Report Proposes Ways to Measure Colleges’ Impact on Communities

Andy Thomason

Universities need better ways to measure their impact on surrounding communities, according to a new report.

“The Anchor Dashboard: Aligning Institutional Practice to Meet Low-Income Community Needs,” released on Tuesday by the Democracy Collaborative, a research center at the University of Maryland at College Park, seeks to provide the basis for such a methodology in the form of a broad set of goals for communities and indicators of progress toward those goals.

The report’s “dashboard” consists of 12 desired societal outcomes that “anchor” institutions like universities can work toward­, including affordable housing, educated young people, and a healthy environment. The report also offers specific ways to measure the progress being made toward each goal. For example, the amount of money an anchor institution spends on helping local residents file their income taxes can serve as an indicator for the goal of financially secure households. [...]

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