A growing number of universities are dedicating resources to support their surrounding communities, but much potential for advancement remains. A university’s mission as an “anchor institution,” as defined by the authors, is to consciously and strategically apply the institution’s long-term, place-based economic power, in combination with its human and intellectual resources, to better the welfare of the community in which it resides. Drawing on ten diverse universities as case studies, this eye-opening book explores practices and strategies that can be employed to improve conditions in low-income communities and emphasizes the critical roles of university leaders, philanthropy, and policy in this process. To date the most comprehensive account of the range of roles played by universities as anchors in their communities, The Road Half Traveled provides a forward-thinking perspective on new horizons in university and community partnership.
"Partnerships between universities and communities generate local investment by helping entrepreneurs turn academic ideas into commercial inventions, pushing city planners to map green spaces, and encouraging businesses to promote sustainable building practices. Yet, challenges remain to ensure underserved communities benefit from truly inclusive local economic development. The Road Half Traveled outlines how to serve those needs and spur universities to address the challenges of the low-income communities surrounding them."
—U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
"Because universities rarely relocate, their fortunes are closely tied to the cities and neighborhoods where they are based. By focusing their economic power locally—particularly their procurement, hiring, and investment practices—institutions of higher education can help move the needle on such vital urban issues as job creation, poverty reduction, and providing economic opportunity for low-income residents. For those committed to the revitalization of our nation’s great urban places, The Road Half Traveled will prove an invaluable resource."
—Ben Hecht, President and CEO, Living Cities
"In an “evidence-based world” where policy makers want information before they act, this study will be influential—offering a careful, comprehensive and deeply realized assessment of the place-based, institutional importance of universities to urban change and development. For university leaders and urbanists, as well as policy makers, this study is essential reading."—David Perry, Associate Chancellor, Great Cities Commitment, and Professor, Great Cities Institute, University of Illinois–Chicago
"Complete with illustrative best practices, principles and guidelines for implementation, and keys for assessing progress, this report is a one-of-a-kind compendium of what works and how to move the dial toward comprehensive community revitalization. For more than a decade, I feel like I’ve lived this comprehensive report on university engagement. From Columbus to Milwaukee to Cincinnati, I have had the privilege of serving at campuses that truly embrace the reciprocal benefits of engagement and the responsibilities of anchor institutions to facilitate, lead, or convene key stakeholders in community revitalization. Now in New York, I see no higher calling than to steadily deepen the anchor of the State University of New York in communities across the state. The Road Half Traveled will be our roadmap."
—Nancy L. Zimpher, Chancellor, State University of New York (SUNY)