cltbwimob

The State of Higher Education in Charlotte

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I am creating this topic to start a general discussion on the state of higher education in Charlotte.  I thought it would be a good idea to have one consolidated topic focused purely on higher education rather than having a bunch of random bits and pieces posted on other topics throughout the forum.

 

I will start the discussion with one item which will, at a minimum, adversely affect the Charlotte School of Law, and may spell its ultimate doom.  The Charlotte School of Law is a for profit institution in the Infilaw system.  Initially, the school struggled to gain its financial footing but eventually found its way in large part due to loose standards placed on government-backed student loans. These student loans allowed the institution to charge tuition roughly equivalent to the Wake Forest School of Law despite not being nearly as reputable and not having nearly the success rate for graduates.

 

Recently, the US Department of Education passed a set of rules aimed at curbing predatory practices by for-profit institutions.  The rule is called the "Gainful Employment" regulation, and it attaches a set of metrics based on debt-to-earnings ratios that, if schools fail for a certain period of time, will result in their inability to partake in some (if not all) federal student loan programs.  The rule has been challenged, but the case was thrown out of court.  For a full explanation of the rule, see the attached websites/articles.

 

http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/fact-sheet-obama-administration-increases-accountability-low-performing-profit-institutions

 

http://www.americanlawyer.com/id=1202729986950/New-Rule-Spells-Trouble-for-ForProfit-Law-Schools

 

Given the [typically] abysmal employment outcomes for graduates of CSOL and the extraordinarily high cost to students, I do not expect it to earn passing grades under the new rules and I suspect it will lose its ability to partake in the federal loans programs on which it relies.  If the school becomes unprofitable, I imagine Infilaw will either shut it down or try to sell it to UNCC or Queens.  Either way, it seems like the for profit law school model has just been rendered unsustainable.  Any thoughts?

Edited by cltbwimob

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^ I think your analysis is correct, Charlotte school of law does not have much future as a stand alone organization. I also don't see many saleable assets -- what would Queens have to gain from buying the school? (Faculty are not considered an asset). Didn't Queens plan to put a law school in their uptown building (the current federal courthouse) when its available? I suspect that CSL relatively new leases uptown would be an impediment to that strategy.

UNCC won't even kick the tires unless CSL has some board members who are very well connected to the UNC System BOG (I don't think they do). That sort of decision could only be made in Chapel Hill (by the UNC system) or Raleigh (by the legislature) -- neither group would be motivated to do that deal in the absence of patronage.

Edited by kermit

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I don't see UCharlotte picking up CSL unless it's handed to them for free with whip cream and a cherry on top due to the politics and structure of the UNC System at large.  The funding would never be allowed unless it was clear to bring a profit in the short term, which I highly doubt it could.

 

Queens, however, stands to gain a lot should the possibility ever roll their way.  Adding a "mildly established" graduate program to their curriculum would be a major boon and increase the school's overall reputation.

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Never a good bet to under estimate the gaul and survivability of a bunch of leaching lawyers.  

Edited by Bikeguy
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There are too, too many law schools in the US.

 

There are too, too many people who graduate with debt-laden JDs who either cannot pass a bar exam or even if they do pass it, cannot obtain employment as a lawyer.

 

So a law school for Charlotte should not be our goal. A medical school is much more likely, yet still distant.

 

But Charlotte's real need is a major research university.Until we have that (and we may never have it) we will have a big hole in our civic landscape.

 

Atlanta-2-Ga Tech and Emory

Raleigh-3 if you count all the Triangle universities, 1 in-town, NC State.

Nashville-Vandy

Miami-U of Miami

Austin-UT

Dallas-SMU

Houston-Rice and U of Houston

Knoxville-the other UT 

 

Washington, Baltimore. Philadelphia, New York (please, and they've just launched Cornell-Technion or Cornell-Tech) Boston (mercy) Chicago, St Louis, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay, Seattle, Minneapolis...on and on.

 

North Carolina will never, ever fund UNC Charlotte adequately. Hell, the state doesn't fund the UNC system adequately.

 

So Charlotte must figure out a way to build UNC Charlotte on its own.

 

Or we're gonna regret it.

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What Charlotte really needs is a city, or metropolitan area specific education and research endowment.  Something that provides for staffing of departments, tuition reduction, scholarships, and research funding for higher education in the Charlotte area (ie: UNC Charlotte, J.C. Smith, Queens, area graduate schools doing research, and maybe colleges like Davidson, Pfeiffer, Gardner-Webb, etc...)

