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Leveraging infrastructure to achieve alignment August 19, 2006

Posted by Tom in Community, Economic Development, Education, Workforce.
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Here’s an interesting development from Arizona State University, who is building a downtown Phoenix campus to accompany their larger campus in neighboring Tempe:

Geared toward city-minded students attracted to service-oriented careers, the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus offers degree programs that focus on serving the city, whether it’s improving its citizens’ health, addressing the community’s social and economic needs, teaching the youth or informing residents on key issues.

‘We’re creating something that has not existed in Arizona, which is a truly urban university environment that lets students and faculty experience the educational process in the midst of an active city,’ says Mernoy Harrison, vice president and provost of the downtown campus.

To open the first phase, ASU relocated several colleges downtown, including the College of Nursing & Healthcare Innovation; the College of Public Programs (comprising the schools of Public Affairs, Social Work and Community Resources and Development); and University College, which serves the university’s exploratory majors and working adults.

I had a chance to spend some time in the Valley of the Sun back in January, and Phoenix is clearly a city on the move. By getting ASU to bring urban-relevant schools downtown (which is a nice downtown, by the way), the public sector is mobilizing all of its resources to the best advantage of the region.

This is a classic win-win-win situation, one that other communities can learn from. Phoenix continues its amazing growth and development, ASU gets an additional position of prominence and additional learning opportunities for its students, and the students will be better prepared to serve as the workforce of the future.

Sometimes, it’s not just the creation of new money – it’s reallocating existing money for maximum impact.

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