A new paradigm for what students want and how they’ll get it

The College of 2020: Students

“What is college? And why should I go? Those may be the defining questions for colleges over the next decade. More than an expression of teenage angst, they reflect a fundamental transformation in the way students see higher education, and how they want to go about getting it.

The traditional model of college is changing, as demonstrated by the proliferation of colleges (particularly for-profit institutions), hybrid class schedules with night and weekend meetings, and, most significantly, online learning. The idyll of four years away from home—spent living and learning and growing into adulthood—will continue to wane. It will still have a place in higher education, but it will be a smaller piece of the overall picture.

Students’ convenience is the future. More students will attend classes online, study part time, take courses from multiple universities, and jump in and out of colleges. Students will demand more options for taking courses to make it easier for them to do what they want when they want to do it. And they will make those demands for economic reasons, too. The full-time residential model of higher education is getting too expensive for a larger share of the American population. More and more students are looking for lower-cost alternatives to attending college. Three-year degree programs, which some colleges are now launching, will almost assuredly proliferate. The trend toward low-cost options also will assuredly open doors for more inexpensive online options.”

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Has tenure been outsourced?

Tenure in a Digital Era

Inside Higher Ed.  May 2009.

“Even as the use of electronic media has become common across fields for research and teaching, what is taken for granted among young scholars is still foreign to many of those who sit on tenure and promotion committees. In an effort to confront this problem, the MLA and a consortium called the Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory have decided to find new ways to help departments evaluate the kinds of digital scholarship being produced today. The MLA ran a program for department chairs at last year’s annual meeting in which chairs were given digital scholarship to evaluate, and that will take place again this year.”


Painting a clear picture of the future university

Beyond 2020: Envisioning the Future of Universities in America
Mary Landon Darden, ed.
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2009.

(ordered for PC)

“In a world progressing with dizzying acceleration into the Information Age, the slow, measured approach of the traditional university can place administrator, faculty member, and student alike at a disadvantage. To move into this brave new world, the academic animal needs tools.

Beyond 2020: Envisioning the Future of Universities in America is that tool. Higher education experts in a host of fields project into the future and paint a clear picture of the future university. Nearly two dozen scholars, including James Duderstadt and Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, provide the most detailed road map yet to the perils and promise of the Information Age—as it directly applies to academia.

This is a collection of refreshingly frank opinions and observations from forward-thinking experts on the front lines with the best views on how to prepare the healthiest possible institution of tomorrow. It is something akin to an academic prophesy, but grounded in the expertise of a combined several centuries’ worth of higher education experience.”