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Unc charlotte explored buying csol back in 08. Can't remember if unc charlotte backed out or csol, but obviously it did t happen.

My roommate was student president at the time so he sat in on all the trustee meetings, so he was a part of these discussions. I have no idea how far along the discussions went, but it has definitely been explored before.

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Despite its abysmal reputation and its poor graduate outcomes I think both UNCC and Queens could gain a lot by being able to buy the school.  If either were able to buy CSOL, they would get a law school that is already ABA accredited rather than having to build one from the ground.  Furthermore, it would be the first "first-professional" program at either school and would likely boost either school's reputation.  I also think CSOL would gain a lot from being attached to either school as well.  It would instantly raise the reputation of the institution because it would no longer be "for profit".  

 

If the new Gainful Employment rules do adversely affect the school to the point where Infilaw would have to sell it to a local institution, I think UNCC would be the best fit because it already has partnerships with the school in the form of joint degrees and a sale to UNCC has already been explored at least once.  Also, a UNCC takeover could actually accomplish the intended goal of Gainful Employment regulations by reducing the debt burden to students.  I think UNCC would be able to bring tuition costs out of the stratosphere since it keeps costs to students very low even by public school standards.  Given that Queens is a private school, I do not think they could bring the costs down nearly as far as UNCC can.

 

On the other hand, I think Queens would likely be the actual winner if CSOL were sold in a fire sale because it is not a public institution.  Once again, UNCC is forever shackled to the whims of a BoG that wants to concentrate all power in UNCCH/NCSU and is further bound by a legislature that seems anti-education.  Queens does not have those same constraints, so it would likely have the maneuverability to win the school.  As an aside, I think the CSOL was one of the major reasons Queens shelved their original law school plans.  If CSOL were to be listed for sale, I think Queens would be able to dust off its plans for an internal law school by buying the school.

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There are too, too many law schools in the US.

 

There are too, too many people who graduate with debt-laden JDs who either cannot pass a bar exam or even if they do pass it, cannot obtain employment as a lawyer.

 

So a law school for Charlotte should not be our goal. A medical school is much more likely, yet still distant.

 

But Charlotte's real need is a major research university.Until we have that (and we may never have it) we will have a big hole in our civic landscape.

 

Atlanta-2-Ga Tech and Emory

Raleigh-3 if you count all the Triangle universities, 1 in-town, NC State.

Nashville-Vandy

Miami-U of Miami

Austin-UT

Dallas-SMU

Houston-Rice and U of Houston

Knoxville-the other UT 

 

Washington, Baltimore. Philadelphia, New York (please, and they've just launched Cornell-Technion or Cornell-Tech) Boston (mercy) Chicago, St Louis, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay, Seattle, Minneapolis...on and on.

 

North Carolina will never, ever fund UNC Charlotte adequately. Hell, the state doesn't fund the UNC system adequately.

 

So Charlotte must figure out a way to build UNC Charlotte on its own.

 

Or we're gonna regret it.

I agree with everything you said-except the law school part.  We should strive to have at least one reputable law school.  UNCC or Queens could potentially help provide our current school of law that reputation because it would not because they would not have as big of an incentive to admit large amounts of students.  As a result, either could tighten admissions standards and reduce the overproduction of lawyers.

 

The whole business model of the for profit law schools is to expand enrollment to large numbers of candidates, including many who would not be able to gain admission to other schools, and charge exorbitant tuition rates that could be covered by federally-backed student loans.  Due to loose loan standards of the past, the model of for profit education was highly lucrative since profits could be privatized but losses socialized.  With the new standards, such a model seems much less sustainable.

Edited by cltbwimob

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What Charlotte really needs is a city, or metropolitan area specific education and research endowment.  Something that provides for staffing of departments, tuition reduction, scholarships, and research funding for higher education in the Charlotte area (ie: UNC Charlotte, J.C. Smith, Queens, area graduate schools doing research, and maybe colleges like Davidson, Pfeiffer, Gardner-Webb, etc...)

 

DEnd brings up a valid question.  Is it actually possible for there to be a local subsidy of some kind that supports higher education, public or private.  Would the BoG allow (only) UNC-Charlotte to receive funding from extra taxes?  I mean, they are more than welcome to accept donations, so what if it were a donation from the metro/city itself? 

