2023 Higher Education Trend Watch — from educause.edu

2023 Higher Education Trend Watch

Also see:

2023 Strategic Trends Glossary — from educause.edu

Excerpts:

  • Closer alignment of higher education with workforce needs and skills-based learning
  • Continuation and normalization of hybrid and online learning
  • Continued adoption and normalization of hybrid and remote work arrangements
  • Continued resignation and migration of leaders and staff from higher education institutions
  • Declining public funding for higher education
  • …and more
 

An obituary for education—or not? — from brookings.edu by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Jennifer M. Zosh, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Elias Blinkoff, and Molly Scott

Excerpt:

MAKING SCHOOLS WORK
The science of learning offers a blueprint of how children in our future can and will succeed. For the last three decades, researchers made enormous progress in understanding how human brains learn. If we can teach in a way that capitalizes on these findings—if we can apply the science to the classrooms—we will have evidence-based ways of helping children grow the suite of skills that will make them successful in today’s classrooms and the workplaces of tomorrow. Our Brookings report, A New Path to Educational Reform and our book Making Schools Work: Bringing the Science of Learning to Joyful Classroom Practice, detail how this research in the science of learning can offer a scalable, evidenced based path to re-invigorating and re-imagining education for our time.

Children learn when they are active, not passive observers of what is taught. Children learn when they are engaged in the material and not distracted, when the information is meaningfully connected to their knowledge in ways that are culturally responsive. They learn best in social contexts, when there are strong teacher-student and peer relationships, when the information is iteratively presented multiple times in slightly different ways, and when the learning is joyful. Yes, it is possible to have joyful teaching that affords deeper learning. When we teach in ways that the brain learns, the learning “sticks” and generalizes to new problems and new solutions.

 

The Shrinking of Higher Ed — A Special Report from The Chronicle of Higher Education
A special report on the implications of the enrollment contraction.

Excerpt:

Nearly 1.3 million students have disappeared from American colleges since the Covid-19 pandemic began. That enrollment contraction comes at a precarious moment for the sector. Inflation is driving up costs and straining budgets, stock-market volatility is putting downward pressure on endowment returns, and federal stimulus funds are running out. Why is the enrollment crunch happening now? How are colleges responding? What might turn things around? Those are the questions fueling this special report.

A Public Regional on the Edge — from chronicle.com by Eric Kelderman
New Jersey City University’s plan to grow its way out of financial trouble backfired. What went wrong?

Excerpts:

NJCU’s story is a cautionary tale for similar institutions — small public regional colleges with ambitions to expand in a crowded higher-education market. While its real-estate dealings have drawn unfavorable scrutiny, the university was responding to challenges that face its peers, in northern New Jersey and around the country: increased competition for a declining number of high-school graduates.

Public regional universities, like NJCU, enroll about 40 percent of all college students nationally, and a far larger percentage of minority, low-income, and first-generation students than better-known flagships and top research universities do.

But a lack of state support, limited ability to attract students from outside the region, and sparse fund raising have made the university vulnerable to economic downturns and demographic shifts that have led to fewer high-school graduates, especially in the Northeast and upper Midwest.

Linked to in the above article was this article:

Declining enrollment has Western Michigan University on budgetary tightrope — from mlive.com by Julie Mack

Excerpts:

KALAMAZOO, MI — Western Michigan University has 17,835 students this fall, its lowest enrollment since the 1960s.

The number is down 6% from last fall. Down 27% from a decade ago, when the fall headcount was 24,598. Down 41% from 20 years ago, when WMU’s fall count peaked at 29,732.

And thanks to a declining birthrate and a shrinking percentage of new high school graduates enrolling in college, that downward enrollment trend is likely to continue indefinitely.

Rather, “what COVID did was force our hand after years of pressure created by declining enrollment and demographic trends that suggest declines will continue for the next decade,” she said. “So while COVID brought our financial situation into sharp relief, the budget cut was a measure taken to relieve pressure created over many, many years.”


A relevant addendum here:

Avoiding the Trap of Too Little Too Late — from tytonpartners.com by Trace Urdan; with thanks to Ryan Craig for this resource

Excerpt:

The challenges facing higher education are well understood: a demographic cliff of traditional-aged applicants, a declining proportion of full-pay families, and a growing skepticism of the value of (ever-more) expensive post-secondary degrees with resulting student consumerism. Add to this rapidly rising technological complexity, deferred maintenance on deteriorating physical assets, escalating administrative costs associated with student services and supports, and a burgeoning array of college substitutes, and the challenges are clear. The combination of lower tuition revenue and higher costs points toward an inevitable sector consolidation. And while many college administrators will readily acknowledge this point in the abstract, few will consider that it might apply to them.

 

To future-proof a workforce, kill the perpetual hiring machine and embrace lifelong learning — from fortune.com by Clay Dillow

Excerpt:

A looming economic slowdown, the Great Resignation, a relentlessly expanding skills gap, and employees that would simply rather work from home. This week at Fortune’s CEO Initiative forum, a panel of company executives discussed the litany of challenges they face in developing and maintaining their workforces over the next several years.

