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Anchor Institutions

Vol. 17 No. 3

From Gates to Engagement: A Ten-Year Retrospective of Widener University’s Journey to Reclaim Its Soul and Fulfill Its Mission as a Leading Metropolitan University

June 18, 2013


In this reflective essay, we describe Widener University’s 10-year
transformation from a disengaged institution to an institution that
has a metropolitan-focused mission vested in civic leadership, community
engagement, and service-learning. We describe our journey to
embed an expansive civic frame that includes concrete practices of
pedagogy, institutional engagement, and community partnerships.
We discuss the rewards and challenges of engaging in long-term,
democratic, collaborative work, offering a unique insight about the
role of a private, mid-size university in anchor-based engagement.
We conclude that Widener’s strategy for achieving comprehensive
community and economic development is responsible