The Future of the Academic Enterprise

March 16, 2016

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Academics often wonder about the future of higher education as technological changes arrive at an increasingly fast rate.

A session at ACE2016 on “The Future of the Academic Enterprise” staked the claim that evolution in the academic core will drive the most meaningful change.

Three leading voices in higher education shared their perspective during the session. Jeff Selingo, Washington Post contributor and author of College (Un)Bound and There is Life After College, kicked off the session by outlining several challenges facing institutions, noting that the resolutions to these issues will be pivot points that will guide our collective future. Among his observations were the need for institutions to be able to assess student learning from alternate providers and the rising percentage of a middle-class family’s earnings needed for tuition.

Thomas Bailey, director of the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, identified the substantial opportunities for student success that come from assessing and improving academic programs. He said this is especially important at community colleges that employ cafeteria-style course offerings rather than a guided pathway approach.

Michele DiPietro, executive director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Kennesaw State University, said increased awareness and emphasis on high-impact teaching practices is likely to move the needle in ways that will benefit all students and institutions. The exciting challenge is working with faculty to help less effective teachers become stronger and take already good teachers to levels of excellence.

By Jim Sirianni, director of ACE’s Executive Leadership Group. 

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