In partnership with the Kettering Foundation, the National Forum is exploring the relationship between universities and their surrounding communities as a collaboration in increasing educational access and attainment. This project is an extension of the National Forum’s continuing work with the HOPE Village Initiative (HVI). In our work with Focus: HOPE, as we seek to understand and strengthen educational attainment in HOPE Village, we recognize that there are broader implications to consider how universities and communities influence one another and how they choose to engage in shared work. This recognition challenged us to understand the complexities inherent in university-community partnerships. Utilizing a joint research team of community researchers and university researchers, the HVI project presents an ideal opportunity to explore these complexities. Through pre and post surveys, work journals, follow up interviews, and focus groups, this project will examine researchers’ growth and learning, the team’s group process in working towards shared goals, and potential models for healthy university-community partnerships.