 

As far as I'm aware, the city of Charlotte has little control of the success of UNC Charlotte outside of supporting it through non-financial means.  They however do need to stop allowing piss-poor developers to do whatever they want around the campus.  If the city could set up strict zoning around the campus that it actually abides by, the school could have a shot of bringing in more credible students by having the community be part of the school's appeal.

 

Oh, and the city also cannot allow the state to widen University City Blvd to SIX LANES (WTF!?!)  I can't see the "asphalt moat" making it onto the brochure.  The widening isn't even necessary, set up or upgrade another parallel route to UCB49/Tryon29 to allow people to get from UCity to Concord/Harrisburg.  If anything, it needs a road diet. 

 

The school really needs to beef up progress/buildings along its border roads to increase the need for more pedestrian friendly development and state infrastructure on them.  Why else would a developer be inclined to build street-front retail if there are barely any pedestrians in the first place.  There needs to be a catalyst and I don't believe the BLE is enough.

Edited by AuLukey

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I don't know what the legalities are as far as the city funding programs at UNCC.  One thing I do know is that increasing the offerings at the university-especially in the realm of STEM, business, and first professional programs-can have incredibly positive results.  

 

If the city can legally provide the funding, then it makes much more sense from an economic development standpoint to create an endowment for funding research intensive majors/programs than to subsidize tinker toys such as movie studios and amateur sports complexes.  Those initiatives have dubious results at best, and building an economic development strategy around them is tantamount to building a house starting with the roof.  Unfortunately, the city often approaches economic development from such angles.

 

EDIT-Outside UNCC, I wonder if the city would legally be able to start a full-fledged medical school with city funds.  Kind of like University of DC is a city supported public institution, so too could be a hypothetical Charlotte School of Medicine.  Or perhaps a PPP between the city and all local private universities could be used to fund a medical school (somewhat similar to the Northeastern Ohio Medical University) would be a useful model as well.

Edited by cltbwimob

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Its not a well developed plan but the Applied Innovation Corridor plan is a first step in the process. The city and university both understand the synergy that exists between EPIC and the local energy cluster.

 

Its hard for me to imagine a time when the city / county would be willing to provide funding to a state institution (despite it being a good idea) -- but I do see increased discussion of opportunities for collaboration. I do believe that these opportunities for collaboration will grow when the BLE opens and creates a stronger cultural/social/economic connection between UNCC and the city. I think campus will quickly feel less like UNC Newell and more like the University of Charlotte.

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DEnd brings up a valid question.  Is it actually possible for there to be a local subsidy of some kind that supports higher education, public or private.  Would the BoG allow (only) UNC-Charlotte to receive funding from extra taxes?  I mean, they are more than welcome to accept donations, so what if it were a donation from the metro/city itself? 

 

 

It would be best if it were a semi-private civic function instead of being tax payer supported.  Something set up like the ASC in governance (ie governed by our civic leaders) but instead of spending money as they get it, set it up as a more traditional endowment.  Basically to work as a bridge between civic, business and educational sectors to meet the city's needs and goals. 

 

For Example a clear need for the city is having a strong banking educational system, with Wake Forrest, and Pfieffer we have that, but it could fund chairs and research, providing additional economic strength in banking for the city, aside from our regional advantages.  It could also provide minority and disadvantaged scholarships/ low cost loans as a way of meeting the city's and business's goal of being more diverse in regards to professional jobs.

 

Many of the same advantages are also present (though to a smaller degree) with Computer, Mechanical, and Bio Engineering/Technology.  This would also give the city additional strength for it's Applied Innovation Corridor.

 

Perhaps the biggest challenge is supporting a medical school.  It could perhaps (with a few million dollars) start by endowing MD, Nursing, and PharmD. Residency and Fellowship positions.  At the same time a portion of donations can go towards a full medical school.

 

To give an off the cuff estimation of what is needed, let's say we want to fund a chair in the first two categories (Banking and Engineering/Technology) and a Residency in the medical category.  Let's say the annual salary for a chair runs $75000 a year (with medical and retirement funded by the school) and let's use a conservative draw rate on our investments of 2%, we would need $3.75 million for each of the chairs.  The medical residency cost would likely need an investment of about $2.5 million, with a resident salary of $50,000 a year.  That's a total of $10 million.  There are also fund raising and administration cost, which if we are lucky could be 25% meaning we'd likely need to raise a total of  at least $12.5 million.  To put that into perspective the annual budget of the Charlotte Arts and Science Council is about $9 million. 

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Queens has the largest Nursing School in the state,   a professor at Queens told me.

