Members only report

This report is available to Insider Members. Become a member to get unlimited access to all of our special reports.

At a Glance

The drastic changes unfolding in society have majorly impacted and will continue to impact regional public universities. Job skills that are in high demand shift rapidly as new technologies change the nature of work and where positions are located. It’s become a platitude for college presidents to say they are educating students for jobs that have not yet been invented.

Leaders at these institutions face many challenges. They are attempting to meet lofty degree-attainment goals by focusing on the enrollment of part-time and older students. Teacher shortages, political issues and concerns about racism and sexism are all top of mind. And of course, both the national and regional economies continue to impact universities a decade after the Great Recession.

Regional public colleges and universities have long positioned themselves as the gateway to opportunity for the masses. Therefore, each must balance its responsibility to students against the demands of its employees, the needs of its region, the requirements of its state and the imperatives of the economy and American society.

Surviving and thriving requires both a nuanced understanding of sector-specific strategy and knowledge of the broader context. Specific strategies are addressed in the pages of this report, while considering the larger forces at play, so that leaders are prepared to make important choices to lead their institutions and regions into the future.


Download a free preview of the report  ››


Topics Include

  • The pressure regional public institutions face to simultaneously meet the needs of students, employees and their state, while responding to the economy and employers.
  • Case studies of institutions dealing with critical issues such as system stress, governance, state coordination, politics and rural and urban divides.
  • Structures leaders can put in place to leverage resources, create strong partnerships and bolster student success.
  • Best practices and guiding principles from experts to help leaders prepare their institutions for the future.


Purchase Now


Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Introduction: The More Things Change…

What Are Regional Public Universities?

The State of the Regional Public

       Snapshot: Illinois African American Enrollment

Themes That Will Define Regional Public Universities

Tomorrow’s Regional Public University

       Snapshot: Becoming a Hispanic-Serving Institution

       Snapshot: Competing for Adult Learners Online

       Snapshot: Taking Control of a Local School District

       Snapshot: Competing With Flagships for Funding


       Snapshot: Tuition Borders Blur

       Snapshot: Conflict Over Mission in North Carolina

       Snapshot: Pennsylvania’s State System Tries to Pivot

Best Practices

Conclusion: Will They Stay the Same?

Quoted Sources

Additional Reading

About the Author

About the Author: Rick Seltzer, reporter, covers business and management for Inside Higher Ed. He joined the publication in 2016 after working as a money and general-assignment reporter for The Baltimore Business Journal. Previously, he was a business reporter for The Bloomington Herald-Times, and he covered small business and health care for the Central New York Business Journal. Rick, a native of south central Pennsylvania, started his career as a local beat reporter for The Harrisburg Patriot-News. He graduated from Syracuse University in 2008 after interning at the Patriot-News and The Syracuse Post-Standard.


Number of Pages: 122 (3.6MB PDF)


Date Released: July 8, 2019


ISBN (print edition): 978-1-7327300-2-1


Group Orders: For information on purchasing multiple copies at a bulk discount, please email

Special reports are intended for use solely by the purchaser and are watermarked accordingly.

Support: Please email with questions regarding the report or your order.