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New Research Alliance Spotlights Regional Public Colleges

Rural, regional colleges are economic and cultural engines for the communities they serve. But these institutions receive little public attention for their contributions and are often only noticed when they are financially or operationally challenged, said Kevin McClure, an associate professor of higher education at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

“Research on these colleges has often lagged compared to other types of institutions. Because of the dearth of information and the lack of good research out there, a fair amount of disinformation has proliferated,” McClure said. “The result has often been a deficit-based way of thinking about these institutions -- one that becomes preoccupied with their challenges and fails to appreciate their many contributions.”

McClure has studied regional colleges for nearly a decade. So have Cecilia Orphan at the University of Denver, Alisa Hicklin Fryar at the University of Oklahoma and Andrew Koricich at Appalachian State University. Together, the four professors direct the Alliance for Research on Regional Colleges, a brand-new research hub that aims to highlight the importance of regional public institutions to students and communities.

Read more at Inside Higher Ed here.


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