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Let's say the annual salary for a chair runs $75000 a year (with medical and retirement funded by the school)

Your number is on target if you are assuming the University is already paying the base salary of the chair. Typical chair salaries (not including benefits) start around $150k (in social sciences), well over $200k in busienss and prof fields. Salaries in Charlotte would need to be higher than average to attract talented folks due to the low international visibility / reputation of higher ed here.

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One question I wonder, is what is the best way to raise the profile of a school?  I know the answer might be all-of-the-above, but wonder what is the "fastest" way to establishing UNCC as a premier research university so that is does have great visibility.

 

1) Focus on 3-5 programs, and dump tons of money there to get them to be top ranked in nation and creating a halo affect for the school overall?

2) Raise admission standards and slow growth to push the school up the USN&WR rankings (this obviously has negative side affects)

3) Beg/plead for more PhD programs?  Maybe direct endowment money for this effort?

 

 

I think the 10-year goal should be Top-100 undergrad ranking in USN&WR and at least 2 master's ranked in Top 5.

 

Is that in any-way attainable?

 

I do think the lack of a premium research university or a Top-25 MBA program that can compete for the top 5% of students is the single-biggest obstacle in the city's future.  With it, Charlotte would be an unstoppable force that can clearly separate itself from Raleigh, Nashville, and Tampa.  Charlotte and Atlanta would be the only 2 relavent cities in the Southeast.

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atlrvr, #2 is null because DuBois has said repeatedly that the school does not send in up to date information to suit USN&WR.  If the school would do so, the university would rank much higher.  All one has to do is look at Washington Monthly and Forbes to see that.  But rankings are pretty dumb, and I still don't see how people, and schools keep believing that they are the end all to how prestigious a school is academically.  There are schools ranked ahead of UNC Charlotte, that one would never have even thought would be in the same "league," such as Biola and La Verne.  It's a wonder people haven't seen the fraud in such rankings. 

 

#3 seems to be held up by the Legislature because of funding. I believe there are a couple of programs hoping to develop PhD programs, but they have no funding to do so.  Who knows what could happen. 

 

#1 is hard, but it's the fastest way to gain attention.  A Law School and Medical School would bring more profile to the school, but again, the school is at the mercy of the state.  

 

I just finished grad school in NYC, and there are a ton of people who see UNC Charlotte, and know that it is separate from UNC Chapel Hill, and that it is a pretty notable school in its own right.  But it's a vocal minority compared to the people who think it's the same as CPCC. 

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One question I wonder, is what is the best way to raise the profile of a school?  I know the answer might be all-of-the-above, but wonder what is the "fastest" way to establishing UNCC as a premier research university so that is does have great visibility.

 

1) Focus on 3-5 programs, and dump tons of money there to get them to be top ranked in nation and creating a halo affect for the school overall?

2) Raise admission standards and slow growth to push the school up the USN&WR rankings (this obviously has negative side affects)

3) Beg/plead for more PhD programs?  Maybe direct endowment money for this effort?

 

 

I think the 10-year goal should be Top-100 undergrad ranking in USN&WR and at least 2 master's ranked in Top 5.

 

Is that in any-way attainable?.

Strategy #1 is what is currently being attempted (althought not very effectively IMO -- legislative issues are a BIG impediment to attracting top faculty at the moment). EPIC is the main face of this effort. I think growth of EPIC has stalled lately due to funding issues.

Strategy #2 is impossible and also unrealistic. The UNC System plans for most of the system's growth to occur at UNCC (even though they havn't paid for that growth since 2008). Any efforts to raise admissions criteria significantly would be stopped by the system. The unrealistic part of the strategy is related to the University's urban setting. Good students like to go to college in picturesque places (think Chapel Hill) that hopefully have 'college' infrastructure (e.g. Hillsbourgh st in Raleigh, 9th st in Durham, Franklin and Rosemary in Chapel Hill). While Dubois and Woodward were successful in dressing up campus a bit, UNCC simply doesn't have the college town feel necessary to consistently compete for strong students

Strategy #3 worked well from 2001-2008. The graduate profile of the university improved substantially during that time. Unfortunately the state and system budget no longer accomodates new Ph.D. Programs (Art Pope does not want them) and new Programs that directly compete with existing programs elsewhere in the UNC system generally get shot down during the planning process. Ph.D. Programs support themselves (generate student funding) from faculty research grants, unfortunately the pot of money for grants is shrinking (particularly at the national level) and the competition for grants is increasing (every regional state school is striving to be a major research universiy) so just sustaining existing graduate programs is becoming more difficult.

