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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

WashU: The Case for Age-Diverse Universities

A focus on serving students of all ages would strengthen the health of universities as well as that of an increasingly older population, argues a paper from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

“Universities have embraced diversity – just not age diversity,” said the paper’s lead author, Dr. Nancy Morrow-Howell, Betty Bofinger Brown Distinguished Professor of Social Policy at the Brown School.  “Life expectancy has increased substantially; yet universities remain age-segregated and fail to educate people across the longer life course. Economic security and health depend on this life-long educational engagement.”

Dr. Morrow-Howell and her co-authors say universities should serve students of all ages and operate as age-diverse communities in order to:

The University joined the Age-Friendly University Global Network and is working with other universities across the globe to shape higher education in response to population aging. Dr. Morrow-Howell is working through the Harvey A. Friedman Center on Aging to launch “Washington University for Life,” a plan to increase age diversity at the institution.

“The transformation of our universities must be done for the sake of society, for younger and older people, and for the self-interest of institutions themselves,” she wrote.

The paper was published Dec. 23 in The Gerontologist.

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