members of our community become data experts. To that end, CMU is offering public facing workshops that discuss Qualitative Research, Coding, and Community Engagement best practices.

The following workshops are a part of a broader series on using data. Please follow the links to register for the events. 

Upcoming Event: March 21st, 2024 (12:00pm -1:00 pm)

  • Community Engagement and Collaboration Event 

    Join us for an event to improve, build on and expand the connections between Carnegie Mellon University resources and the Pittsburgh community. CMU resources such as the Libraries and Sustainability Initiative can be leveraged by users not affiliated with the university, but barriers can prevent them from fully engaging.

    The conversation features representatives from CMU departments and local organizations about the community engagement efforts currently underway at CMU and opportunities to improve upon them. Speakers will highlight current and ongoing projects and share resources to support future collaboration.

    Event Moderators:

  • Taiwo Lasisi, CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow in Community Data Literacy, Carnegie Mellon University Libraries

  • Emma Slayton, Data Curation, Visualization, & GIS Specialist, Carnegie Mellon University Libraries


  • Nicky Agate, Associate Dean for Academic Engagement, Carnegie Mellon University Libraries

  • Chelsea Cohen, The University’s Executive fellow for community engagement, Carnegie Mellon University

  • Sarah Ceurvorst, Academic Pathways Manager, Program Director, LEAP (Leadership, Excellence, Access, Persistence) Carnegie Mellon University

  • Julia Poeppibg, Associate Director of Partnership Development, Information Systems, Carnegie Mellon University 

  • Scott Wolovich, Director of New Sun Rising, Pittsburgh 


Additional workshops will be forthcoming. Watch this space for updates. 

Workshop Organizer

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Taiwo Lasisi
Wean Hall WEH 4418
Carnegie Mellon University Libraries
(414) 268-7258 | (484) 908- 5890