Thursday, December 22, 2011

Inside Higher Ed, December 20, 2011, Tuesday

Inside Higher Ed

December 20, 2011, Tuesday

Inside Higher Ed (full article)

The Lure of the City

A Metropolitan Prize

Cornell had good reason to push so hard. Of the private universities in the Association of American Universities, Cornell is the only one whose main campus is not located in an urban area. The university’s medical center is in Manhattan, and it runs several programs in the city, but its main efforts are concentrated in Ithaca, a four-hour drive from New York City and about an hour away from Syracuse, the closest major city.

While that might be a good environment for an undergraduate university or for the agriculture-focused parts of a land-grant university (all of which are parts of Cornell), it makes it difficult to engage in certain types of research and technology transfer. “Our location is a disadvantage,” said Ronald G. Ehrenberg, a professor of industrial and labor relations and economics at Cornell and a higher education researcher. “It is very, very difficult for us to do the kind of development here through tech transfer that a place like Stanford or Berkeley can do in San Francisco or Harvard or MIT can do in Boston.”

“There is no transportation here,” he added. “If you were trying to attract startup companies to Ithaca, it isn’t easy. If you are creating products for a local market, the market here is so small that it’s tough to get off the ground.”