LIVE BLOG: Young Universities Summit
A look into the Times Higher Education Young Universities Summit at USF
What makes a young university truly young? While there’s no doubt its years in existence are an obvious reminder of its youth – if you ask those who lead these institutions they’ll likely tell you it’s more about their ethos than their age.
Young universities define themselves by the ways in which those who work and learn there look to solve problems. Whether those problems are down the street or on the other side of the world, these institutions are uniquely positioned to impact research, student success and community engagement because, by their nature, they are creative, innovative and forward-thinking.This week, hundreds of university leaders and industry experts from around the world gathered at the Times Higher Education Young Universities Summit to talk about what makes young universities so dynamic. Held for the first time in North America at the University of South Florida, the three-day event provided a place to share insights and strategies into how to push forward. At the same time, they also discussed their challenges in competing against their older, more-established peers in areas like recruitment, development and brand awareness.
One of USF’s greatest missions is to improve student success. The six-year graduation rate has greatly improved over the years, which today is at 71 percent. USF has taken a variety of steps to help eliminate the achievement gap for minority and low income students, which was the focus of today’s panel hosted by Paul Dosal, vice-president for student affairs and student success.
Participants discussed the importance of providing access to a high-quality education to students who wouldn’t have had it before with the end goal of employment. They shared efforts to mirror their student bodies to the surrounding demographics while continuing to improve the quality of applicants.
There are many ways to measure student success, however the definition changes over time. What may be considered a student’s hero today, may be less influential tomorrow. Young universities have the ability to evolve with their students and remain relevant throughout their lifetimes.
As universities are increasingly looked at as drivers of economic development, even outside of their educational missions, Sanberg explained how USF takes advantage of its youth to create a culture of innovation that might not be as accepted at an older institution. He cited USF’s strategic decisions to immerse students in experiential learning and entrepreneurial training, as well as support inventive faculty with tenure and promotion practices that reward them for producing new patents and creating startup companies.
“We are keenly aware of our responsibilities as a center of talent and knowledge in this new economy, and we’ve worked each year to build a stronger and more productive practices and process right here on campus so that we can feed into the larger Tampa Bay region’s innovation ecosystem,” said Sanberg, who is also the president of the National Academy of Inventors.
The panel featured senior leaders from universities in France, England, Scotland and Australia, as well as Elsevier, a global company that regularly partners with higher education institutions. Each shared their unique perspectives on challenges they encounter with several important topics, including working together with government agencies, partnering with private industry on taking new products to market, translating research on an international scale and using specific metrics to evaluate success.
USF moved up two spots from last year and is the only Florida university ranked in the top 100 of THE’s annual list of “Golden Age Universities.” The top four institutions are each from the University of California System.
Compared to all similar-aged public or private universities, THE ranks USF sixth in the U.S. and 36th worldwide.
The rankings were announced as part of THE’s Young Universities Summit, being hosted this week at USF with approximately 200 university presidents and higher education leaders in attendance.
“Young universities think and behave differently. We are agile, creative, innovative and propelled by our desire to shape the future,” said USF President Judy Genshaft. “At USF, we are proud to be recognized for our high achievements and preeminent stature that we’ve built in such a short period of time. We know this is just the beginning.”
The “Golden Age Universities” list offers a unique analysis that differs from many other rankings that compare USF to universities in the U.S. and across the world that were established well over 100 years ago. Founded in 1956, USF is still relatively young in higher education.
The ranking is another indicator of USF’s growing reputation on the national and international level. This week the National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association announced that USF is the nation’s fifth leading public university in generating new U.S. utility patents and ranks 12th among universities worldwide in this key measure of innovation.
For young universities around the world, building a strong, recognizable brand and positive reputation are critically important. Successful branding can help your institution attract students and faculty, build global partnerships and help you compete for sought after funding. So, what can young universities do to make their brands standout? Times Higher Education Branding Director Michael Lubacz has some tips:
1. Be proactive in telling your institution’s story and make the content easy to find on your university’s webpage. Lubacz says your website should be your most important marketing tool.
2. Seek out media placements – whether they’re earned or paid. Research shows that positive media exposure will create a lasting impact on the audience you’re trying to reach.
3. Make sure to have brand distinctiveness. How does your brand standout from your competitors?
4. Engage your audience with their eyes. The visual representation of your brand needs to attract positive attention and reflect your overall brand strategy.
5. Sell your destination. Will students, faculty and staff want to relocate to attend your university? Your location is a big part of your institution, so make it a part of your brand.
