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Research Articles

Vol. 27 No. 4

The Value of Community: Stakeholder Perspectives at an Urban-Serving Research University

  • Catherine Pressimone Beckowski
  • Jodi Levine Laufgraben
May 13, 2022


Urban-serving research universities (USRUs) address issues of access, community engagement, and development within urban areas, but internal and external forces complicate their place-based missions. By embracing contradictions within stakeholder viewpoints, strategic planning can foster fruitful, institutionalized engagement. This mixed-methods study analyzed responses to a core values survey that was disseminated to stakeholders at a USRU to explore the question “What do the ratings of and comments about the community-minded value reveal about possible tensions and opportunities in how stakeholders describe a USRU’s fulfillment of its community-minded value?” Through stakeholder and paradox theory, we examined how stakeholder perspectives uncover tensions and opportunities related to the community-minded value. Whereas stakeholder theory emphasized the importance of valuing the interests of all stakeholders, paradox theory illustrated how coexisting-but-divergent perspectives on defining, approaching, and engaging community could help to advance community engagement goals.