Can we afford not to invest in higher education?

As the nation emerges from the recession that has plagued our economy, we must reinvest in higher education.  In recent days, several news reports have described how poorer students and families have faced the brunt of college price increases.  If achieving a college degree is no longer affordable for all students, it should concern us all.


Photo credit:

The cost of higher education is a difficult issue to understand because the price a student pays is only part of the equation.  The amount of money that a college spends to educate a student changes relatively little.  Yet, the price that a student pays can vary tremendous.

The need for research on cities and higher education

I believe the relationship between universities and cities will be one of the most significant policy questions during the 21st century. As I wrap up this series of posts on cities and higher education, I want to end by sharing the conclusion to our Higher Education: Handbook of Research and Theory chapter. Here we describe the need for research on cities and higher education and call for scholars to examine these important research questions.

In order to fully understand how universities serve as anchor institutions, higher education scholars should consider factors, structures, and processes outside of higher education.

Challenges for Researchers in Using the Creative Class Theory

Richard Florida is one of the most popular experts on cities and urban planning. His work has been popularized and quite influential among policy makers. Florida’s argument about the value of the creative class in promoting economic growth has driven much of the debate regarding urban growth and planning. However, Florida has critics in economics and other fields. In today’s post, I want to share another excerpt from my Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research chapter coauthored with Karri Holley. This section examines the challenges for researchers in using the creative class theory.

Photo credit: Next City

Despite its popularity with policymakers, urban planners, and the general public (Center for Cultural Policy Research, 2003; Eakin, 2002; Martin-Brelot, Grossetti, Eckert, Gritsai, & Kovacs, 2010; Wiesand & Sondermann, 2005), the concept of the creative class and its relationship to economic growth within large urban cities is not immune from criticism.

Balancing Global and Local Trends with Cities and Higher Education

A significant focus of my recent research has considered the interactions between higher education and cities. I am increasingly convinced that the role of higher education within cities will be a dominant trend for the next century. Social, political, economic, and demographic changes all suggest that the importance of the city-university relationship. Over the next three posts, I’m going to be sharing excerpts from my recently published Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research chapter that my coauthor, Karri Holley, and I wrote examining the role of higher education in cities. In today’s post, I will share a section on balancing global and local trends with cities and higher education.

Photo credit: UAB

Evidence of the growth of the knowledge economy can be seen in a move from economies driven by the production and distribution of goods to those driven by information exchange and the high-level provision of services (Kasarda, 1988).

The 20th century economic mainstays of manufacturing, warehouses, and retail have largely disappeared, replaced by white-collar jobs requiring postsecondary training.

Understanding the different types of colleges and universities

There are many different types of college and universities in the United States. Too often, we discuss higher education through the prism of selective and research institutions. Yet, we know that these types of institutions aren’t the norm, but instead are a very small percentage of all colleges and universities. In today’s post, I want to share the different criteria that can be used to identify differences between institutions. Understanding the different types of colleges and universities is important for graduate students and really anyone involved in higher education.

Photo credit: Eric Chan

The range of institutions present in the U.S. system of higher education is considered a major strength.

As I’ve discussed here as well as my monograph on the subject, institutional diversity is profoundly important for higher education to meet the multiple and, at times, conflicting goals placed on the system.

But how do we tell institutions apart?  What criteria and characteristics are most useful to consider?