Colleges and Universities as Talent Magnets
The remote work revolution presents a unique opportunity for higher education institutions to reinvent themselves and become talent magnets.
In Knowledge Towns, David J. Staley and Dominic D. J. Endicott argue that the location of a college or university is a necessary piece of any region's effort to attract remote knowledge workers, and thus accelerate economic development and creative place-making. Just as every town expects a church, bank branch, post office, and coffee house, a decentralized network of institutions of higher education will flourish, acting as cornerstones for the post-pandemic rebuilding of our society and economy.
In calling for a "college in any town," they are not simply proposing placing a traditional college within a town or city, envisioning instead a particular kind of higher education institution called a "knowledge enterprise." In addition to providing the services of a traditional college, a knowledge enterprise acts as a talent magnet, attracting workers looking to move to cheaper and more attractive destinations.
With the post-COVID-19 shift to more remote work, and millions of people moving to more affordable and livable cities, a place that wants to attract talent will require a thriving academic environment. This represents a new opportunity for "town and gown" to create thriving collaborative communities. The pandemic has accelerated existing trends that put at risk the viability of many colleges and universities, as well as that of many towns and cities. The talent magnet strategy outlined in this book offers colleges and towns a plan of action for regeneration.
About the Authors
David J. Staley (COLUMBUS, OH) is an associate professor of history, design, and educational studies at The Ohio State University. He is the author of Alternative Universities: Speculative Design for Innovation in Higher Education. Dominic D. J. Endicott (WOLFEBORO, NH) is a partner at Northstar Ventures and an advisor at the MET Fund.
"Knowledge Towns lays out a compelling and eminently practical vision of a new symbiosis between higher education and communities of all shapes and sizes. It is an innovation roadmap for revitalizing people, institutions, and our society that should appeal to everyone."
"Staley and Endicott issue a striking call to action for 30,000 small to midsize American communities: to take advantage of the major demographic changes spurred by the pandemic to reignite stagnant or shrinking economies and build new prosperity. To seize opportunity, communities must work on gaining broadband connectivity, building the innovation capacity of their employers, and becoming knowledge magnets through partnership with education. Knowledge Towns lays out the path."
"Knowledge Towns is masterful. It is well-researched, persuasive, and prescient, painting an exciting symbiotic role for a reimagined and diverse higher education enterprise. Staley and Endicott have reframed the town and gown construct as an ecosystem of community, local businesses, regional government, and colleges that collectively serves as a 'knowledge enterprise' to attract talent, develop human potential, and strategically grow and sustain the well-being of the local community."
"This book develops powerful arguments and findings in urban regeneration. It reveals the critical role for universities to play in the new economy. It shows how remote working could kick-start regeneration in forgotten cities in the UK, US, and elsewhere. A must-read for investors and policymakers in this critical area for economics and venture investing."
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