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Vol. 10 No. 2

Factors Influencing Civic Engagement at Australian and U.S. Research Universities: Two Illustrative Examples

November 10, 2010


The founding of the Australian system of higher education
closely parallels the creation of public postsecondary education
in the United States during the nineteenth century. Their
subsequent histories reflect a growing recognition of postsecondary
education’s capacity to shape the economic prospects
not only of individuals, but of entire nations. Less recognized
are the ways individual institutions (which collectively constitute
these systems) affect their local communities. In this article,
we briefly outline the economic impact of postsecondary education
in Australia and the United States and then describe how a
research university in each country, the University of Pennsylvania
in West Philadelphia and the University of Queensland, has
served as a key anchor institution for its local area. A variety of
factors are explored, including local context, funding sources,
university leadership, and institutional mission.