The University at a Crossroads: How Higher Education Can Meet the Demands of Today's Entrepreneurial Economy
Monday, April 28, 2008 / 2:30 pm - 3:45 pm
 

Moderators
Carl Schramm, President and CEO, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Speakers
Nancy Cantor, Chancellor and President, Syracuse University
Michael Crow, President, Arizona State University
Edward Guiliano, President, New York Institute of Technology

Carl Schramm of the Ewing Marion Kauffmann Foundation launched into the panel by framing universities as the epicenter of success. Most "smart Americans" build on the foundation of a higher education but as the economy changes, universities will need to evolve, taking a more active role in teaching and promoting entrepreneurship. The panel discussed the efforts of three universities that have incorporated entrepreneurialism into their curriculum and culture to innovate, collaborate and think dynamically and globally.

Nancy Cantor, Chancellor and President, Syracuse University recalled that upstate New York was once viewed as the Silicon Valley of the East, with robust growth and an abundance of high-tech companies, but that prosperity has faded. To revive the region's glory days, Syracuse has been strategically investing in its core strengths, collaborating with other schools and reaching beyond its geographic boundaries. In order to succeed, Cantor recommends breaking down "silos" (organizational walls that often prevent different departments from coordinating research and innovation) as well as creating a pipeline of inclusive human capital.

Cantor elaborated on Syracuse's partnership with JPMorgan Chase. This $30 million university-industry collaboration will produce technology centers aimed at reviving urban neighborhoods and engaging the region's young people; it will pool intellectual capital to make an immediate difference in industry, higher education and the surrounding region.

We need to create a new paradigm for the university, or a "New American University," as Michael Crow of Arizona State University called it. He stated that education (including the bureaucracy of education) will need to change to embrace the new knowledge economy. ASU has introduced new programs and centers that foster innovation and creativity in disciplines such as music, nursing, journalism, engineering and more. ASU has made it a priority to promote the entrepreneurial spirit, defining itself as a "technopolis" that can meet both corporate and academic interests.

Edward Guiliano of the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) posited that we need to think even bigger than Crow's "New American University." He endorses idea of a "Global University" that is not bound by any geographic region. Just recently, universities in the United Arab Emirates and Canada have signed agreements allowing NYIT to set up and operate new campuses. Joint collaboration will enhance the exchange of knowledge and talent between nations.

The panelists agreed that this is a moment for universities to embrace change and actively pursue reforms that will nurture entrepreneurs. They predict that other colleges will employ distance learning programs and experiment with other collaborative environments catering to all levels of students, such as the successful University of Phoenix education model.