University Attraction

University Attraction Initiative

Ken Parker, EdD
Education Consultant

Victoria Conner
Strategic Vitality LLC


The University Attraction Initiative was launched to:

• improve access to university-level education opportunities for northern Santa Barbara County residents

• ensure a regional pool of university talent for northern Santa Barbara County employers

• stimulate regional economic development and inspire area students

Download: University Attraction Overview

Past Activities

Completion/distribution of University Attraction study (Link)

Approach was made to California Lutheran University (CLU) which was positively received. CLU began in Santa Maria a masters program in Education Leadership. University President introduced CLU to community members and began a dialogue with EconAlliance. EconAlliance hosted a CLU VIP introducing CLU visitors to Allan Hancock College administrators, industry leaders. CLU has expanded its public radio station (KCLU) to Santa Maria, laying the groundwork for more community visibility. A second cohort of CLU Education Leadership students has begun the program, with the expectation for an Education Leadership doctoral program to be begun next.

Orcutt Academy and Santa Maria High School graduating senior student surveys were designed and administered, with additional research performed on the number of students in the pool of community college students potentially interested in university.

EconAlliance also designed (in cooperation with Allan Hancock College) and implemented a target industry employer education needs survey to determine major degree and discipline needs of key employers. This research and survey information is part of a marketing piece to be developed for university attraction across the region.

Discussions with various landowners regarding potential land donations have taken place.

Discussion of survey and research support for other university attraction efforts in the region has also taken place.

Current and Near-Term Activities