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Higher Ed in the News

How to build a perception of university greatness

November 16, 2010

Through strong leadership, a focus on excellent programs, or being attuned to something in the zeitgeist, certain nationally known universities have created a perception that they belong at the top of the heap.

Some principles of slowly and sustainably building a perception of greatness, as identified by experts in higher education:

  • High-quality institutions have identified unique or distinctive strengths in their programs and put resources into those, perhaps at the expense of others.
  • Colleges can either thrive or founder on the basis of their leaders.
  • Many big name universities are located in a "hot" city. Is it coincidence that "hot" colleges—New York University, George Washington University, the University of Southern California, to name a few—are located in coastal urban areas?
  • Lots of colleges have strong programs. The ones that are perceived as high quality are better at promoting them.
  • Successful institutions of the future will reframe the way they perceive themselves, even as the world changes the way it sees higher education.


Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education.