What Universities Need to Know in a Global World

As a lifelong academia groupie (that's what happens when your grad school mom brings you to campus with her everyday), I truly feel that there is a role for the university that far surpasses the "degree mill" mentality that is oh-so-pervasive in today's society. Universities hold a unique spot in the world that, when properly utilized, turns them into an unparalleled platform for innovation, global citizenship, and human connectivity. Dr. Michael Crow, current president of  Arizona State University, posted a brief article with 5 common sense approaches that a university should have in order to work well on the world stage. While none of his suggestions are particularly groundbreaking, as a whole, they can serve as a nice model for any globally-minded university. My favorite of his suggestions is for universities to serve as good global partners, helping communities to "transform their thinking to see universities, not as self-indulgent 'people factories,'  but as valuable idea generators with vast influence and the potential to manifest technologies and concepts that can change lives the world over." I think this is such an overlooked point today, and kind of goes along with Nicholas Kristof's article from earlier this week. It is not enough to be brilliant; your brilliance has to be meaningful, actionable, and feasible. I love the idea of universities as "idea generators," although I must admit I don't see much idea-generating most days. Higher education is clearly in need of some sort of innovation to get back to this primal state of molding young minds and fostering creativity. I think building global partnerships is a great first step in making this happen. Great ideas don't happen in a bubble; we learn from each other, we motivate each other, and, if we're lucky, we generate a decent idea or two.