Chancellor Drale Takes Part in Brookings Panel Discussing Leveraging Public Universities to Promote Economic Development

UA Little Rock Chancellor Drale has taken part in a panel discussion at Brookings in Washington, D.C. that brought together leaders in higher education and nonprofit policy experts to discuss the role that regional public universities play in promoting economic development for disadvantaged communities.

In 2021, Brookings, an American research group founded in 1916, published the report, “Supporting distressed communities by strengthening regional public universities: A federal policy proposal,” which proposed federal grants of up to $50 million to regional public universities situated in low-income and economically distressed areas, with the aim of aiding those institutions’ community and economic development missions. Brookings identified at least 140 institutions that could be eligible for these grants, spread across 34 different states and Puerto Rico.

The event, “Leveraging Regional Public Universities to Promote Place-based Economic Development,” took place June 28 at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center. The event brought together congressional staff, higher education practitioners, and nonprofit policy experts who discussed how Congressional policy can support the mission of regional public universities to build economic development in low-income areas.

The panel included Dr. Drale, Al Delia, vice president of regional development and engagement at Frostburg State University, Dr. Debasish Dutta, chancellor of University of Flint-Michigan, and Dr. Andrew Koricich, executive director of the Alliance for Research on Regional Colleges and associate professor at Appalachian State University. Mark Muro, senior fellow at Brookings Metro, gave the opening remarks, and Robert Maxim, senior research associate at Brookings Metro, moderated the panel discussion.

Dr. Drale discussed how UA Little Rock supports the Little Rock and the Central Arkansas area as well as how funding challenges over the last decade has affected how UA Little Rock carries out its mission. She also talked about how a federal investment of $50 million could help bolster the community and economic development in Arkansas.

Following the panel, university representatives, congressional staff, nonprofit policy experts, and other stakeholders took part in an open discussion. Joni Lee, vice chancellor for university affairs, participated in the discussion.

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