As 2023 approaches, here are ten predictions for higher education. Maybe these are really more like odds, wishes, or something similar to New Year’s resolutions.
And yes, there are already some of these green shoots in various universities, but they have not yet bulged into major directions.
In no particular order:
- The end of the legacy of acceptance. Some universities will exit before the Supreme Court’s decision against affirmative action and declare the old admissions end. At some universities, the dean of admissions is already busy figuring out new ways to please the Office of Advancement and Alumni Affairs.
- apotheosis of advice. Some universities will eliminate the distinction between academic and career advising, recognizing that their seamless integration has become an essential component of retention and graduation. Wherever career success goes, enrollment and endowment will follow.
- Opening the black box of how we learn how we learn. Some universities will answer the question of why some students arrive on campus with the makings of lifelong learners and others do not. Some universities accept their responsibility to inspire this essential quality in all students. Cognitive science has a lot to teach us here, especially about how students acquire creativity, communication, and critical thinking skills.
- Embrace the next wave of technology. Some universities will happily react to a new generation of tools and services rather than heralding it as another sign of the death of the humanities and academic integrity. Once it was Wikipedia that infuriated academia, now it’s ChatGBT.
- end majors. Some universities will operate on the knowledge that majors are outdated. Postgraduate learning is predominantly experiential, interdisciplinary, and collaborative. The college needs to prepare students with the scaffolding for a general education that ends the tyranny of departments and elevates teamwork, research, and graduate projects.
- Creation of higher education clusters. Some universities will open the door for neighboring institutions to build networks that share faculty, facilities and other resources, with the goal of reducing costs while still offering a comprehensive range of courses and experiences.
- Redefining Professor. Some universities will reject the institutional disgrace of relying on overworked and underpaid adjunct faculty and graduate students swooping into those dead-end adjunct positions. Some universities will develop the installation process into one that celebrates and supports faculty as innovative educators and rewards their critical role in students’ career development and service to the university.
- Partnership with the private sector. Some universities will have a clear strategy and suitable staff to develop strategic partnerships with key regional economic players. These include internship/apprenticeship opportunities for students and co-curricular initiatives including part-time teaching roles for practice professors in rapidly changing technologies.
- Search for presidential talent in new places. Few universities will examine their new president for skills and experience as leaders of complex organizations in an age of disruption, with a Ph.D. As a nice optional method. There are not enough ex-deans and good deans to go around.
- Educated Board of Trustees. Some universities will provide their trustees with a realistic understanding of today’s highly competitive and complex world of higher education. Nostalgia for the good old days and a plethora of well-meaning financial experts can stifle innovation at a time when a university must be a leader in solving the world’s challenges, starting with the explosive need for advanced, scalable, and affordable education.
And just remember, I didn’t say when any of those could happen, I just wish they did.