University Economic Development Association


Archway Partnership

Award Category: Place
Project Site: Archway Partnership
Submitted By: University of Georgia
Contact: Robert E. Gordon, Jr., J.D. , 706.542.3268


The Archway Partnership connects communities with higher education resources to address community identified needs. As a unit of Public Service and Outreach at the University of Georgia (UGA), the Archway Partnership was created to enhance UGA’s land-grant mission of teaching, research, and service while addressing critical self-identified community issues in geographically dispersed locations. Founded on the principles of collaboration and knowledge-based decision making, the Archway Partnership empowers communities to address long-standing community and economic development needs.

In each community, a dedicated faculty member works locally with an executive committee of stakeholders to set priorities around complex identified needs and issues. As issues are identified, work groups comprised of interested community members are formed to create and implement a work plan that addresses the specific issues. Community projects have addressed infrastructure needs for growth and business recruitment, workforce development, leadership, tourism, downtown revitalization, and other economic development needs. The faculty member facilitates the work of the executive committee and issue work groups and connects them to appropriate higher education resources that can assist in addressing identified challenges.

By connecting communities with higher education resources, the Archway Partnership supports faculty research and enhances student instruction by providing real-world learning opportunities and directly linking faculty and students to priority community needs. Unlike any other model that exists in the higher education arena, the Archway Partnership has a sustained record of success. In its first community alone, for example, the efforts have contributed to an estimated $227 million economic impact over the past decade.