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.