Tag Archives: higher education

Mighty Edu’s $7.3 Billion SWO Economic Impact

In 2009, I wrote my first ever blog post for Richard Florida’s Creative Class Group on Mighty Edu: higher ed’s positive impacts on economies, communities, and people.  I wrote this post as our nation descended in its second greatest economic depression. Living through that period reinforced my Might Edu mantra as I watched higher ed’s value and importance increase during this period. Pivotal to emerging from the depression, higher education helped, first, stabilize and, second, grow local economies by re-tooling America’s workforce with advanced degrees and certificates, and research and commercialization. It’s impact on economies continues to grow.

Recently,  SOCHE released its report on the Economic and Fiscal Impacts of its member colleges and universities in southwest Ohio. The collective impact for fiscal year 2016 amounted to over $7 billion, including $3.8 billion in new monies brought to the region from tuition, sponsored research, and alumni giving.

This sustained level of spending and revenue generation ripples through our region, driving the success of other sectors that directly and indirectly support higher education through specific goods and services. The wage and tax revenue contributes amounts that help sustain local government services, and the job creation is over 70,000 making higher education once of the largest employment sectors.

More importantly, as region’s become more competitive for talent, last year, SOCHE member colleges and universities awarded over 31,000 students with degrees and certificates, providing an ample supply of talent for the workforce.

Even better news is that this data reflects only the southwest region of the state. Ohio is rich in higher education and the combined and cumulative impact of its over 80 colleges and universities, I would wager, more than quadruples SOCHE’s impact findings.

Now, imagine if Ohio invested in higher education and increased the education levels of its population to the point where, instead of less than 20 percent of people older than 25 have only a high school diploma, 80 percent had college degrees. What if?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sandbox Collaborative

Recently, I came across Sandbox Collaborative, which is housed at Southern New Hampshire University. The organization’s goal is to reimagine higher education, approaching this goal with an expertise in disruptive innovation and collaboration.

What I find most intriguing about Sandbox is that it operates within and is supported by the university. It is a self-described “internal consultancy and incubator of new and alternative business models of higher education….” This approach is a unique example of intra-collaboration and innovation embedded in the university.

As we at SOCHE embarks upon our 50th anniversary as a higher ed collaborative, we think intra-collaboration will become an increasingly important model and strategy for higher education to navigate its disruption. Hence, we have reached out to Michelle Weise, Executive Director of Sandbox, to join us for a future conference.

Stay tuned!

Smart Collaboration

As we kick off 2017, I am delighted to see Heidi Gardner’s book Smart Collaboration has entered the marketplace (and my iPad). The book claims to show “firms earn higher margins, inspire greater client loyalty, attract and retain the best talent, and gain a competitive edge when specialists collaborate across functional boundaries.”

While Gardner’s book appears to have a bent toward professional service firms (e.g. legal), I’m looking forward to reading this deeply researched effort to discuss the importance of collaboration. Optimistically, I anticipate finding examples of collaboration that may serve as models for higher education, as well as the public sector. And, undoubtedly, I am thinking this book will shed light on existing gaps in the research and, consequently, perpetuate scholars-practitioners to wrestle further with the study of collaborative enterprise across all sectors.

Please look forward to a more thorough review of Smart Collaboration to come. Until then, happy collaborating to all in 2017!

Cin-Day Cyber Receives Federal Award

I’ve been meaning to share the good news here regarding the Cin-Day Cyber Corridor initiative I’ve written about earlier.  The greater Cincinnati-Dayton region is one of five recipients of a regional alliance grant from the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Tecyberlogochnology (NIST). The five grants, as part of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), total nearly $1 million are to take a community approach to addressing the nation’s shortage of skilled cybersecurity employees.

Working collaboratively with the Dayton Development Coalition, the Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education submitted a NIST proposal on behalf of a cyber alliance of lead partners in higher education, economic development, industry, government, and K-12 The alliance has been awarded $198,759 in project funding to advance partnerships that increase the pipeline of students pursuing cybersecurity careers, help more Americans attain the skills they need for well-paying jobs in cybersecurity, and support local economic development to stimulate job growth.

Congrats to all the partners in the alliance! This has been a hugely collaborative effort, and is just the beginning of a longterm focus on cyber education and workforce readiness for our region.

Read the full press release.

SOCHE Partners with Innovative Educators

soche_education_on_demand_960_370SOCHE launched a new program thanks to a partnership with the Denver-based company Innovative EducatorsSOCHE Education on Demand provides our members access to more than 100 professional development training courses, as well as access to unlimited live webinars.

