For some time, I have believed that colleges and universities should directly address their role in economic development, and they should recognize this role in their organizational mission and vision statements.
Here is an example of how one university, Cleveland State University (CSU), where I worked for nearly 15 years as director of the Economic Development Center, reflects economic development in its vision statement.
This statement was issued by CSU President Michael Schwartz (in photo to left). In my mind, this is a statement of leadership when an academic institution formally acknowledges its role in economic development.
"We will be recognized as a student-focused center of scholarly excellence that provides an accessible and exceptional education to all. We will be a place of opportunity for those who seek truth, strive toward excellence and seek a better life for themselves and for their fellow citizens. As a leader in innovative collaboration — both internally and externally — with business, industry, government, educational institutions and the community, the University will be a critical force in the region's economic development. We will be at the forefront of moral, ethical, social, artistic and economic leadership for the future and embrace the vitality that comes with risk. We will be the strongest public university in the region and be known for our scholarship in service to students and to our community."
If your local college or university has not taken the step to add economic development to its vision and mission statement, perhaps you should urge academic officials to do so.
Read more here about Cleveland State University.