News Release from AASCU


Contact: Jennifer Walpole (202) 478-4665


Washington, D.C.—Today, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) released Operationalizing Stewards of Place: Implementing Regional Engagement and Economic Development Strategies. This new publication—the third monograph in the association’s Stewards of Place series—offers colleges and universities specific details and “how-to” steps, drawn from multiple institutions’ initiatives, to foster community engagement and support economic development efforts. This monograph was developed under the leadership of AASCU’s Grants Resource Center (GRC), which supports campus sponsored program offices that play an important role in regional economic development and community engagement.

The Stewardship monograph series began in 2002 with Stepping Forward as Stewards of Place, a publication that argued that the regional, comprehensive universities that form the AASCU membership have a distinctive role and relationship with their community and region. It suggested that AASCU institutions—because of their connections and relationships with their local community and region, the makeup of their student body, and their sense of identity and purpose—have a unique role as "Stewards of Place.” This new monograph, edited by Richard Dunfee and Ashish Vaidya, follows 2014’s Becoming a Steward of Place, which provided further assistance to institutional leadership to expand and deepen their relations with the local or regional community.

“The concept of stewardship of place is critical to the success not only of AASCU institutions, but also to the success of communities, regions and the nation. This publication continues AASCU’s efforts to help member campuses define, refine and shape the critical roles that they play in the landscape of higher education,” said Pollyanne Frantz, executive director of the Grants Resource Center.

Operationalizing Stewards of Place
highlights real-world case studies and best practices drawn from state colleges and universities. Beginning with a president’s perspective about regional engagement, this monograph addresses themes such as integrating faculty and student research activity and academic curricula with community priorities and workforce needs, and creating successful public-private partnerships. Also included is an international perspective on regional engagement and advice for developing metrics to capture an institution’s contributions to regional economic prosperity.

Operationalizing Stewards of Place is available for free on the AASCU and GRC websites; it can be viewed as an ebook or downloaded as a pdf here.


The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) is a Washington, D.C.-based higher education association of more than 400 public colleges, universities, and systems whose members share a learning- and teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations, and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development.