- Harvard University Continuing Education Dean Hunt Lambert writes in TechCrunch about the prospect of industrial ‘leapfrogging’ in higher education, suggesting that colleges and universities should consider larger acceptance of the micro-credentialing and access methods it has resisted for generations.
- Lambert says that it is impossible for states and the nation to build enough colleges to meet student interest and workforce demands, and distance technology has not yet yielded the returns on preparing traditional and adult learners for high-impact careers in growing industries. The change, he says, will come in the form of increased mentoring for students and a promotion of continuing learning for professionals to perpetually advance knowledge and skills to adapt to changes.
- These changes could advance the industry to become more affordable and accessible for a larger number of people.
It is very easy for a dean at Harvard to write about a new vision for higher education from a position of privilege built upon selectivity and nearly endless resources. But for many institutions, shifting politics, and dwindling appropriations mean the struggle to stay open and retain faculty and students often gets in the way of their ability to re-imagine higher education.
However, there is some merit to college leaders examining the ways where teaching and learning can be delivered through more cost-effective means while targeting regional audiences and supporting key industries within those regions. Community colleges have designed the blueprint for how corporations can play a financial and teaching role in helping to improve career outcomes for graduates, and it is time for four-year institutions to adopt similar philosophies to replace the theory-based concepts of education for life.