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Creating Judicial-Academic Partnerships: An Efficient Way to Leverage Resources for Evaluation

NCJ Number
Alicia Summers, Ph.D.; Corey S. Shdaimah, LL.M., Ph.D.
Date Published
September 2010
22 pages
This publication provides guidance in the development and implementation of judicial-academic partnerships as an effective way to leverage resources for conducting evaluations of court programs and procedures.
Independent assessments (evaluations) are critical in identifying promising court programs and practices that can be effectively replicated across jurisdictions. Evaluations can also determine how particular court programs are affecting families and children involved in and impacted by court policies and practices. Evaluations may also be a requirement for justifying government funding for particular programs. Collaboration between courts and academic institutions in conducting court evaluations consists of "a mutually beneficial and well-defined relationship entered into by two or more organizations to achieve common goals." Successful collaborations benefit all parties, have clearly defined relationship expectations, and have a mission to achieve a common goal. The technical assistance offered in this publication consists of detailed steps for forming a judicial-academic partnership for conducting a cost-effective evaluation. Preparatory steps for such a partnership consist of engaging in preliminary outreach; learning and understanding; setting a common research agenda; developing and sustaining ongoing working relationships; assessing available resources; considering ethnical obligations; and creating a strategic plan. The rationale and implementation of each of these tasks is discussed, with attention to their application in conducting court process and outcome evaluations. Another section of the publication identifies challenges likely to be faced in such a collaboration and it emphasizes that the most important tools for meeting any challenge are flexibility and open communication. A case study is presented of an effective judicial-academic partnership that involves the Baltimore City Model Court and the University of Maryland. 2 annotated resource publications