UMSL among 31 universities selected to take part in the Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative

Tom George

Chancellor Tom George is the president of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities, which has partnered with The Democracy Collaborative to create the Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative. UMSL is among 31 member institutions selected to participate. (Photo by August Jennewein)

The Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities has partnered with The Democracy Collaborative to launch the Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative, and the University of Missouri–St. Louis is among 31 member institutions selected to participate.

Higher education institutions are critical local economic engines that employ over 4 million people, spend over $43 billion annually on goods and services, and hold around $515 billion in endowments. As mission-driven organizations, they are uniquely positioned and incentivized to actively support and grow their local economies.

The national collaboration is aimed at assisting CUMU members to more rapidly and effectively advance an anchor mission strategy within their institutions, higher education and the communities they serve.

“CUMU member intuitions understand that place matters. They are anchored in urban and metropolitan centers where they work across sectors to find creative, sustainable solutions to some of our nation’s toughest challenges,” CUMU Executive Director Bobbie Laur said. “By participating in the Initiative, these members will develop new tools that will positively benefit the economic and social well-being of their communities.”

UMSL Chancellor Tom George, the CUMU president, said The Democracy Collaborative is an ideal partner. The national research institute, supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, develops strategies for a more democratic economy.

“This partnership will accelerate current strategies and help to develop important innovations that will benefit higher education and the communities we serve for years to come,” George said.

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, where 20 CUMU members worked with TDC’s Anchor Dashboard Learning Cohort to discuss and confirm higher education’s interest in advancing an anchor mission.

The 31 CUMU members participating in the Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative will be informed by the best practices previously identified by the Cohort, whose six members will become members of the Initiative. The full list of participating members is:

Augsburg University
California State University, Los Angeles
Cleveland State University
College of Staten Island
Drexel University
Florida Atlantic University
Georgetown University
Indiana University Northwest
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Johns Hopkins University
Marquette University
Metropolitan State University
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Portland State University
Purdue University Northwest
Rutgers University-Camden
Rutgers University-Newark
SUNY Buffalo State
Towson University
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
The University of Chicago
University of Denver
University of Louisville
University of Michigan-Dearborn
University of Missouri-St. Louis
University of Pittsburgh
University of San Diego
Virginia Commonwealth University
Wagner College
Weber State University
York University

These member institutions will participate in facilitated peer learning exchanges including two in-person convenings – one to be held in June 2018 at Virginia Commonwealth University and a second at the 2018 CUMU Annual Conference in October in Chicago. Members will also participate in webinars that focus on the core theories and policies of developing and sustaining an anchor mission strategy.


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