Basically the low hanging fruit has been picked.

Your goal is a reasonable one (top 100 UG and having some well respected Masters programs). However, building the university's reputation via better graduate programs almost always makes the undergraduate worse (faculty are spending their time trying to get grants rather than teaching). The qualiy of undergrad teaching is measurably worse at UNCC now compared to a decade ago. Building both areas of instruction is impossible in a budget constrained environment.

A strategy that I think could work is to create more linkages btw local firms and UNCC's graduate programs. Firms could fund student assistantships (10-15k per year for masters level students) and in return they could get 20 hrs of 'research' labor from the students per week. They students would get professional and academic training and firms would get a more tailored workforce. Scaling this model up to make UNCC the campus for professional (rather than academic) training at the graduate level would be a true niche in the state. It might also have some appeal to the RWNJ's who are currently pulling the budget levers.

(UNCC's primary focus with its graduate programs is training people to become academics. IMO this is beyond stupid since 1) the job marktet sucks and is not getting better and 2) academic jobs overwhemingly go to grads of top 10 programs (think Ivy League). UNCC simply can't compete in this space)

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Admissions standards have been increasing. When I went there in 05-09, it was extremely easy to get in. I think the acceptance rate was like 75% back then.

 

Today, it is like 61%.

 

More kids are applying than ever and only so many can get in, so the school has the ability to be more selective. It'll never be <50% acceptance though because it is here to provide affordable education to city residents. Urban public schools are very rarely extremely selective because that doesn't fulfill their mission.

 

I couldn't care less about overall admission standards. I only care about specific programs, and the school has some good ones.

 

UNC Charlotte has one of the best average starting salaries for graduates in the state. I think only Duke, NCSU, Wake Forest, and maybe Davidson rank ahead of it. This is largely because of business and engineering jobs that pay great salaries even to inexperienced workers. UNC Charlotte students are well positioned for good jobs out of school because there are tons of  internship opportunities they can have not only over the summer, but during the school year. Kids that go away to school can only do internships in the summer months while some students at Charlotte get the opportunity to do them all year and come out of college extremely prepared for their careers.

 

While Charlotte certainly isn't a "premier" research institution, they have some great research programs and Dubois has done a great job lining up partnerships at the Charlotte Research Institute. We have a lot of great relationships, particularly with the energy industry. 

 

There are 4 research institutes in the UNC system--Chapel Hill, Charlotte, NCSU, and ECU. ECU and Charlotte are schools that have been specifically designated for future growth in the system, so both schools will grow their programs and credibility. We'll eventually get better representation on the BoG and hopefully a more powerful voice for professional programs.

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A strategy that I think could work is to create more linkages btw local firms and UNCC's graduate programs. Firms could fund student assistantships (10-15k per year for masters level students) and in return they could get 20 hrs of 'research' labor from the students per week. They students would get professional and academic training and firms would get a more tailored workforce. Scaling this model up to make UNCC the campus for professional (rather than academic) training at the graduate level would be a true niche in the state. It might also have some appeal to the RWNJ's who are currently pulling the budget levers.

(UNCC's primary focus with its graduate programs is training people to become academics. IMO this is beyond stupid since 1) the job marktet sucks and is not getting better and 2) academic jobs overwhemingly go to grads of top 10 programs (think Ivy League). UNCC simply can't compete in this space)

This strategy would be a good start, and companies such as Areva and Siemens have shown a willingness to enter into partnerships with the University to build facilities such as EPIC

 

I think the city should seriously consider funding some programs at UNCC as well as an economic and workforce development initiative.  Think about how many engineering programs could have been funded with the $13 mil the city instead frivolously spent on Eastland, and $37 mil it was willing to spend on Goodsports Bojangles amateur sports complex.  Higher education, especially in the research intensive fields, is a known economic multiplier.  Amateur sports and movie studios, conversely, do little more than increase the number of room-nights for local hotels and the dollars spent at local restaurants.  Hardly comparable to what a mega research university can accomplish with the same money in terms of economic development.

 

But alas, I expect to see the city continue to flounder in many ways with economic strategies that focus on minor economic benefits such as increasing demand for hotel room-nights rather than concentrating on efforts to build an economy based on established economic development principles.  It is the metaphorical equivalent of making an ice cream sundae by starting with the cherry on top.  In the meantime, Charlotte will still continue to be the epicenter of the nuclear engineering industry, and UNCC will have no program for nuclear engineers.  It will continue to be one of the largest specialty chemical manufacturing areas in the country, but will not have a school that can train chemical engineers.  It will continue to be a mega banking center but not have a top ranked business school (of its own) nor will it have big time economics, accounting, and finance programs....And the list goes on and on and on. 

