Brief

Current, former presidents talk higher ed disruption

Dive Brief:

  • A convening of current and former college presidents at the University of Virginia put on public display executive thoughts about the future of higher education, which all agree will be "disrupted" by technology, affordability and public appropriations in the near future. 
  • University of Virginia President John T. Casteen III told the audience that disruption was not new in higher education; in the 1990s, states cut funding and forced schools nationwide to be more aggressive about fundraising, giving them more autonomy over institutional budgets.
  • The panelists agreed diversity and globalization would require institutions to view higher education as an asset, rather than an obstacle, to domestic progress. “Globalism and competition have really created the circumstances to put higher education in a position to take the lead,” Judson University President Gene Crume said.

Dive Insight:

There is a notion that higher education is being or needs to be 'disrupted,' and the sense of that word indicates that traditional, worthy structures of the industry are being negatively disturbed. The truth is that higher education has changed technology, human thought and industry itself, and those returns are coming back to the campuses in the form of increasing diversity and a need for access to competitive professional development. 

Unfortunately, the industry which spawned all of these changes is not one that was built for change itself. The idea of pedagogy, student profile, athletics and administration are still very much built on the concept of education being a right for white men from affluent families, and an earned privilege for everyone else. The sooner executives establish this as a central factor in higher education's industrial approach, the sooner the industry can find solutions for its survival. 

Filed Under: Higher Ed
Top image credit: Flickr user Phil Roeder