 

25 Transferable Skills Employers Look For in 2022 — from wikijob.co.uk by Nikki Dalea; with thanks to Ryan Mein for this resource

Excerpt:

Transferable skills combine competencies, knowledge and skills that you have gained from the workplace during your career path, from school, internships or elsewhere and take with you to your next employment or career change.

General skills that can be used in different employment roles come under the transferable skills banner; they can be used in various industries and in roles at other seniority levels.

These can be hard skills – technical knowledge like using specific software – and soft skills, the competencies and abilities that are harder to be taught, like active listening and communication.

Communication, problem solving and teamwork are all examples of transferable job skills because they can be used in any employed role, your education or vocational training.

 

What’s Stopping You from Reinventing Your Career? — from hbr.org by Heather Cairns-Lee and Bill Fischer; with thanks to Mr. Roberto Ferraro for this resource

Summary (emphasis DSC):

In the authors’ work teaching and coaching thousands of managers, they have identified four traps – self-sufficiency, overthinking, procrastination and searching for the answer – that prevent leaders from taking the first steps necessary for considering and exploring possible new versions of themselves for the future. The authors have found ways to help leaders recognize which traps they are falling into and start imagining a way out — largely inspired by design thinking principles such as rapid prototyping, making ideas visual, and getting quick feedback.

 

Why Now Is The Time To Overhaul K-12 Education — from forbes.com by Phyllis Lockett and Michael Horn

Excerpts:

If you take a team approach, then one adult works with students on their social-emotional learning and how they connect to their learning. And another leverages data to create small group opportunities based on the learning objective. And another connects learning to real world projects and helps students build social capital in the community, which also creates a more permeable classroom that’s open to the outside world. Or there could be other ways the teams are structured to best support the student.

For all the plans in the past to “reinvent” K-12 education, none have questioned the fundamentals of time-based instruction. It’s no surprise then that the system produces the outcomes it does. Not every child needs exactly 180 days to master the knowledge and skills required for a third grader. Conversely, some kids need more time. It’s an arbitrary system that cuts off learning for children based on a calendar, yet doesn’t provide a different pathway forward for them that’s productive. In our current system, time is fixed and learning is variable, then students are labeled and sorted accordingly.

Michael Horn


From DSC:
This quote…

The answer is for district leaders to create independent teams of educators in which they are shielded from traditional day to day pressures and have the explicit license to do things differently. They can give these new “schools within schools” the resources they need without encumbering them by the old ways of doing things.

…makes me think of a graphic I did a while back about the need for more Trim Tabs within our learning ecosystems:


 

2023 Top 10 IT Issues: Foundation Models — from educause.edu

Excerpt:

Recent times have brought about a Great Rethink that is upending previous models of management and working. Higher education is no exception. In 2023, institutional and technology leaders are ready for a new approach.

The EDUCAUSE 2023 Top 10 IT Issues help describe the foundation models that colleges and universities will develop next year and beyond, acting on what was learned in the pandemic and framed by the three building blocks of leadership, data, and work and learning.

See where things are headed in 2023 and beyond.
.

The Educause 2023 Top 10 IT Issues

 

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From DSC:
At this point in time, I’d find your visionary, innovative, tech-savvy leaders out there — and not just for IT-related positions but for Presidents, Provosts, CFO’s, Heads of HR, and similar levels of positions (and ideally on the Boards as well.) Such people need to be at the table when strategies are hammered out.

For example, if your institution didn’t get seriously into online learning long before Covid19 hit, I’d clear house and go back to the drawing board on your leadership.

Also, data won’t save higher ed. New directions/pathways might. But I’m doubtful that new sources of data will — no matter how they are sliced and diced. That sort of thing is too much at the fringe of things — and not at the heart of what’s being offered. The marketplace will eventually dictate to higher ed which directions institutions of traditional higher education need to go in. Or perhaps I should say that this is already starting to occur.

If alternatives to institutions of traditional higher education continue to grow in acceptance and usage — and don’t involve current institutions of higher ed — those sorts of institutions may already be too late. If more corporations fully develop their own training programs, pathways, and credentials, there may be even fewer students to go around.

A final thought: Cheaper forms of online-based learning for the liberal arts may be what actually saves the liberal arts in the long run.


Also relevant/see:


 

Attention higher-ed leaders: Faculty and staff have something to say — from ecampusnews.com by Jen Landon; with thanks to Ray Schroeder for this resource
Higher-ed leaders can apply the same listening skills and level of investment put forth for students toward their workers

Excerpts:

An organization’s greatest asset is its people. In no other industry is that more true than in higher education. The importance of faculty and staff can’t be overstated; they are, in every way, core to carrying out the mission of higher education.

Institutions should put employee satisfaction at the top of their list from day one: investing in the growth and success of faculty and staff with as much determination as they invest in student success. This mindset should extend to job candidates as well.

