Richard Guarasci: How Colleges Can Spark Economic and Community Development

August 24, 2012

In my last post, I discussed what I, and many of my colleagues, consider the growing crisis in higher education and the stiff challenges that those of us in America’s colleges and universities now face. It is, to me, a crisis that threatens the legitimacy and the political economy of higher education as we have known it for more than a century in this nation. But, amidst of all the gloomy stories that continue to be reported about higher education, I think there is room for hope and even optimism.

Universities can help to demonstrate their relevance to an ever more skeptical public by ramping up civic engagement programs within their local communities and by creating specific partnerships. And, these partnerships are exactly what many communities need to help them grow and thrive amid tough economic times.

This is a new moment in America: we have the opportunity to replace the usual town-gown tensions with a relationship that can benefit all.

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