TURNING A FOOTBALL FIELD INTO A FARM: HOW THE ‘URBAN WORK COLLEGE’ COULD LOWER COLLEGE COSTS
When Michael Sorrell took over as president of Paul Quinn College in 2007, the place was nearly broke and faced a possible loss of accreditation. Sorrell wasn’t interested in following the usual playbook for running a college, so he took unusual steps right from the start. He cut the football program, for instance, and turned the playing field into an urban farm.
Just to put that move in perspective, this college is in Dallas, a city that has been called the football capital of the world. But Sorrel was focused on building a new model for higher education, one that mixes work-readiness with expanding minds, and at a price that more students could afford.
EdSurge recently talked with Sorrell about how his model of an “urban work college,” and he shared the roundabout way that this college got into farming. The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.