Their institutions may be less than 70 years old, but educational leaders participating in the Times Higher Ed Young Universities Summit are not intimidated by the “shadows” cast upon by long established universities. A panel lead by Karen Holbrook, regional chancellor, University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, discussed how such shadows create great opportunities.
These opportunities allow for young universities to pave their own paths and be bold in how they make that happen. Panelists represented universities in Ghana, Madrid, Colombia, Israel and China. All spoke about how they’ve been effective in boosting rankings and enrollment.
Just like USF, panelists explained their ongoing mission to be more innovative, distinctive and become more connected to their communities. They discussed the importance of collaborating with universities across the world and businesses that can help enhance their programs. Most importantly, they say it’s about the quality of faculty and caliber of students strengthening a young university’s position in the world.
New York University was established more than a century before the University of South Florida, yet it considers itself a “young” university. NYU President Andrew Hamilton shared his experiences in helping improve NYU’s stature by focusing on three points, which all emulate USF’s strategic mission today.
- Don't be afraid to make tough decisions.
- Be strategic about academic investment – and make the most of your institution's location.
- Take risks.
Dr. Hamilton says while NYU excels in rankings, there’s a great need to strengthen its engineering and sciences programs and improve affordability. As a “young” university, he says USF and other attendees are at an advantage as they aren’t afraid to make tough decisions and take risks, which is a weakness of long established universities. We can be bold.
University of South Florida student and member of the U.S. Army Reserve Stephanie Bauman is among 60 U.S. military service veterans and military spouses from across the nation named 2018 Tillman Military Scholars today by the Pat Tillman Foundation. Bauman, a senior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in physics, was awarded an $11,000 scholarship to complete her degree. Read the full story here.
Summit attendees joined USF Vice Provost Pritish Mukherjee, PhD, to discuss the importance of building alliances and networks among like-minded institutions.
Delegates from the Young European Research Universities Network (YERUN) and the Australian Technology Network (ATN), two existing university alliances, provided the group with insight into how their efforts have helped support student success and their strategic priorities.
Participants broke out into small work groups to brainstorm ways of using young university networks to enhance student learning, university/industry partnerships and faculty-exchange programs. The exercise was designed to get higher education leaders thinking about specific applications for these alliances – so that when they return to their home-institutions, they can move forward building these networks.
Mukherjee closed the session with a quote that reiterated the value and importance of developing these alliances: "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." -Helen Keller
USF News: USF Earns New Recognition as a Global Leader in Producing United States Patents
The international group of higher education leaders also had the opportunity to tour the USF Tampa campus. Summit attendees boarded buses for the tour and had stops at the USF School of Music, The Village residential community and the Interdisciplinary Sciences Building.
Welcome to Tampa Bay, 2018 Young University Summit attendees!
In the summit’s first session, Times Higher Education (THE) outlined plans for a new innovation & impact ranking to go along with their existing portfolio. Along with collecting data on industry income, technology-transfer, etc., the new ranking also looks beyond economic impact and explores the social impact that universities are having on the world.
To gauge 'social impact,' data scientists are developing systems to measure a variety of metrics, such as what universities are doing to alleviate inequality, tackle climate change eradicate hunger, etc.
THE expects to release the first Impact & Innovation Ranking in April 2019.
For the first time ever, higher education leaders from around the world have gathered in North America – Tampa to be precise – for the Times Higher Education Young Universities Summit.
Held in partnership with the University of South Florida, the summit brings together leaders from the world’s best and most ambitious young research universities to discuss their institutions’ success as knowledge creators and their impact on the wider higher education sector.
As an international academic news outlet, the U.K.-based Times Higher Education (THE) has held the annual summit at universities around the world, bringing it to USF and the U.S. for the first time – solidifying USF’s role as a trailblazer among these young institutions.
Over the next three days, the gathering will act as both an analysis and celebration of the top research universities founded over the last 70 years. Leaders will share and assess their strategies for success and how they compete against their more established peers. Uniquely positioned to impact student success, research and community engagement, young universities are, by their nature, creative, innovative and forward-thinking; paving their own paths forward and writing their own histories in the process.
Through this live blog, USF's
Communications & Marketing office will be providing updates and insight
throughout the three-day event – giving those unable to attend a look into this
prestigious summit. Be sure to
check back here regularly for updates. You can also follow the summit on social media through the hashtag, #YoungUni, or by following USF on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.