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Tuesday, October 10 • 1:45pm - 2:30pm
Anchored in Community: Building an Institutional Approach to Regional Prosperity (45 mins)

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A university engagement agenda for regional prosperity requires that an institution pursue responsive, cross-sector collaboration with actors at many levels to achieve the complementarity and scale necessary to register progress toward shared community, economic and workforce development objectives. Yet to contribute in a way that is both generative and sustaining, a university’s ability to adapt its own organizational behavior and internal processes are equally important to its external endeavors. When the two processes impel one another, both organizational learning and sensemaking can result (Kezar, 2013).

Metropolitan State University has long pursued community partnerships to support experiential learning, teaching and scholarship, but in recent years it has sought to understand and more fully embrace the identity and responsibilities of an anchor institution. Guided by the essential characteristics of successful regional engagement named in AASCU’s Stepping Forward as Stewards of Place (2002), the university has employed strategies that are place-based, mutually beneficial, interactive and integrated. During this process, internal misalignments and other errors in the environment have been detected and addressed producing organizational learning, while engagement with externally-situated actors and expertise has facilitated new perspectives that challenge underlying assumptions and values to fuel organizational sense-making.

In this interactive workshop session, participants will consider the streams of engagement that are common to state comprehensive universities’ regional prosperity efforts and how their confluence can be harnessed to expand a civic ethos into spaces and processes not traditionally associated with a university’s community engagement activity.


Jodi Bantley

Associate Director, Civic & Community Partnerships, ALN-Metropolitan State University
avatar for Greg Mellas

Greg Mellas

Director, Institute for Community Engagement and Scholarship, Metropolitan State University
Greg Mellas has 20 years of experience working in community engagement, outreach and development in domestic and international settings. As director of Metropolitan State University’s Institute for Community Engagement and Scholarship, Greg leads the university’s civic and community-engagement... Read More →

Tuesday October 10, 2017 1:45pm - 2:30pm MDT
Colorado I