Higher Education as the Engine of the American Economy

This article was adapted from a talk presented by U.Va. President Teresa Sullivan at the university’s Miller Center of Public Affairs on September 7, 2011. According to the president, “Our colleges and universities have the necessary elements of human talent, a culture of cross-disciplinary collaboration, and a long view perspective, to lead to a new, sustained renaissance in American innovation and economic growth.”Sullivan makes the case that in recent years federal investment in university research has leveled off and even declined. At the same time, states’ support for public colleges and universities has been cut dramatically. These developments cause a threat to the success of academic research. The president says, “...we need a renewed national acknowledgement of the essential role that colleges and universities play in driving the economy, followed by appropriate investments to support that role.” Adding to the severity of the problems is that “Our global competitors are investing in higher education now, and we need to do the same, just to keep pace.” President Sullivan concludes, “Our nation’s colleges and universities, together, form a collective engine of knowledge growth and innovation. With adequate support, this great engine can propel us into a bright future of economic prosperity. Without adequate support for higher education, we might just stay stuck in the mud.”
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Publication Date
Oct 11, 2011
Publication Series
The Virginia News Letter