Colleges and the city

I did an early post on here about why I consider Point Park to be one of Pittsburgh’s most important schools in spit of its relatively small size. What I admire is that it seems very serious and successful at developing synergies between itself and the city. I think this is mainly because it doesn’t have the size and power to play the gorilla like Pitt. What has always amazed me since I have been here is just how little impact the cities huge schools have on the region and I think the main reason is the way they are designed as ivory towers posted on an Acropolis.

“New York is a city with dozens of colleges which play a huge role in it’s life. There is Columbia, NYU, Fordam, Pratt Institute, Saint Johns and the huge City University system. There are also tons of smaller schools scattered throughout the city. Parsons, SVA, FIT, Cooper Union, Hunter College, The New School, Juilliard, Baruch College and John Jay are a few. Not surprisingly a lot of these schools have strong specialties in the major “industries of NY” – art, film, media, fashion, theater, music, law, business, design and food.

One is sometimes struck, by the rather unassuming nature of some the schools. Few have stadiums, elaborate sports facilities, fancy campuses or massive buildings. Many of the most respected are pretty low key and functional. But looks can be decieving in that few of these schools beg for applicants and degrees from a lot of them are highly valued. A few like SVA, started small but have grown into sizable institutions. A lot of them do a booming and I think lucrative business in continuing education.”

An obvious way to build synergy with the city would be to place key parts of the schools in the areas of the city to which they best relate. CMU’s art and music programs might be a good fit downtown; Pitt and Duquesne’s law and business programs might be better close to the courts. This would likely make it easier to develop internship programs with local employers.

1 Comment so far

  1. Guy Hogan (unregistered) on December 19th, 2007 @ 9:18 pm

    I went to Point Park in 1964. I think it was called a junior college then, just two years. I was seventeen. On the juke box in the snack bar was Satisfaction by the Stones, House of the Rising Sun by The Animals and A Hard Day’s Night by The Beatles; oh, and Pretty Woman by Roy Orbinson (I may have miss spelled his name.) Anyway, I didn’t graduate. I dropped out and ended up fighting in Vietnam. But I still remember the student ballerinas. And after I got out of the army I became part of the Point Park community. I wasn’t an official student but my brother was Student Body President and I was learning to be a short story writer and hung around Point Park a good bit of time, sitting in the snack bar, watching and writing. By chance I sat at the table the the student ballerinas always sat at. Many times you could guess a student’s major by the table the student sat at. Well, sitting with the ballerinas was a real education. They would take about the most intimate things. And of course I was always in love with one of them. They walked around in leotards and tights. It was like being at the beach. My brother introduced me around to the faculty and professors and I even became a social member of one of the fraternities, the one that most of the baseball players belonged to. I wrote two good stories, “Adult Education” and “The Ex-Boyfriend,” based on my experiences at the school. I was even issued a library card that gave me the same privileges as a student. Those were the days. It was a fine school then and from your review seems a fine school today.



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