White Paper Released: Restoring the Public Purpose of America’s Urban Universities

Monday, June 24, 2024

The Netter Center is pleased to share Restoring the Public Purpose of America's Urban Universities, produced with support from the Teagle Foundation. 

The white paper contends that higher education in general needs to dramatically increase its contributions to the public good. Its specific focus, however, is on urban colleges and universities working together with their neighbors to help radically reduce the problems facing America’s urban communities.

The paper includes eight case studies written by colleagues at Augsburg University; Columbia University’s Freedom and Citizenship Program; De Anza College’s Vasconcellos Institute for Democracy in Action; Rutgers University-Newark; University at Buffalo Community Health Equity Research Institute; University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s urbanCORE; University of Pennsylvania’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships; and University of San Diego. The case studies demonstrate that higher education institutions can make meaningful contributions to education, research, and society through mutually beneficial university-community partnerships.

According to Andrew Delbanco, President of Teagle, “The Netter Center has produced a rich resource for institutions seeking to forge genuine partnerships of mutual learning with their local communities.”

Designed to encourage discussion and action on realizing the public purpose of urban colleges and universities, the white paper concludes with thoughts as to where we might go from here, with a particular emphasis on the role that foundations might play.