Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group


First Advisor

Matthew Hartley


This study examines the ways in which comprehensive universities seek to contribute to and engage with their cities and regions. By studying three regional comprehensive universities, it uncovers the ways in which leaders and others on campus envision the role of the university in contributing to the community and the strategies put in place to animate this vision. The general regional contributions of these comprehensive universities can be delineated into four overlapping areas: the education of students in line with regional needs; engaging the intellectual resources of the university with the community; regional development; and outreach, volunteering, and fixed spending. Conceptions of the university's role in two of the universities align with a notion of regional stewardship, as their engagement with the region is in a broad array of areas and allows the community to set priorities for the university's contributions. The role of the other university is envisioned more narrowly on contributing to the region through the education of its students. The regional stewardship mission offers some advantages, as it legitimizes the work of more individuals on campus and has the potential to offer synergistic and complementary gains.