Archive for the ‘Universities’ Category

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Tue Oct 19th 2010 at 12:30pm UTC

Where the World’s Brains Are

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Research universities increasingly function as a key hub institution of the knowledge economy – from Stanford University’s role in Silicon Valley to MIT’s role in greater Boston’s Route 128 high-technology complex, from the University of Texas in Austin to the rise of the North Carolina Research Triangle, not to mention Carnegie Mellon’s role in Pittsburgh’s regeneration. But what are the world’s leading centers for university research?

To get at this, my MPI team and I used the recently released Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) to chart the locations of the world’s leading 500 research universities by the city and metro region where they are located. The map below, by the MPI’s Zara Matheson, shows the geography of academic research centers across the world.


Steven Pedigo
by Steven Pedigo
Tue May 4th 2010 at 4:20pm UTC

Hub of the Creative Plains

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

We are seeing a strong emphasis, greater than ever before, on the importance of quality of place. A community’s arts and culture offerings are a critical part of its identity and authenticity. For many communities, their local college or university serves as a central hub for cultural creativity.

As the third feature in our series, Creative Capstones, we interviewed Jo Moore, administrator of Presidential Lecture & Performance Series at Texas Tech University, to discuss Lubbock, Texas, and how the university is helping to grow and develop an authentic, unique arts scene on the Western Texas Plains.

Creative Class Group (CCG): Tell us about Lubbock. What makes it a special community?

Jo Moore: In a word, the people are what make Lubbock, Texas, a special place in which to live. I moved to the Lubbock area from Dallas, Texas, 17 years ago. From the reactions of my friends and colleagues, one would have thought I was moving to the desolate, uncultured, wild West. While the glitz of the Dallas cityscape, landscaped beauty of its manicured parks, and culinary significance is not as apparent in Lubbock, a natural raw beauty borne in the energy of the wind and splendor of the sunsets eclipse the manufactured glamour of the metroplex. There is an energy, an elemental quality to this region with its wide open spaces and endless blue sky that is unspoiled by high density living. The beauty of West Texas has to be seen to be believed.


Steven Pedigo
by Steven Pedigo
Mon Apr 19th 2010 at 9:07am UTC

Innovation + Design = MBI

Monday, April 19th, 2010

To keep up with the changing creative economy and its new demands, communities, organizations, and educational institutions have to develop and embrace new strategies to better train, educate, and prepare workers.

As the second feature in our series, Creative Capstones, we interviewed Michael G. Novak, CEO of  the School of Design in Monterrey, Mexico (CEDIM) to discuss how the school is developing new models to train future designers and innovators. CEDIM recently launched its Master of Business Innovation.

Creative Class Group (CCG): Describe CEDIM and its history.

Michael Novak: From its beginning in 1978, when CEDIM started as a School of Design in Monterrey, México, it was clear for their visionaries’ founders that design and innovation would play a relevant role in our future society. Today, CEDIM is recognized for its innovative educational model which integrates design and innovation as the competitive strategy for the business in the new global economy.


Sean Creighton
by Sean Creighton
Wed Feb 3rd 2010 at 12:01pm UTC

Cupid On Campus

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010


Seems appropriate with Valentine’s Day around the corner to ask: How many of you personally have or know people who have met their spouse, partner, wife, husband, significant other in college? This is certainly one way Mighty EDU transforms lives.

According to the National Marriage Survey, college is still the place where 25 percent of men and 15 percent of women meet their first spouse, a steep decline from 50 years ago but still impressive. And, these stats omit second marriages, faculty hook-ups, admin nuptials, and, not to forget, the occasional faculty and student knot-tying. When I look at my own closest friends, roughly 42 percent of them were connected via a primary (e.g. same college) or secondary (e.g. study abroad program) college experience.

Hmm, maybe it is time for single folk to forgo and enroll in a class to learn and be struck by Cupid’s arrow as they stroll across campus this lovely spring.

