Michael Crow talks New American University model before World Bank members

Universities, in their current form, cannot match accessibility and excellence and instead will choose to head down one path or the other, ASU President Michael Crow said Monday in Washington, D.C., before members of The World Bank, various nongovernmental organizations and representatives of other universities.

The World Bank is an international financial institution focused on reducing poverty in the developing world by providing loans and poverty-reduction programs.

Crow attended the event to speak on how universities in the developing world can help economies and how best to do so.



His message focused on the New American University model, which departs from more traditional models such as colonial colleges, like Harvard or College of William & Mary, or land grant universities, like Ohio State University and University of California, Berkeley.

“For some reason, we stopped designing higher education," Crow said. "How do we design new universities?”

The New American University model is seen as an alternative that achieves both accessibility and excellence, the two main goals of university education set by the World Bank.

Traditional models generally fail to achieve both goals, Crow said, giving the example of UCLA and California State University, Los Angeles.

UCLA is seen as the better school and has more published writers, celebrities, Olympians and Nobel Laureates. However, UCLA has more NCAA titles than it has non-athlete black male freshmen, while CSULA is much more diverse, inclusive, and affordable, Crow said.

ASU’s goal is to combine both of these options, Crow said.

Under Crow, ASU has doubled its number of graduates per year from 9,000 to 18,000, and for the first time in ASU’s history, the demographics of the University match those of Arizona as a whole, lining up with different races and income levels. Research activity has quadrupled, despite the fact that ASU hasn’t increased the size of its staff at all, he said.

The New American University model focuses on a specific set of changes from the more traditional models. The most notable of these changes are focusing on the students and communities within the school, mastering time and the academic calendar to stay agile and adaptable, and resisting the urge to focus on rankings and replicate other universities such as UC Berkeley or Harvard.

Despite his mentions of other schools, Crow stressed that there wasn’t anything inherently wrong with any other schools or their models of education. He said ASU isn’t trying to do something better, but something different.

However, other universities have been slow to adopt these changes, he said.

Political science professor Okechukwu Iheduru said these changes have benefited the University.

“ASU has gotten better (under Crow)," he said. "If you look at metrics like Fulbright Scholars, ASU is actually doing better than a lot of Ivy League institutions. I think the fact that the World Bank noticed President Crow says a lot about him and the New American University model that he supports.”

Reach the reporter at dhignutt@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @DavidHignutt

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