- Colleges and universities are increasingly investing in creating new degrees, as well as purchasing new hardware and software, in order to offer students more choices as they enter a workforce increasingly dependent on STEM knowledge, according to Ed Tech: Focus on Higher Ed.
- Institutions are finding that cybersecurity skills are increasingly in demand, with San Diego State University seeing Homeland Security master’s degree students double in the past year.
- College educators will also need to keep pace with the changes coming to classrooms, and Georgetown has responded by creating a masters of arts in Learning and Design that will prep instructors on careers in educational technology and learning analytics.
STEM is an attractive selling point for universities, as industries sound alarms there will be more positions available in high-paying STEM fields than there will be qualified applicants. But some, including Muhlenberg College President John Williams, remain concerned that focusing solely on STEM at the expense of liberal arts could inhibit students’ ability to adapt to changing technologies or work requirements using soft skills gained in those subjects. Williams cited Steve Jobs’ time at Reed College, and how a calligraphy class he took at that school greatly influenced the design of Apple products.
Nevertheless, students continue to flock to STEM programs, so the challenge for universities is to determine how tech-oriented majors can prepare students for the next seismic shifts in these industries. STEM must apply the notion of not only teaching the student the lesson, but teaching the student to learn. Basing STEM lessons on a dual foundation of exploration and project-based learning and valuing team-based education can put the focus less on learning how a specific program is used and utilized, but learning how to learn that program. With such an education, students can navigate future disruptions in the tech industry.