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A campus for rent in Chaska

edcampus.jpg

The StarTribune reports that the town of Chaska, Minnesota, is planning for a new higher education campus, built by an outfit called “EdCampus.” What makes the site unique is that it is being built without a sole tenant in mind:

The company plans to erect classrooms as shells, line up higher education institutions as tenants to fill them, then customize the rooms for satellite classes or lectures offered by as many colleges and universities as it can line up.

“They could lease space to anyone from Harvard to North Dakota State,” Chaska Mayor Gary Van Eyll said.

According to the Mayor of Chaska:

EdCampus located in Chaska. It is hard to explain this facility. It will be an innovational educational model that leverages the power of combining dynamic students from diverse institutions into a single campus – outfitted with customizable classroom space and student-centric services.

EdCampus will offer state-of-the-art technology, never seen before in post-secondary education.

Since secondary education institutions develop a tremendous amount of educational technologies, I’m not sure what technologies have never been seen before in post-secondary education. (Also, does this high tech EdCampus have a website?) The real innovation, however, is that such a “campus” concept allows higher education institutions to create a presence in a community without outlaying a huge investment. Some institutions may wish to try certain communities/markets before making a large investment in facilities. Others will appreciate the pathways for rapid egress afforded by lease arrangements.

What does this ability to enter and exit new markets rapidly mean for land grant universities, which are intended to create lasting presences in the communities they serve?

AlwaysOn: "The future of innovation in the US"

Article link: The future of innovation in the US

Chuck Russell reports for AlwaysOn that “studies have indicated that 45-75% of all economic growth is directly attributed to innovation),” and that “the US government was responsible for funding 85% of all basic research.” Basic research, he argues, is underfunded. For the US government to maximize its social capital investment, it must contribute more to the development of basic research.

In the 1990’s, universities learned the real economic incentive is in the short-term rewards of applied research, where patents for technologies can be immediately applied in the public sector. Should this trend be reversed?

Further reading: NSF fact sheet: Linkages grow between research and innovation

BBC: "Education key to economic survival"

Article link: Education key to economic survival

The BBC‘s Sean Coughlan asks, “how can a small, affluent country such as Finland maintain a high-wage, high-skill economy?”

The answer: heavy investment in education and life-long learning. Says the Finnish Minister of Education, “we believe that if we invest in all children for nine years and give them the same education then we will reach the best results.”

Learn more about the educational system in Finland from the Ministry of Education’s Web site.