Our Initiatives

USU strengthens America's cities by concentrating on three areas—building strong communities, improving the health of a diverse population, and fostering student achievement.

Building Strong Communities

Coalition universities are major contributors to their local economies and have a stake in their success. With their investments, expertise and collaboration with local governments and non-profit organizations, USU campuses are revitalizing urban neighborhoods and researching issues that support city planning and development.

In addition, coalition institutions use innovative research to create new businesses, transfer technology, and develop industry clusters in cutting-edge fields. This initiative focuses on off campus public safety partnerships. As a driver to community development.  

Chair: Keith Motley, Chancellor, University of Massachusetts, Boston

Improving the Health of a Diverse Population

Not all Americans have the same opportunities to live in good health.  Underserved neighborhoods in urban centers are facing a severe shortage of health professionals who are trained to provide quality care to an increasingly diverse population.  Urban universities are well positioned to recruit and train a health care workforce that will help alleviate these disparities and improve health in underserved communities.  The USU has engaged a number of its member institutions in a national, collaborative effort to bring evidence-based health workforce interventions to scale across universities.  Specifically, we aim to:

 Chair: Santa Ono, President, University of Cincinnati

Fostering Student Achievement

USU institutions are working together to identify, assess with appropriate metrics, and disseminate substantive, scalable best practices along the continuum of efforts that support student success and degree completion. USU engages in collective learning to enable urban serving universities to advance efficient, effective, and innovative models to foster student achievement and exceed state and national goals. Three questions structure the strand’s work:

Chair: Mark Rosenberg, President, Florida International University

Urban Sustainability 

Social equity is often undervalued in urban sustainability action. Urban serving universities can provide the critical leadership needed to design and build the systems required to more effectively and equitably promote sustainability at the urban and regional scale. Our multi-pronged strategy is grounded in collective action in order to deepen our understanding of the processes and partnerships that effectively advance urban sustainability actions through an equity driven lens, implement and disseminate those practices, and then work to scale them locally and nationally.

Chair: Wim Wiewel, President, Portland State University