University Business - July 2006 - (Page 37)

FUTURE SHOCK Welcome, Metro U America's working-class metropolitan universities By James Martin and James E. Samels T is all about mission, all of the time that HERE WAS A TIME AND is, special career-oriented universities that place in American higher primarily serve working-class students. education when our urban These nimble institutions share common universities sat at the pinnacle of power, purposes: They're steeped in social justice, prestige, and influence. Over the past urban engagement, civic leadership, global several centuries, the nation has witnessed perspective, and responsible citizenship. the emergence of venerable institutions Second, these entrepreneurial institu- like Harvard in Cambridge, Yale in New tions are typically co-located in both urban Haven, Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, and suburban campuses, serving both in- and The University of Chicago urban ner city and exurban student populations universities that enrolled the cream of within a defined metropolitan region. the student crop, attracted world-class Third, these aspiring universities are faculty, pioneered new scholarship, decidedly diverse intentionally com- and, importantly, built up the kind of mitted to diversity at their core. They endowment that can sufficiently support These universities have are universities that mirror fast-shifting major research. their noses in the air to demographics within and beyond their T h e s e major research institutions metropolitan areas. share several common characteristics, detect the slightest whiff Fourth, like Spencer Johnson's mice- like high-end doctoral degree programs, of new opportunity. like creatures in Who Moved My Cheese?, world-renowned research, academic these metropolitan universities constantly comprehensiveness, significant grant sup- have their noses in the air to detect the from for-profit predators and tax-subsi- port, considerable endowment, and other slightest whiff of new opportunity read dized public institutions. mega-metric advantages. These net ad- as, new cheese . This remarkable dynamic For all its magnificent achievements, vantages invariably yield significant cash embraces and, importantly, leads change public higher education now cannot ef- flow, favorable equity and assets ratios, in the new global higher ed marketplace. fectively serve more than half of America's bond investor confidence, and big-time When asked to name metropolitan urban population at any given time. This benefactor support. universities that distinguish themselves means America still offers a significant More recently, like the banking, insur- based on these several characteristics, a market for metropolitan universities that ance, and healthcare markets, traditional long list of worthy institutions emerges. have carved a distinctive niche, manage American institutions of higher educa- What we thought interesting more to leverage unique market strengths, and tion have witnessed a major marketplace than interesting, intriguing was to ask are able to display an ingenious sense of contraction. Why have some IHEs failed, whether this list might be winnowed. The renewal. A new breed of savvy, future- and others thrived? No surprise here that result: a short list of mission-driven, work- oriented urban universities is emerging, there are some rather startling common- ing-class, metropolitan universities attracting a new generation of student alities among our most fragile institu- consumers and respect from peers. tions spiraling costs, tuition overdepen- James Martin is a professor at Mount Ida College dence, high discounting, lack of liquidity, Mass. . James E. Samels is president and CEO of THE NEW METRO U TAXONOMY deferred campus infrastructure improve- The Education Alliance. Their book is Presiden- How does one recognize this new breed of ments, and modest endowment. Added tial Transition in Higher Education: Managing working-class, metropolitan university? pressures come from the incessant foot- Leadership Change Johns Hopkins University The first distinguishing characteristic steps of aggressive market competition Press, 2004 . July 2006 | 37 FtrShck.indd 37 6/21/06 3:03:13 PM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business - July 2006

College Index
Advisory Board
Company Index
Editor's Note
People Watch
Sense of Place
Stats Watcch
Human Resources
Future Shock
Money Matters
Community Colleges
Diamond in the Mudd
Higher Ed at the Crossroads
Property Values
The President Next Door
Good Medicine
The Outs (and Ins) of Facility Management
Business Technology
What's New
Calendar of Events
Direct Connect
End Note

University Business - July 2006