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Universities and Colleges as Economic Drivers

Jason E. Lane

Publication Year: 2012

Comprehensive examination of the relationship between higher education, state government, and economic development. Local, state, and national economies are facing unprecedented levels of international competition. The current fiscal crisis has hampered the ability of many governments in the developed world to directly facilitate economic growth. At the same time, many governments in the developing world are investing significant new resources into local infrastructure and industry development initiatives. At the heart of the current economic transformation lie our colleges and universities. Through their roles in education, innovation, knowledge transfer, and community engagement, these institutions are working toward spurring economic growth and prosperity. This book brings together leading scholars from a variety of disciplines to assess how universities and colleges exert impact on economic growth. The contributors consider various methodologies, metrics, and data sources that may be used to gauge the performance of diverse higher education institutions in improving economic outcomes in the United States and around the world. Also presented are new typologies of economic development activities and related state policies that are designed to improve understanding of such initiatives and generate new energy and focus for an international community of scholars and practitioners working to formulate new models for how public universities and colleges may lead economic development in their states and communities while still performing their traditional educational functions. Colleges and Universities as Economic Drivers is meant to cultivate greater understanding among elected officials, business representatives, policymakers, and other concerned parties about the central roles universities and colleges play in national, state, and local economies.

Published by: State University of New York Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. iii-iv


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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xx

In late spring 2009 I arrived in New York State, the new chancellor of The State University of New York, by way of Ohio, where I had just concluded six years as president of the University of Cincinnati. In the handful of years between 2003 and 2009, my time as UC’s head, the United ...

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p. xxi-xxi

This book emerged as part of the planning for the SUNY Critical Issues conference, Universities as Economic Drivers, which was held in Buffalo, N.Y., in September 2011. We are grateful to all who attended that meeting. Our own understanding of the role of higher education ...

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1. Higher Education and Economic Competitiveness

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pp. 1-30

Higher education plays an increasingly critical role in the economic competitiveness of local, state, and national economies. The factors driving the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index are examined to illustrate how higher education has come to be viewed ...

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2. The Diversity of University Economic Development Activities and Issues of Impact Measurement

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pp. 31-60

Drawing on a national scan of higher education economic development activities as well as a state-level study of the economic roles of campuses in a large public university system, this chapter describes the many ways in which colleges and universities promote and foster economic ...

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3. Pitfalls of Traditional Measures of Higher Education’s Role in Economic Development

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pp. 61-96

This chapter describes methodological approaches and pitfalls common to studies of the economic impact of colleges and universities. Such studies often claim preposterous levels of local benefits that imply annualized rates of return exceeding 100 percent. We address ...

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4. On the Measurement of University Research Contributions to Economic Growth and Innovation

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pp. 97-128

The increasing complexity of university scientific research and the increasing pressure for accountability in public expenditures creates a challenging environment for the measurement of scientific productivity. Of course, the choices of metrics employed create different incentives ...

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5. University Industry Government Collaboration for Economic Growth

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pp. 129-162

Higher education, industry, and government have been increasingly collaborating through the development of research centers. University-industry-government (UIG) research centers provide environments in which actors from multiple sectors of the innovation system come ...

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6. The Convergence of Postsecondary Education and the Labor Market

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pp. 163-190

Over the past century, education became a primary means for achieving economic success in the United States. As more individuals pursued a post-secondary education, the country also benefited from enhanced economic competitiveness relative to other ...

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7. The Essential Role of Community Colleges in Rebuilding the Nation’s Communities and Economies

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pp. 191-204

As human resource issues become more important in the economic development process, the American community college is playing a greater role in the decisions made by companies and communities. Community colleges bring much strength to economic development ...

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8. The International Dimensions of Higher Education’s Contributions to Economic Development

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pp. 205-237

This chapter analyzes the role of higher education in international trade and investment. We first examine how colleges and universities address international measures in seventy institutional economic impact reports. These reports highlight three core areas of importance for ...

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9. Unanticipated Consequences of University Intellectual Property Policies

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pp. 239-276

While national legislation such as the 1981 Bayh-Dole Act created common pressures for American universities to commercialize the outcomes of faculty and student research, the act also created new tensions on campus. Those tensions hinged on the university’s new role as owner ...

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10. The Impact of the 2008 Great Recession on College and University Contributions to State and Regional Economic Growth

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pp. 277-293

At the time of the September 2011 SUNY conference on Universities as Economic Drivers, the United States and most of its colleges and universities were recovering from, or accommodating to, the collapse of state budgets, endowments, and family incomes. These economic ...


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pp. 295-301


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pp. 303-311


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pp. 313-324

Back Cover

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p. 348-348

E-ISBN-13: 9781438445021
Print-ISBN-13: 9781438445014

Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2012