TU helps chart the future of metropolitan universities at CUMU conference

By Kyle Hobstetter on October 18, 2016

The Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU), housed at Towson University, will hold its annual conference in Washington, D.C., starting on Oct. 23.

The Coalition of Urban Metropolitan Universities (CUMU), housed at Towson University, holds an annual conference. Last year, the conference was held in Omaha, Nebraska. This year's conference will be held in Washington, D.C., from Oct. 23-25.
The Coalition of Urban Metropolitan Universities (CUMU), housed at Towson University, holds an annual conference. Last year, the conference was held in Omaha, Nebraska. This year's conference will be held in Washington, D.C., from Oct. 23-25.

How do urban and metropolitan universities address the numerous challenges surrounding them and their local communities? That is the question that will be addressed at the 22nd annual conference of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU).

Established in 1989, CUMU grew out of the realization that universities, especially those in urban and metropolitan settings, needed to create better collaborations between campus and the communities they were serving. Today, CUMU sustains its mission through strategies and programs that support research and information exchange, institutional engagement and service, and public information and advocacy.

CUMU’s annual conference, the largest nationwide meeting of leaders from metropolitan universities and colleges, will convene Oct. 23–25 in Washington, D.C. More than 350 faculty members, administrators, students, and community partners will be in attendance, including 25 university presidents.

Towson University President Kim Schatzel will be among them.

TU is a founding member of the coalition and serves as its headquarters. The Office of Partnerships and Outreach, led by Bobbie Laur, manages CUMU events, communications, finances and operations, in addition to serving as liaison for its member institutions and partners. Schatzel, who is also on the CUMU Executive Committee, says, “It is an honor and a privilege” to be the center of operations for the organization.

“It provides TU with a national platform to share our best practices and learn from other universities equally committed to being anchors and good stewards of their local communities,” she adds. “I’m excited to continue finding ways to leverage the organization and network to support our priorities.”

CUMU membership is institutional. This allows TU faculty to access an extensive network of faculty and administrators from the other 100 member institutions, all of which are located in urban and metropolitan areas across the United States and Canada. Members also have access to Metropolitan Universities, an internationally respected academic journal published by CUMU.

View a complete list of member institutions

The focus of the upcoming conference is developing and sustaining university–community partnerships in urban and metropolitan communities, areas that face unique challenges.

“Location also provides member institutions with unique opportunities,” says Bobbie Laur, CUMU executive director and director of partnerships and outreach in the Division of Innovation and Research at Towson University.

“CUMU members are actively engaged in their communities and tackling complicated issues like social justice and institutional change. The CUMU annual conference is a perfect opportunity for faculty and community partners to highlight their civic and research efforts and to work toward solutions to our common challenges,” notes Laur.

You can keep up with CUMU by following them on twitter or using the hashtag #CUMU2016!