The ITGA Certificate Program in Town-Gown Relations

A collaborative relationship between the community (town) and the local college or university (gown) contributes to an overall quality of life for everyone involved. However, issues such as local budget cuts, off-campus student conduct, and campus expansions too often cause strained relations between town and gown.

Initiating a dialogue and opening up the lines of communication between the campus and its neighbors can foster a positive relationship based on a common understanding of the role that each plays—or can play—to promote a healthy and thriving community.

The International Town and Gown Association (ITGA) brings its industry experience in the world of town-gown relations to a new, comprehensive, online six-week certification program. Designed for busy university professionals, community leaders, city officials and their staff members, and students, this program uses real-world experiences to inform practical solutions. The modules are led by experts who have specialized for decades in addressing the social, cultural, physical, and economic situations unique to communities that are also home to college and university campuses.


The purpose of this program is twofold:

  • To help all stakeholders understand and address complex challenges and processes associated with city and university relationships; and
  • To identify, foster, and promote the skills necessary for the effective development of collaborative partnerships and alliances throughout college towns.

The program is designed for:

  • University/college professionals
  • City/county officials, and staff
  • Community leaders
  • Undergraduate and graduate students interested in town-gown relations, public service, political science, and other fields


  • Develop a deeper understanding of the issues that strain town-gown relationships so they can be resolved.
  • Learn to identify collaborative partnerships and practical solutions that benefit all “sides” of town-gown issues.
  • Network with and learn from counterparts in other communities around the country that are working to improve town-gown relations.
  • Cultivate professional excellence and opportunities for career advancement.

Program Structure

  • All modules are taught online
  • Students will attend an orientation prior to the beginning of the program.
  • Students complete the program in six weeks.
  • Each module meets two times per week for two-hour live evening sessions.
  • The six modules focus on the practice of town-gown relations:
    • Three required core modules are taken in the first half of the program provide a solid framework for the town/gown discussion.
    • Three elective modules are taken in the second half of the program allow you to customize your experience for maximum personal benefit.
  • Each module is recorded for those who cannot attend live sessions.
  • Students must pass a final exam to receive the certificate.

Final Exam

The Capstone Project is a formative assessment that demonstrates the knowledge and skills of students completing the certificate. At the end of the six-week program, the Capstone Project requires students to develop a community-based, collaborative strategic plan that meaningfully synthesizes, evaluates, analyzes, and applies one of the topics in the certificate program's modules. 
Students select a module topic and integrate it into the strategic plan, applying relevant content from materials provided in the collaborative model of strategic planning (discussed in Introduction to Town-Gown 101 – Boot Camp). Topic ideas must first be approved by ITGA Executive Director Beth Bagwell, and the final project must be submitted within two weeks after completion of the program.