Sean Creighton
by Sean Creighton
Thu Jan 7th 2010 at 5:23pm UTC

Campus Builds Capacity to Absorb Its Own Innovation

Thursday, January 7th, 2010


In University and the Creative Economy, Richard Florida and colleagues build an economic development case around a region’s ability to capitalize on innovative technologies and research being produced at universities. Silicon Valley and Research Triangle are exemplary models. What if a region does not have this ability? Appropriately, they suggest a region work on developing the capacity to absorb university output through campus-industry partnerships. Otherwise, valuable intellectual property goes elsewhere. Or, worse off, and probably more common, it disappears into a black hole of uncommercialized ideas and patents.

Now, for regions that have universities but neither the current ability to absorb, nor the means to create a working capacity, is there an additional solution? Is it time for the universities to build their own infrastructure to absorb and commercialize their own creativity? Maybe this is the crossroads where higher education and economic development policy can tango?

How about new policies that substantially invest in universities absorbing their own innovative output when a region is not equipped? Incentivize the universities to transform economy by building infrastructure to commercialize the talent and academic ingenuity they harness. Maybe University Hospitals is a viable model in health care, but expand into other industry development aligned with a university’s output. Maybe we can learn from Chinese university-run businesses. Let’s equip universities, as my grandma used to say, with the whole “kit and caboodle” so a region can benefit.

What’s the risk in doing so?

Sean Creighton
by Sean Creighton
Tue Dec 22nd 2009 at 1:01pm UTC

Campus As Economic Engine

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Rusty wheel

Nowadays, you cannot talk about higher education without the conversation including economic development. Published economic impact studies indicate that campuses are major contributors to their economies. Look at these figures:

This week, the University of Dayton (UD) purchased NCR Corp.’s former world headquarters for $18 million. The location will house the university’s world-class research institute and provide space to work on projects that will stimulate commercialization, business growth, and local job creation. In a region that has endured substantial job loss, UD continues to be a vital economic engine and key contributor to the economic future of Dayton.

While these examples demonstrate major economic contributions by campuses, do they impact economic development policy for a region, state, or nation? Do such stories and economic studies influence policymakers to direct new investment in, to take David Miller’s term, campus entrepreneurship? If you have examples, please share.

Happy Holidays!

David Miller
by David Miller
Wed Dec 16th 2009 at 10:52am UTC

Showdown on Taxing Higher Education in Pittsburgh

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009


An intense debate has gripped Pittsburgh and the higher education universe since Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced a plan to tax tuition at colleges and universities located in the city. The Mayor is looking to use the schools in a small way to attack a large budget deficit and argues that the tax is such a small part of a family’s cost for higher education that it won’t affect anything (the old “tax” the rich idea – “it is so small it won’t affect them”).

The tax proposal would really hit elite research universities such as Carnegie Mellon and U of Pittsburgh with their higher tuition rates. But is the Mayor attacking the goose that lays the golden eggs? Pittsburgh’s higher education cluster is a strength  that has anchored the city for decades and helped prevent it from becoming Detroit. Why not tax the Steelers?

Today (December 16) is the vote, and according to some commentators, early reports of easy passage may be untrue. The universities have protested mightily and it appears they may be changing some minds.

Higher education plays a central role in America’s entrepreneurial and innovative strength, sustained economic growth, and increasing standards of living. The sector is undergoing great stress right now and the events and policies in leading centers such as Pittsburgh and California (where some old school protesting of tuition hikes are taking place) will tell us a great deal about what is to come. Where do you think this is all going?

Sean Creighton
by Sean Creighton
Mon Dec 14th 2009 at 9:02pm UTC

Does Higher Ed Benefit In a Recession?

Monday, December 14th, 2009


Because enrollment is trending upward across the country, especially with community colleges seeing double-digit growth in many states, this news becomes fodder to perpetuate a belief that “higher education benefits in a recession.” Is that the real story?

