Thursday, May 4, 2017

Colleges Serving Small Rural Towns

The Atlantic posted an article by Alana Semuels on May 2, 2017, "Could Small-Town Harvards Revive Rural Economies?"  Semuels initially lays out the argument that rural college towns are generally better off economically than similar communities without colleges.  

Semuels then references a couple of relatively recent articles where the authors offered ideas for expanding higher education outside urban areas.  In the first, Russ Douthat's "Break Up the Liberal City," was published in the New York Times on March 25, 2017 and he proposes, among other things, a tax on endowments of wealthy universities and incentives designed to encourage them to build satellite campuses in areas with well-below-the-median average income.  Noah Smith of Bloomberg followed a week later on March 30, 2017 with "Colleges Can Sport a Rust Belt Revival."  Smith cites the two Morill Acts in 1862 and 1890 as successful precedents for government intervention in support of new institutions, though he ultimately argues we should strengthen existing institutions rather than a focus on startups.

Semuels then turns her focus on four representative communities and offers brief descriptions of the degree to which relatively young institutions within those towns appear to be succeeding in fulfilling their unique missions.  Ultimately, her reporting suggests that new colleges or branches of existing institutions are hard to establish and their success certainly isn't guaranteed.  


City of Learners: Post-Secondary Collaboration in Edmonton

The Conference Board of Canada posted a study of a collaboration in Edmonton, Alberta known as the Edmonton Coalition of Post-Secondary Institutions where the six member colleges and universities are working to promote their city as a learning center.  Elizabeth Martin" serves as the author of "The City of Learners: Post-Secondary Collaboration in Edmonton, Alberta."

Martin's paper identifies promoting economic diversification, improving access to higher education programs, and marketing Edmonton as a learning destination as major Coalition goals.  She organizes the study by including the processes followed by the members, benefits and examples of Coalition initiatives, and factors contributing to success.  The paper concludes with Martin's summary of challenges facing the group and lessons they have learned.

Member institutions include Concordia University of Edmonton, The King's University, MacEwan University, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, NorQuest College, and the University of Alberta.

Seeing Washington, DC as a College Town

Dan Reed of the Washingtonian recently authored a couple of interesting articles focusing on Washington, D.C. as a college town.  In "Washington is a College Town.  Too Bad it Doesn't Act Like It," published February 2, 2017, Reed contrast neighborhood development surrounding American University with those near Catholic University.  He argues that enabling neighborhoods to become college towns will attract both traditional students and non-students.  

Reed followed on April 14, 2017 with "How Three Washington Colleges are Shaping Their Neighborhoods."  This article features initiatives at Catholic University, Gallaudet University, and the College Park / University of Maryland Partnership where the institutions are making strategic decisions to encourage growth of vibrant neighborhoods.

Study Highlights Higher Education and Collaboration in Cork, Ireland

The Conference Board of Canada is featuring a study by one of their research associates, Elizabeth Martin, "Higher Education and Collaboration in a Learning City: Lessons From Cork, Ireland."  Martin's work focuses on a learning city initiative that began in 2002 when the Republic of Ireland's second largest city set out to encourage public and private partnerships supporting lifelong learning.  Cork has a population of 119,000 and the initiative included University College Cork and the Cork Institute of Technology.

Martin describes the development of the initiative and its objectives.  She follows with a focus on the processes used and the various partnerships.  The latter part of her paper provides specific examples of activities and outcomes.  She also includes a summary of challenges faced by Cork and the lessons other institutions and cities might gain if they face similar challenges.

Universities and Their Cities: Q & A with the Author

Inside Higher Ed posted an interesting Q & A by Scott Jaschik with Steven J. Diner commenting on key themes in his new book, Universities and Their Cities.  Diner comments on changing public perceptions of the ideal university-city relationship and differences in relationships for universities with different missions.  The closing questions and comments focus on obligations of universities to the cities where they reside and promising models of university-city interactions. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Antioch College and Yellow Springs, OH...Atypical Institution and Community

The Lafayette, Indiana Journal & Courier and the USA Today Network of papers published "The Antioch College experience," on April 14, 2017 with reporting by Meghan Holden.  Holden focused on Antioch College that reopened three years after it initially closed in 2010 to provide possible lessons for people involved with efforts to revive St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Indiana.  The board of trustees for St. Joseph's initially decided to suspend classes several months ago. 

Holden briefly surveys Antioch's history and the evolution of its relatively unique mission.  The resulting campus culture attracts students and supporters.  She also places the institution within a broader context of the Yellow Springs, OH community that both benefits from and sustains the campus.  
In a companion article, "The fall and rise of a college," Holden offers more details of partnerships that Antioch has pursued as part of its Framework for Antioch College's Transition (FACT) to make better use of facilities and generate additional revenue.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Bipartisan Support for Property Tax Reduces Costs for Students in Dayton, OH

WGBH's On Campus blog offers an interesting podcast, "How Dayton is Banking On Its Community College," with transcript that highlights Sinclair Community College and Dayton, OH.  Kirk Carpezza's reporting places special emphasis on bipartisan community support for a property tax that has reduced student tuition for five decades.