Considering the Anchor Mission Strategy within the Competing “Regimes” of Higher Education Community Engagement


  • Daniel Bergen Marquette University
  • Emily Sladek The Democracy Collaborative



markets, economy, regimes, engagement, anchor institutions


The concept of the anchor institution, and its subsequent mission, was first considered in the mid-1990s, a time during which the dominant academic culture of higher education was driven by the “public good regime.” The decades since have seen the emergence of the public-engagement knowledge regime, and the academic capitalist regime. This article views the anchor mission strategy through the shifting and competing “regimes” of higher education and considers questions that might arise due to these shifts. Anticipating and understanding these questions increase the self-awareness critical to authentic engagement, lower the risk of reifying historical dynamics of power, privilege, and oppression, and elevate the potential for success in advancing the anchor strategy.

Author Biographies

Daniel Bergen, Marquette University

Executive Director, Office of Community Engagement
PO Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53233

Dr. Bergen graduated from Marquette University in British Literature, with a focus on cognitive literary theory and the Romantic era. He is the founding, and executive director of the Office of Community Engagement at Marquette University where he is responsible for the promotion, support, and advancement of community engagement in research, teaching, and service. He is a member of the National Forum for Chief Engagement Officers, university co-representative for the Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative, member of the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Community Engagement Steering Committee, and member of the Near West Side Partners, a Milwaukee-based anchor mission collaborative between Marquette University, MillerCoors, Harley Davidson, Aurora Health Care, and Potawatomi Business Development Corporation.

Emily Sladek, The Democracy Collaborative

Manager of Higher Education Engagement
The Democracy Collaborative
1200 18th Street NW, Suite 1225
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 559-1473 x127 

Ms. Sladek is the Manager of Higher Education Engagement at the Democracy Collaborative. She leads the Collaborative's higher education programming and in partnership with the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities, manages the Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative that includes over 30 public and private universities and colleges from across North America. She earned a Master of Public Administration from The Evergreen State College with a focus on research and evaluation for academic bridge programs (TRiO) as well as the Gateways for Incarcerated Youth program, which provides education pathways to youth in the juvenile offender system. Previously, she interned with the Peace Economy Transitions program at the Institute of Policy Studies identifying best practices in community-led economic development in converting the defense industry to civilian uses.