University Business - December 2012 - (Page 20)

independent outlook Town-Gown Dramatics Why strong town-gown relationships do not flourish unattended—and what they do require By Norval C. Kneten U nintended consequences will frequently result from unique events. Barton College (N.C.) fashioned one of the most dramatic finishes ever played when it won the DII National Men’s Basketball Championship in spring 2007. In the last 45 seconds, a single point guard sank five baskets. The shot that won the game dropped with 0.1 seconds to go. (If you love basketball and have not seen this clip, it’s on YouTube under “Barton College Basketball.”) Our national championship is a lot of fun to talk about, and it forms the continuing inspiration for our college marketing program. It also highlighted the town-gown relationship that we enjoy with the city of Wilson. With a population of 50,000, Wilson is on the primary transportation corridor of the East Coast, has a strong industrial and corporate base, and one of the highest average weekly incomes in the state. An exurb of one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas of the country, it enjoys a net in-commute employment base, has a robust planning program, and is connected through strategic planning to the Research Triangle. Wilson celebrates the college’s million-dollar per-week economic impact on the community. This relationship spilled over into a spontaneous community festival when our Bulldogs returned home from their championship game. More than 5,000 citizens welcomed our student-athlete champions all along the entry road and at a picnic outside the college’s gymnasium, complete with fried chicken, pork barbecue, and network TV cameras. Community members of the Wilson-Barton Partnership can get an “insider’s view” of the college. Bruce Rose, our athletic director, and me to the national convention in D.C., to highlight the “poster child” relationship between a college and a city. A number of factors contributed to our hometown success story. Nine years ago, its seeds were embedded in two cultural programs (a friendsof-the-library organization and a symphony) and a college security contract with the Wilson Police Department. Those connections, it has turned out, were a sufficient base. We began our work by forming the Wilson-Barton Partnership with the active support of the Wilson Chamber of Commerce. This involved inviting representatives from across city constituencies to join. The invitation stated that our purpose was “to celebrate the partnership between Barton College and the Wilson community and to promote understanding of our mutual dependence.” We announced that members would hear an “insider’s view” of the college. Vision through soCializing It was a rudimentary beginning. Building on the community’s love of socializing, we began an annual dinner event by selecting and recognizing a business leader of the year. In a city replete with successful entrepreneurs, there was a pent-up desire to come together and highlight those successes. This celebration has grown every year, and students who benefit from the scholarships made possible by this event are part of the program. They frequently steal the show. The Wilson-Barton Partnership took its place beside other Wilson community initiatives promoted by the Arts Council, the Economic Development Council, the Chamber, and many others. When community leaders formed a group to identify an overall vision for the community and to provide “leadership for collaboratively achieving the community vision,” I was asked to be its inaugural chair. The new organization, Wilson 20/20, began by annually establishing and monitoring communitywide goals based on our shared vision statement. Wilson 20/20 has matured and is now tackling the difficult challenge of workforce development in a large segment of the community needing skills to transition from traditional agriculture to an industrial/ knowledge-based economy. the role of serendipity A serendipitous juxtaposition of master planning took place when the city of Wilson began its “2030 Comprehensive Planning” at the same time that Barton was engaged in campus master planning. Because of the strong working relationship we had developed, the city and college quickly agreed that our Building on ViCtory That celebration caught the NCAA’s attention. The organization invited Mayor 20 | December 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business - December 2012

University Business - December 2012
Editor’s Note
College Index
Ad Index
Behind the News
Money Matters
Independent Outlook
5 Reasons Flipped Classrooms Work
Test Driving Mobile
Open Source Myth Busters
Models of Efficiency
1st Annual Readers’ Choice Awards
Education Innovators
Endowments: New Questions
End Note

University Business - December 2012