 

Atlrvr is right, if educational/research opportunities abounded to even half the extent they do in the Triangle area Universities, we would be untouched in the Carolinas.

Edited by cltbwimob

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One question I wonder, is what is the best way to raise the profile of a school?  I know the answer might be all-of-the-above, but wonder what is the "fastest" way to establishing UNCC as a premier research university so that is does have great visibility.

 

1) Focus on 3-5 programs, and dump tons of money there to get them to be top ranked in nation and creating a halo affect for the school overall?

2) Raise admission standards and slow growth to push the school up the USN&WR rankings (this obviously has negative side affects)

3) Beg/plead for more PhD programs?  Maybe direct endowment money for this effort?

 

 

I think the 10-year goal should be Top-100 undergrad ranking in USN&WR and at least 2 master's ranked in Top 5.

 

Is that in any-way attainable?

 

I do think the lack of a premium research university or a Top-25 MBA program that can compete for the top 5% of students is the single-biggest obstacle in the city's future.  With it, Charlotte would be an unstoppable force that can clearly separate itself from Raleigh, Nashville, and Tampa.  Charlotte and Atlanta would be the only 2 relevant cities in the Southeast.

 

Exactly so.

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I think the 10-year goal should be Top-100 undergrad ranking in USN&WR and at least 2 master's ranked in Top 5.

 

Is that in any-way attainable?

 

I do think the lack of a premium research university or a Top-25 MBA program that can compete for the top 5% of students is the single-biggest obstacle in the city's future.  With it, Charlotte would be an unstoppable force that can clearly separate itself from Raleigh, Nashville, and Tampa.  Charlotte and Atlanta would be the only 2 relavent cities in the Southeast.

 

I don't think a 10 year top 5 in any field is do-able.  Part of that ranking is based on reputation, and building that reputation is a monumental generational to multi-generational task.

 

That said there are a few ways to increase our standings using the current system, The easy ones are funding chairs, departments, and scholarships/fellowships/graduate positions.  By providing that funding we increase the student population for programs of interest to the city.  It also lowers the amount needed for research grants.

 

The next easiest step we could take is providing partial grant matching, which again lowers the amount needed for a grant increasing the competitiveness of a research proposal. 

 

The hardest thing to do would be providing full research grants, for these the city would need experts in a wide range of fields with the ability to suggest which research would be most likely to generate quality research. 

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I recently came across some articles describing the failed attempt to bring a branch campus of the Rhode Island School of Design to Charlotte.  Although the recruiting effort did not lead to the founding of a Charlotte campus of RISD, it raises one intriguing possibility-the idea that a city can recruit schools.  In addition to RISD, there is also precedent in JWU for such efforts.

Given the current situation in Raleigh and the UNC BOG, I wonder if recruiting well-regarded private schools to open local campuses is a good way to fulfill some of the needs of the city with respect to higher education.  One particular school which I think would be well worth the recruiting effort would be Embry Riddle.  Embry Riddle is a very STEM-heavy university which could bring a good deal of programs that would be unique in Charlotte such as Aeronautics, Aerospace Engineering, Cybersecurity, etc. 

Embry Riddle has small outposts all around the country, but that is not what I  envision here.  I think to make it worth the effort, the city would need to approach the university about building a full scale campus in Charlotte much like the campuses they have in Arizona and Florida where they currently house the aforementioned programs and more. 

I see a couple of very big potential benefits if, hypothetically, the city was able to attract an Embry Riddle campus.  For one, it would fill some gaping holes in the Charlotte higher education scene, namely a lack of programs for STEM focused individuals, especially those who want to have a career in an aviation field.  Another benefit would be that, if the campus were built near the airport, it could perhaps kick off the development of that area, and it could provide a direct training pipeline for aviation-related employers that may want to have operations near the airport such as a major aerospace manufacturer.

http://daytonabeach.erau.edu/degrees/index.html

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To reiterate your point, didn't Northeastern open up a campus here?  I would assume it is pretty much a FIRE-heavy program, but still a good point of recognition.  Also Wake Forest's business school program is a great asset. 

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Isn't the UNC system being dismantled by the NCGA and UNC Board of Governors?  

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