A New Co-Design Opportunity for CUMU Members
The Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities is proud to announce a new partnership with The Democracy Collaborative, a think-tank, advocacy group and consultancy that works to promote more equitable, sustainable local economies.
This partnership seeks to help CUMU members to more rapidly and effectively advance an anchor mission approach within their institutions through The Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative.
Aligning Your Work with Your Communities
Higher education institutions are critical local economic engines and mission-driven organizations inextricably linked to the long-term well-being of those we serve—because of this, we as higher education leaders, are uniquely positioned to play a more active role in supporting our local economies.
Higher education institutions in the United States employ over four million people, spend over $43 billion annually on goods and services, and hold around $515 billion in endowments. We have an opportunity and obligation to improve educational, civic, environmental, health and well-being outcomes in the communities we serve. By redirecting hiring, investing and procurement dollars in our local communities, we can be leaders in creating more equitable and sustainable local economies.
Colleges and universities are rooted in place. Unlike large private corporations, they will not leave a community for the next best tax incentive. We are anchors, and becoming more intentional about how we run the institution is the anchor mission.
Answering Your Call
The Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative is a direct result of feedback from presidents and chancellors of member institutions during CUMU’s most recent strategic direction planning process, as well as conversations from CUMU’s 2017 annual conference.
At the 2017 CUMU Annual Conference, more than 20 postsecondary institutions came together with The Democracy Collaborative’s Anchor Dashboard Learning Cohort to discuss and confirm higher education’s interest in advancing an anchor mission. This forum provided early input into the goals and objectives of the Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative.
The Democracy Collaborative’s Anchor Dashboard Learning Cohort is a group of six public and private universities (five of which are existing CUMU members) that seek to take a quantitative look at their collective impact on their local economies. Over the past two years, the group has consolidated best practices, guidance and reflections on implementing the anchor mission. The cohort includes SUNY Buffalo State, Cleveland State University, Drexel University, Rutgers University-Newark, University of Missouri-St. Louis, and Virginia Commonwealth University.
A Benefit to CUMU Members
As CUMU members, we recognize our opportunity and obligation to improve educational, civic, environmental, health and well-being outcomes in the communities we serve and confront economic and social instability in our nation that remain obstacles to that goal.
The Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative will provide CUMU members with access to facilitated peer learning exchanges, tools and strategies to better support our local economies. Participating institutions will help to co-design a set of network activities that will engage institutions across higher education in developing innovations for the field including a set of targeted advocacy goals and communications strategies to bring the importance of the anchor mission to a much larger stage.
CUMU invites all interested member institutions to join the Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative. CUMU members should sign up via this form.
The anchor mission initiative is a major theme of the 2018 CUMU Annual Conference in Chicago. Initiative participants will convene at the conference as part of the Initiative.
In February 2019, Metropolitan Universities journal will publish issue 30.1, Urban and Metropolitan Universities: The Transformative Power of Anchor Institutions. The Democracy Collaborative will serve as guest editor for this issue. Metropolitan Universities is currently accepting abstracts for this issue.