Agility, not predictability, is key to higher ed sustainability
- Current and former college executives convened at Northeastern University recently to discuss the changing business and culture of higher education in a forum called "College Disrupted: Charting a course for higher education's future."
- The panelists discussed the virtual impossibility of predicting how technology, industry and culture can change higher education, and insisted the primary goal of academe must now be to focus on adaptability and a willingness to constantly re-educate.
- Panelists also examined the impact of technology and interdisciplinary learning. “I think we can help our students and change our educational structure without tearing everything up from the past and creating anew, but creating layers and turning footpaths into superhighways across disciplines to give people the opportunity to learn from people in another discipline,” said former Massachusetts Institute of Technology President Susan Hockfield.
The adaptability of education is an important topic to examine, but a difficult one to internalize in audiences and boardrooms outside of the higher education orbit of Ivy League and state-flagship institutions. The reality of education is very simple — there are too many colleges with too many costly amenities which now are serving too few students who will soon be looking for too few jobs after graduation.
The answer for some in the upper tier of higher education policy making and analysis believe the answer is to reduce the number of schools to the best performers, and to allow students who don't qualify for entry there to enter preparatory or workforce development in community colleges. Mid-sized and small institutions must decide how to make themselves invaluable to communities and states around them, before it is too late and the narrative of their futures are written by federal aid policy or enrollment crises.
- Northeastern University Through disruptions, higher ed faces questions, opportunities