ABSTRACT There are several features that are regarded as drivers of regional development. Regional development in this sense refers to the economic and social advancements of a specific geographical location. One of the major drivers or engines of regional development is higher education. Firstly, higher education contributes to human capital development. One of the major goals of education is the impartment of knowledge, skills and attitudes to learners. Secondly, higher education is also known to be a driver of social development. Finally, higher education creates environmental awareness. In order to foster regional development, there is a need for higher education institutions to form close collaborations with firms, industries and other stakeholders in their surrounding communities and regions. This study sought to investigate how Telemark University College (TUC) was engaging in the regional development of Telemark, Norway. To do so, the study specifically investigated four issues: (i) human capital development; (ii) strengthening knowledge and innovation capabilities; (iii) responding to socio-economic, cultural and environmental challenges; and (iv) internal and external bottlenecks constraining the regional role of TUC. The study employed the use of a qualitative research strategy, using case study principles. The data was elicited from three sources: interviews with respondents, analysis of documents and the internet. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with 13 respondents from TUC, comprising deans, senior administrators, senior researchers, external actors and students. The data collected during the interviews, documents and the internet were subsequently analysed under each study question within the context of the literature review and the analytical framework adapted from a previous OECD (2007a) study. The results suggest that there is a high expectation from Norway s national higher education policy and regional authorities for TUC to engage in regional development of the Telemark region. Similarly, TUC s institutional policies seem to depict its own role in regional development as a producer of human resource for regional and national development, as well as a provider of community services. The findings further suggest that TUC is becoming relevant through its predominant teaching and limited research functions, which work together to form a third role or community service. However, there is weak collaboration between TUC and firms and industries within the Telemark region.