Key Takeaway

This report draws from past examples to identify six types of bold postsecondary transformation as they consider their future identity, financial longevity, and role in their community. Ultimately, the transformations are about leaders building new partnerships with their communities that let them evolve to meet a changing world.


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Colleges and universities are experiencing stagnant enrollment, higher costs, and heightened competition from online programs and new kinds of training. Faced with this financial reality, higher education leaders are confronting the question of how to prepare for the future.

Download this report to explore six archetypes of bold postsecondary transformation—opportunities for institutions to reimagine the role of their campus assets. These transformations have converted dorms to senior housing, created new on-campus joint ventures, developed centers for innovation, established hubs for community services, and more. Our hope is that this work will inspire trustees, presidents, and community partners to consider more transformative, long-term changes to help postsecondary institutions thrive in an increasingly uncertain era.

This work has been made possible by generous support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Institutions have conceptualized the campus as an isolated island, and an exclusive island at that. What would happen if they began to reimagine themselves as a more porous institution that is connected to the broader and larger community?

Henry Taylor

Professor of Urban & Regional Planning, University at Buffalo

Henry Taylor headshot

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