Sean Creighton
by Sean Creighton
Thu Dec 10th 2009 at 11:42am UTC

Mighty Edu


Mighty Edu: Higher Education’s Transformation of Economy, Community, and Life… that’s the book I want to read. Actually, that’s the book I want to write. Okay, it’s a tad lofty. Yet, appropriately so, because what higher ed does is lift up people and place. It is the hub of talent attraction and production. Its economic impact runs deep, and is anchored: campuses do not relocate for better tax incentives. An Appleseed study showed that three research universities in Ohio alone accounted for a total economic impact of over $6 billion (Appleseed Inc., 2006).

A campus is a continuous flow of creativity, research, and social capital, channeling vibrancy into communities and with a global reach. And, yes, too, higher ed provides a life-changing scene for students and employees. In addition to fostering an inspirational living and learning environment and launching graduates into the workforce, college is where numerous people have met their spouse(s). While the numbers have decreased because people are marrying later nowadays, college is still the place where over 25 percent of men meet their wife (National Fatherhood Initiative, 2005).

I could go on and on like a proud papa. This Creative Class Exchange seems like a perfect space to explore The Mighty Edu together, and get that book written! What are some thoughts, stories, chapters you’d like to add regarding higher ed’s influence in these core areas or other areas?

5 Responses to “Mighty Edu”

  1. Wendy Says:

    One shift I’ve noticed in Canada is toward a bigger “downtown” presence for universities. Toronto has always had the U of T adjacent to the financial core, but I’ve now detected much more “reaching out” toward the non-academic sectors just a few blocks away.

    Vancouver’s two big universities have added satellite campuses downtown — this allows much more mingling between the “two solitudes” of academics and non. There’s a long way to go, and the academic community, I think, needs to welcome more input and feedback from the non-academic sectors (right now it’s more one-way of academic speakers reaching a non-academic audience, but speaking “at” them). But it’s a start.

    Do you see a trend toward this in the US?

  2. CR Says:

    But is the nature of higher education changing? With advances in technology will students need to go to campus to take classes? Will that impact the need for a large physical campus?

  3. Paul Cornies Says:

    In Windsor Ontario St. Clair College now has a presence downtown in the city core. Their creative arts program is there and it is providing some much needed revitalization.

    I see with Wendy hubs or satellite campuses springing up in districts and community areas. Of course, the ubiquitous computer will tie them altogether and with the world.

  4. Campus Entrepreneurship Says:

    Sean — sounds like a great book. As you may or may not remember, I am investigating the attributes of the ‘modern’ US research university as part of my dissertation. Would love to collaborate on this project….

    All — yes, i think the movement to downtown cores is a pretty clear trend, and as pointed out, many universities/colleges are use satellite campuses to extend their reach. I think it is pure economics — that is where the ‘customers’ are (urban center); especially in an age of exec ed, continuing ed, etc..

  5. Sean Creighton Says:

    Everyone, thanks for the replies and adding to the convo. David, for sure, let’s chat. I think the comments by all have already suggested a few more chapters, regarding the impact of online delivery on access and opportunity (lfe section) and the trend toward growing the urban presence (economic section). Both points address community to a degree as well – formation of the “online learning community” and the results of “campus-community partnerships” when a campus expands downtown. I’m interested, as well, in the economic impact that a large student housing population has on a downtown. While a transitory group, you would see campus housing expansion as a welcomed asset in cities that are struggling to keep their younger population and, essentially, talent.