At CraftEducation we do four types of work to advance the cause of small, locally minded independent colleges and the communities they serve...
We work with community and college leaders to develop policies. These policies have two goals:
- To focus and organize colleges so that their work has direct impact on community well-being.
- To focus and organize communities so that the can attract, build, and benefit from the work of local colleges.
But they share one vision—to build a society where small colleges and their communities are free to innovate and succeed without the interference of rules, processes, and assumptions designed for big schools and big places.
Too much of the discussion about higher education draws on only three models of higher education—community colleges who do job training, major public universities whose size makes them prominent, and elite private institutions whose prestige commends them to the public. CraftEducation tells the stories of the other colleges—those whose small size means they aren’t prominent or prestigious enough to draw national notice. We do so for two reasons: there is remarkable work going on at small colleges, and we want to use that work to re-shape the discussion about the structures and purposes of higher education.
Existing systems of higher education are sustained by matchmaking that favors the large and prestigious over the local and relational. We are working to take insights from online relationship building and couple them with the insights of community-based curators to match students, employees, and donors with visionary local colleges.
Our work is not just to create the conditions in which independent local colleges can flourish. It is also to build a network of such schools. For that reason, we are creating a start-up small college—deeply embedded in and committed to a community, offering a tightly focused curriculum, at an affordable price. Or put another way, we want invigorate the spirit of college building that placed thousands of small colleges in small places in the 19th century—updated and located in the new communities of the 21st century.