Driving Innovation at the Urban Research University


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Driving Innovation at the Urban Research University – with Harlan Sands

How can an urban research university serve as an anchor for its community—attracting employers and giving talent a reason to stay in the city after graduation? Harlan Sands believes that the key is to serve as a hub of innovation, aligning skills taught with the needs of a modern economy.

Harlan is the newly appointed President of Cleveland State University. A highly regarded leader in higher education, Harlan has 30-plus years of experience at urban research universities. Harlan has served as a thought leader, academic administrator, business process changemaker, professor and student advocate. Prior to his career in higher ed, he served as a public defender in the city of Miami, litigating more than 50 trials in state and county court. Harlan holds a BS in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, an MBA from George Washington University, and a JD from George Mason.

Today, Harlan joins me to walk us through the diverse career path that led to his current role as President of Cleveland State. I ask him about the value of an urban research institution as an anchor to its city, and he describes his vision for CSU as a driver of innovation. Harlan shares the previous accomplishments he is most proud of, from supporting faculty in conducting vital research to engaging students and staff in a university’s mission. Listen in for Harlan’s insight on the role of student housing in creating a living and learning community on campus and learn how mentors can help you in the pursuit of lifelong learning!

Topics Covered

  • The diverse career path that led Harlan to his new role with CSU
  • Harlan’s background in both academia and administration
  • The importance of a research institution as an anchor to its city
  • How a university can serve to draw people to the community
  • Harlan’s vision for Cleveland State as a driver of innovation
  • Attracting employers by aligning skill sets taught with market needs
  • Why 80% of CSU grads stay in the city of Cleveland
  • Harlan’s aim to engage students and staff in the university’s mission
  • How Harlan supports faculty in conducting research
  • Harlan’s take on students as clients or customers
  • The role of student housing in promoting retention and progression
  • Why student success should be the starting point for student housing
  • How student housing contributes to a living and learning community
  • Harlan’s advice around the pursuit of lifelong learning
  • The idea of MBWA (Management By Walking Around)

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