I learned a new term when researching topics for this month – Stewardship of Place. As explained by the Association of American State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), it’s the idea that we have a responsibility to collaborate with community stakeholders in the places we are located to maximize shared opportunities and jointly address critical issues.
State colleges and universities are closely linked to their communities. Issues such as economic development, education reform, and environmental protection are often addressed through local and regional partnerships. AASCU says that this type of public engagement:
- Has meaning and value for an institution’s neighbors
- Is interactive, with institutions serving as both learners and teachers
- Is mutually beneficial
- Is integrated into all levels of the institution
The AASCU report describes a range of methods for implementing this kind of community engagement. The key point is that it needs to be an integral part of the organization – and recognized as part of its core values.
As campus leaders, many of us have the opportunity to participate in strategy conversations at the institutional, departmental, and unit level. What kinds of community engagement are important in those conversations? How can we support our colleges and universities in being stewards of place?
Dee Anne Bonebright
AASCU (Assn. of American State Colleges and Universities) – Stepping Forward as Stewards of Place
Public Purpose – Stewardship in an Era of Constraint