The Indispensable University describes the innovative transformation of institutions of higher education (HEIs) across the world, in response to the emerging realities of the twenty-first century global knowledge-based economy, as well as describes how HEIs are defining many of today's economic realities on a regional level. HEIs continue to drive economic development through their traditional roles of purchaser, employer, real estate developer, workforce developer and community developer. But these roles now must be executed more strategically and collaboratively. Also, the twenty-first century economy offers universities unique opportunities to generate the intellectual and financial capital that drives emerging knowledge-based industries. Case studies are drawn from: urban America; rural America; Europe; the Middle East; and emerging countries. Some of the topics covered include the following: the role of university presidents as change leaders; the relationship between higher education institutions and the political leadership of cities, states, and nations; successful models of partnerships between higher education and the private sector; and future challenges and opportunities facing the modern university.
As the fourth president of Virginia Commonwealth University and the president and chair of the board of directors of the VCU Health System, Eugene P. Trani positioned the university as a key driver in regional and statewide economic development. Currently president emeritus and university distinguished professor at VCU, Trani has authored, co-authored, annotated, and edited eight books and published more than one hundred articles and op-eds, including two major books on foreign policy. Robert D. Holsworth was the founding director of both the Center for Public Policy and the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University. He has authored or co-authored five books and numerous articles on American politics and public policy. His observations on national and Virginia politics have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and numerous other media. He runs the non-partisan political Web site VirginiaTomorrow.com and is a principal in two research and planning groups.