Universities are often viewed as economic assets, hiring people, and contributing to local economies. We believe the more important role of universities is as engaged research and educational partners, addressing the challenges communities face and helping to improve community life.
Our view (supported through examples at the University of Minnesota and our partner institutions) is that community-university relationships need to be systematic, driven institutionally, meaningful, and intentional. They need to represent a long-term, sustainable commitment to partnership. To produce research that benefits society, universities must adopt institution-wide philosophies that embrace public engagement.
Engaged research is important. It can be the face of the research university in the community and can help those outside universities understand better the importance of supporting and sustaining their universities.