Even in states that have made higher ed a priority, funding for public colleges and universities is inevitably cut or, in the best case scenario, held flat during a serious economic downturn. And, certainly, there are no new public dollars to invest in a recession. How is this a benefit to higher ed? Furthermore, private institutions have seen their endowments drop over 20 percent on average. Harvard saw a whopping 30 percent decline in its endowment, which translates to a loss of tens of billions of dollars. Benefit?

So, what’s the story then? “People benefit from higher education in a recession.” Higher ed is the central place people turn to in an effort to invest in their life, personally and professionally, and transform their future. Fortunately, colleges make adjustments to preserve academic integrity during a recession, accommodating the numerous people who are making the investment in their education at this time.

Do you think this particular enrollment boom is a decade in the making and indicates a massive transition from a manufacturing job-based economy to a creative economy?

Michael Wells
by Michael Wells
Tue Dec 1st 2009 at 4:06pm UTC

Bragging Rights in Academia

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

School and study on a laptop

This Thursday, the University of Oregon and Oregon State will play the “Civil War” game with the highest stakes ever – the winner goes to the Rose Bowl. But for non-jocks there’s a more interesting competition, which a story in last week’s Oregonian covered: the bragging rights in academia.

For 100 years until about 10-15 years ago, this was a settled question. The U of O was the academic flagship and OSU was the backwater agriculture school. But things have changed and now it depends on who you ask. U of O is still the state’s leading humanities, arts, and science institution. But OSU brought in twice the research funding that U of O did last year.

OSU got stronger in engineering, attracting high-tech companies like HP to Corvallis. OSU built the Hatfield Marine Science Center to do research in Newport on the Oregon Coast. Oregon State became a Sea Grant University to match its Land Grant status and hit the jackpot last summer when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced it’s moving its Pacific Marine Operations Center to Newport – potentially making it “Woods Hole West.”

What makes this interesting is the shift that may be taking place in academia. While the “old school” schools like U of O rested on their laurels, other public institutions like OSU went off in new directions.

Or in my hometown, Portland State University was long held down by the rural-dominated legislature which, encouraged by U of O and OSU, set enrollment caps and forbid campus housing to keep PSU a commuter school. One of the results was that, in the 1960s, faced with state rules that no public university could duplicate programs offered by another, PSU launched its first Ph.D. programs in areas like Systems Science and Urban Studies. These were the dregs the other schools didn’t want at the time, but that are now hot.

Here’s a bit from the Oregonian story. Unfortunately they didn’t put the chart that was in the print version online:

While neither university is considered among the world’s best, they’re both good schools with plenty of bragging rights, says David Longanecker, president of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, which works to improve college access and success in 15 states.

“In most states, the ‘university of’ school is considered the uppity institution, and the ’state university’ is considered the institution of the people,” Longanecker says. “It’s less clear in Oregon. They really seem to be head-to-head competitors.”

What sets OSU apart is its more than $250 million in research funding in 2008-09. It was No. 87 in the nation for research funding in 2006, according to the National Science Foundation. UO came in at No. 157.

Still, UO outranks OSU on the annual U.S. News & World Report rankings and has the edge on some other measures, such as fund-raising and graduation rate.

OSU is known for its marine science, agriculture, engineering and geoscience programs, among others. UO’s distinguishing programs include natural sciences, architecture, business and education.

Do others notice this happening elsewhere? Consider UC Davis, long the poor country cousin of Berkeley and UCLA but now gaining respect academically. Are the big traditional universities staying stodgy and losing out  to more nimble schools?

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Sun Sep 13th 2009 at 10:30am UTC

Widening College Cost to Earnings Gap

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

Business Week economist Michael Mandel has produced a terrific chart comparing college costs to the earnings of young college graduates (25- to 34-year-olds) from 1991 to 2008 (below).

While the lines track one another for most of the 1990s, they began to diverge by the late 1990s, and the gap has grown considerably over the past decade. Mandel finds that college costs in real terms are up by 23 percent since 2000, while real pay for young college grads has fallen by 11 percent.

Money quote:  “This can’t go on. It’s just not possible.”

college cost gap.gif