Using Higher Education to Strengthen Cities

Many large universities, land-grant and otherwise, reside in America’s largest cities. What is often overlooked is the impact that these universities can have on the communities that surround them. There are multiple partnerships with cohorts of universities that are using different methods to reach large audiences.

For example, seven universities have come together to “Collaborate for Change,” with the goal of sparking institutional reflection, engagement, planning, and redesign, making higher education more diverse and accessible. The seven universities in this example (the University of Akron is one) are located all over the country and are focused on building their cities up from within. Their work is framed within five areas of focus: To be collaborative, embedded, inclusive, accountable, and relentless with commitment (Urban University).

Downtown Columbus Ohio.(Jodi Miller)

Downtown Columbus Ohio. (Jodi Miller)

Ohio State is in a position to model this approach with communities, whether they surround its campuses or its various OSU Extension county offices. Ohio State is already a part of the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU) and Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU), but individually, OSU has begun an effort to impact Columbus. A group of faculty, with one representative from each college (our CFAES rep is Julie Fox), has met over the last year to discuss the position that OSU has in the community surrounding the university, and in Columbus, with an emphasis on cross college collaborations to make the city better. This philosophy matches that of OSU Extension in the City’s and we hope to see it develop further in the near future.

(Submitted by James Stiving, Program Assistant, Extension in the City/Central Region)

Citation: Urban University
Urban Serving Universities Collaborate to Transform Higher Education, Strengthen Cities