University Design Consortium
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Our Goals & Outcomes:

Leadership development

Goals: To inspire leading edge thinking in higher education institutions, especially in countries seeking systemic reform of their tertiary sector.

The Leadership Seminar Program offers training sessions ranging from several days to several weeks, focused on creative change to help higher education institutions better serve the societies in which they are located. Groups of faculty and administrators from China and Vietnam have been the most recent participants. Each seminar is tailored to the specific needs of the groups involved.

In 2010-2012, the University Design Consortium seeks to expand its service in those two nations and in other countries seeking change in their higher education systems. In addition, UDC will seek to create opportunities for individuals from several nations to meet together on reforms in specific thematic areas.

Outcomes: Participants will learn about innovations in American higher education, meet counterparts at ASU, and take new ideas back to their home institutions for adaptation. As a result, colleges and universities, especially in developing countries, will leap-frog to the forefront of higher education innovation.



Goals: To link people together through vibrant global dialogues to stimulate thought, encourage good practices, and support innovations in higher education.

Arizona State University and Sichuan University have jointly sponsored four Forums for University Design between 2005 and 2010, involving university presidents and other senior leaders, government officials, scholars and other academic leaders. These forums have explored such topics as entrepreneurship, social embeddedness, and research universities in the 21st century.

At the local level, a one-day symposium in Arizona in 2009 brought university and community representatives together to enhance partnerships for the benefit of the greater Phoenix area. Presentations at international conferences on university-community partnerships have broadened the conversation about higher education’s service to society.

In 2010-2012, we will continue the program directions already established with the goal of expanding participation and membership. We will work closely with other universities to provide synergy among otherwise discrete activities. In addition we use technology to create virtual dialogues among like-minded persons, both by video tools and written discussions through our website.

Outcomes: UDC forums, symposia and other dialogues will increase personal and institutional effectiveness among participants.


Research and resources

Goals: To provide new models of innovation in higher education to help reformers avoid “reinvention of the wheel.” To be recognized nationally and internationally as a leading source of information on positive change and creative approaches to major challenges of the 21st century.

Higher education leaders and others committed to reform are often not aware of creative ideas developed in other settings, yet they could benefit from the experiences of others. This is especially true of persons in locations far from the mainstream of higher education dialogue. The University Design Consortium has developed a database of good practices around four themes: organizational design, internationalization, sustainability, and community engagement.

In addition, the annual ASU Awards for Innovation in Higher Education recognize the accomplishments of leading universities in promoting more effective practices in these four areas mentioned above.

Publications include Public Universities and Regional Development, a collection of 15 case studies worldwide of university-community partnerships. Sichuan University also publishes a Chinese language journal, Journal of University Development, focusing on theory and practice in higher education reform.

In 2010-2012, we will expand the data base significantly with more case studies from higher education worldwide; we will continue the Awards for Innovation each year. We also plan a second book of case studies on community engagement as well as a volume on organizational design.

Outcomes: Printed material and web-based information will be a highly regarded source of information on higher education innovation, with increasing numbers of individuals and institutions involved in sharing existing experience and in developing new models in the four areas of focus.


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