Faculty Research at Morehead State University


Regional Stewardship and the Redefinition of Higher Education

Document Type


Publication Date



Inspired by the late John Gardner, in May 2000 the Alliance for Regional Stewardship (ARS) was formed as a “peer-to-peer network of regional leaders working across boundaries to solve tough community problems.”1 According to the ARS, regional stewardship is the leadership needed to address the complex problems of our time. Soon after the formation of the ARS, the Kellogg Commission on the Future of State Universities and Land Grant colleges published Returning to Our Roots: The Engaged Institution, which describes both the challenge of public engagement and the ways in which higher education must mobilize to respond.2 In May 2002, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASC&U) published Stepping Forward as Stewards of Place, a “practical and strategic guide for state colleges and university leaders who want to more deeply embed public engagement in the fabric of their institution at the campus, college and departmental levels.”3 In January 2006, ARS, AASC&U, and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) published Making Place Matter: Tools and Insights for Universities Called to Regional Stewardship “to provide tools and practical insights to regional and campus leaders as they seek to build and deepen their relationship to create more vital and viable places.”4 According to these institutions and agencies, colleges and universities of all kinds across the nation should transform themselves into regional steward.