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Research Articles

Vol. 13 No. 4

The Need Is Now: University Engagement in Regional Economic Development

  • Nancy E. Franklin
January 13, 2010


At a time when many regions are grappling with economic challenges and universities are struggling to demonstrate their public value, the question of how regions and universities might partner effectively begs to be addressed. This qualitative case study examines the engagement of six land-grant institutions in regions not proximate to their campuses. The engagement activities associated with these partnerships center on economic and community development. Characterizations of the university-regional partnerships studied are provided. The institutional perspectives of these six university pioneers in “distributed regional engagement” are also presented. The article includes notable strengths of each engagement approach that commend it to others as a model and concludes with several meta-lessons gleaned from the research.