We teamed up with Innovative Educators due to their expertise in providing online training for educators and the breadth of programming available for faculty, administrators, and staff. More so, their live webinars cover the most pressing topics in higher education that address:

  • At Risk Populations
  • Campus Safety
  • Organizational Development
  • Student Success
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Technology

This is a wonderful partnership for learning for faculty and staff at SOCHE member institutions!

College Presidents as Public Philosophers

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the Kettering Foundation’s Deliberative Democracy Exchange and participated in the work session College Presidents and the Civic Purposes of Higher Education. What a great group of personable, thoughtful, engaging presidents, whose campuses reflected the diversity of American higher education. The two-day session challenged the presidents to reflect on revitalizing democratic narrative, expanding public understandings of democracy beyond elections, politicians, and formal government, and becoming deeply woven into the life of their communities and regions. More so, KF challenged us to restore the role of the president to one of public philosopher – such a vital role, missing from our national dialogue. Where are the college president pundits?

I understand why KF continues to bring the civic purpose of higher education topic to the forefront. I, too, think it is imperative that college and university presidents ensure their campus ecosystem challenges students to develop a deep sense of civic purpose. There’s no better place than on a college campus to instill in student development and learning the acquired knowledge and skills to be effective citizens and, ultimately, the protectors and leaders of democracy. More so, as anchor institutions in communities, higher education is perfectly positioned to build educational, economic, and civic partnerships.  Imagine the positive influence on humanity if 21st century college students graduated with a heightened commitment to local, national, and global social justice.

While the presidents in the KF work session wished to restore civic purpose to their pulpit or the president to the civic pulpit, a reality emerged that speaking out on civic issues can be detrimental for some presidents, especially those at public institutions in conservative states. When did improving health and human welfare, ensuring community prosperity, and educating citizens on the value of deliberative democracy become partisan?

Nonetheless, it is unfortunate to think that a president’s job security might be threatened if he or she increased speaking publicly on civic issues. I’m hopeful a situation as such is an anomaly instead of a common fear of presidents. And I am driven by wishful thinking that we will see an uptick in presidents who are inspired by the KF challenge and, therefore, speak often on the civic purpose of higher education – like Rassoul Dastmozd, President of Saint Paul College, did recently in the Huffington Post, Civic Engagement and Our Responsibility in Higher Education – a public philosopher is born!

CI: Beyond Higher Ed’s Origin of Silos

Whenever I talk about SOCHE, people are repeatedly fascinated that an organization exists to purposely facilitate, find, and forge collaboration. Whether I’m at TED Global, Harvard Kennedy School, Valencia College, riding the Metro, or striking up a conversation in the local supermarket, people recognize that collaboration is the critical ingredient missing in many different settings. At a recent event, it was noted that academic silos serve as the antithesis to collaborative thinking. For good reason, the silo structure and culture was created to engender deep, focused research and scholarship. However, a closed system as such can evolve only so far before it becomes desperate for change or, worse off, headed down a path of exhaustion. As much as higher education has improved efforts in campus-community partnerships, where can you find on campus the nucleus for intra-collaboration, the resourced collaborative infrastructure (CI) that facilitates, finds, and forges collaboration internally?  It seems too obvious that each campus needs a SOCHElike office, embedded within the campus operation to ensure academia is truly a learning system that evolves itself beyond its origin of silos.

Synergistic Collaboration

Synergy is a key indicator for measuring effective and ineffective collaboration. This indicator emerged in my research that contributed to the scholarship on community partners. The research deepened our understanding of what community partners look for and expect in successful civic partnerships with higher education. The “effective” and “ineffective” descriptors provide helpful, measurable criteria to keep in mind when establishing, monitoring, and evaluating a collaborative partnership.

Effective

  • Acknowledges that both partners are better off working together than separately, creating a mutuality that results in higher productivity and progress toward desired outcomes
  • Recognizes the community partner adds value to student education by providing practical experience and that students receive real-world lessons in servant leadership
  • Demonstrates that faculty gain more experience in the areas of practice and direct service
  • Creates feeling of pleasure from collaboration
  • Produces happiness with results of the partnership
  • Believes parties’ constituencies mutually benefit from the relationship

Ineffective

  • Permits patronizing attitude toward community partner on the part of faculty and administrators
  • Exhibits academic arrogance on part of tenured faculty who are disconnected from direct-service providers
  • Views practice as inferior to theory
  • Places students in the awkward situation of brokering the relationship between faculty and community partner, making them the glue that holds the partnership together

Many other descriptors could be added to this initial list, but it does give us a place to start when entering into collaboration. The full list of indicators can be found at Community Partners Indicators of Engagement: An Action Research Study on Campus-Community Partnership.