Buffalo State College, under the leadership of President Conway-Turner, is one of seven core institutuions of higher education participating on the Anchor Institution Dashboard Learning Cohort. The Cohort seeks to develop a “dashboard” framework to help universities more accurately understand both the status of the surrounding community and institutional efforts to support community improvement, with an eye toward both better communicating impact and making strategic adjustments over time. The goal is to help universities adopt and implement an anchor mission that applies the university’s long-term, place-based economic power, in combination with human and intellectual resources, to better the welfare of surrounding communities over time, with a particular focus on communities of moderate and limited incomes.
Supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the cohort presently consists of seven participating institutions, along with two nonprofit partners, The Democracy Collaborative and PolicyLink.
The Dashboard is still a work in progress, but in 2015-2016 all seven institutions have been collecting initial baseline data to begin to move this Dashboard from a theoretical idea to a usable tool that helps improve community practice, as well as understanding of the vital role universities play in communities. Categories that form the dashboard include: anchor mission alignment, economic development, community building, education, health, safety, and the environment. Together, the goal is to develop a learning community that works to both evaluate and improve this work.
Additional information about the Anchor Dashboard report, which launched this cohort, is available here: http://community-wealth.org/indicators. You can find more about the Anchor Dashboard Learning Cohort itself at this site: http://anchors.democracycollaborative.org.