, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 139-157
Date: 17 Jul 2010

The engaged university

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Abstract

Universities play a unique role in society, providing a community of experimentation and innovation. Even so, leaders around the world have had to push for university primacy to retain competitiveness in the global economy. This paper examines efforts taken by universities in the United States to evaluate their contribution to economic development. An emerging role for universities is one of active neighborhood involvement, in which they are engaged in projects with local communities. These projects include providing assistance to local firms and policy advice to state and local government, and getting involved in community outreach. In this role and in an unprecedented manner, universities are engaging on a wide range of topics with local communities, using these communities as labs to test new ideas and find better ways to achieve social and economic goals. This is precisely why it is important to consider the larger role of universities’ in economic and social development.