Urban-Serving Research Universities: Institutions for the Public Good

  • Desiree D. Zerquera University of San Francisco
Keywords: higher education, community engagement, public good, urban universities, access, diversity


This manuscript seeks to situate access to higher education as part of the public good of universities, and connect that specifically to the mission of institutions that are charged with carrying this out more than others. One such institution—the Urban-Serving Research University (USRUs)—has a distinct mission that emphasizes not just location within the urban context, but being composed of the city they inhabit. A key and significant part of the USRU mission is to provide access to urban and historically marginalized students in their regions, populations typically underserved by higher education. Further, this manuscript highlights the tensions inherent in this ascribed mission and the threats posed within the higher education environment. Centered within a U.S. context, comparisons to international urban contexts will be drawn to situate these institutions within the global perspective as well and present takeaways that may inform the work of the global community in thinking how to better educate their diverse urban populations. Considerations for research, policy, and practice are posed to challenge the global community to consider ways to better uphold and preserve the significant role of USRUs in providing opportunity.

Author Biography

Desiree D. Zerquera, University of San Francisco
Assistant Professor
Department of Leadership Studies, School of Education
How to Cite
Zerquera, D. D. (2016). Urban-Serving Research Universities: Institutions for the Public Good. Higher Learning Research Communications, 6(2), 137-154. https://doi.org/10.18870/hlrc.v6i2.320