From DSC:
I appreciate some attention being paid here to the career/skill development of faculty and staff, as well as to the attempts to create caring cultures. Higher ed has a lot to learn from the corporate world in terms of training its managers, supervisors, and leadership. Provosts, for example, move out of the academic ranks and I’d bet that most of them have never had any training in being a leader — especially re: the business side of higher ed. 

Staff members are key to all institutions of higher education, yet many of them are second-class citizens on many (most?) campuses. They have limited say and even more limited budgets. Even though they have transformed institutions — such as the case with providing online/blended/hyflex-learning — they aren’t lifted up.

For myself, if I didn’t feel like I was growing and learning, I felt stagnant. That’s why blogging has been so wonderful and important to me through the years. The budgets for training one’s staff are very important — as staff members need to stay marketable and relevant. As with most others in the workplace, staff and faculty members may need to reinvent themselves from time to time. Hopefully, this type of growth/reinvention is being supported by the institutions of traditional higher education out there.


Speaking of the workplace and higher education, you might be interested in The Job newsletter. This week’s edition was interesting indeed! 


 

Higher Education in Motion: The Digital and Cultural Transformations Ahead — from er.educause.edu by John O’Brien

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

In 2015 when Janet Napolitano, then president of the University of California, responded to what she saw as a steadily growing “chorus of doom” predicting the demise of higher education, she did so with a turn of phrase that captured my imagination and still does. She said that higher education is not in crisis. “Instead, it is in motion, and it always has been.”

A brief insert by DSC:
Yes. In other words, it’s a learning ecosystem — with constant morphing & changing going on.

“We insisted then, and we continue to insist now, that digital transformation amounts to deep and coordinated change that substantially reshapes the operations, strategic directions, and value propositions of colleges and universities and that this change is enabled by culture, workforce, and technology shifts.

The tidal movement to digital transformation is linked to a demonstrably broader recognition of the strategic role and value of technology professionals and leaders on campus, another area of long-standing EDUCAUSE advocacy. For longer than we have talked about digital transformation, we have insisted that technology must be understood as a strategic asset, not a utility, and that senior IT leaders must be part of the campus strategic decision-making. But the idea of a strategic role for technology had disappointing traction among senior campus leaders before 2020.

From DSC:
The Presidents, Provosts, CIO’s, board members, influential faculty members, and other members of institutions’ key leadership positions who didn’t move powerfully forward with online-based learning over the last two+ decades missed the biggest thing to hit societies’ ability to learn in 500+ years — the Internet. Not since the invention of the printing press has learning had such an incredible gust of wind put in its sails. The affordances have been staggering, with millions of people now being educated in much less expensive ways (MOOCs, YouTube, LinkedIn Learning, other). Those who didn’t move forward with online-based learning in the past are currently scrambling to even survive. We’ll see how many close their doors as the number of effective alternatives increases.

Instead of functioning as a one-time fix during the pandemic, technology has become ubiquitous and relied upon to an ever-increasing degree across campus and across the student experience.

Moving forward, best of luck to those organizations who don’t have their CIOs at the decision-making table and reporting directly to the Presidents — and hopefully those CIO’s are innovative and visionary to begin with. Best of luck to those institutions who refuse to look up and around to see that the world has significantly changed from the time they got their degrees.

The current mix of new realities creates an opportunity for an evolution and, ideally, a synchronized reimagination of higher education overall. This will be driven by technology innovation and technology professionals—and will be made even more enduring by a campus culture of care for students, faculty, and staff.

Time will tell if the current cultures within many traditional institutions of higher education will allow them to adapt/change…or not.


Along the lines of transformations in our learning ecosystems, also see:


OPINION: Let’s use the pandemic as a dress-rehearsal for much-needed digital transformation — from hechingerreport.org by Jean-Claude Brizard
Schools must get ready for the next disruption and make high-quality learning available to all

Excerpts:

We should use this moment to catalyze a digital transformation of education that will prepare schools for our uncertain future.

What should come next is an examination of how schools can more deeply and deliberately harness technology to make high-quality learning accessible to every learner, even in the wake of a crisis. That means a digital transformation, with three key levers for change: in the classroom, in schools and at the systems level.

Platforms like these help improve student outcomes by enhancing teachers’ ability to meet individual students’ needs. They also allow learners to master new skills at their own pace, in their own way.

As Digital Transformation in Schools Continues, the Need for Enterprising IT Leaders Grows — from edtechmagazine.com by Ryan Petersen

K-12 IT leaders move beyond silos to make a meaningful impact inside and outside their schools.According to Korn Ferry’s research on enterprise leadership, “Enterprise leaders envision and grow; scale and create. They go beyond by going across the enterprise, optimizing the whole organization and its entire ecosystem by leading outside what they can control. These are leaders who see their role as being a participant in diverse and dynamic communities.”

 

 

2022 EDUCAUSE Horizon Action Plan: Hybrid Learning — from library.educause.edu

Excerpts:

Building on the trends, technologies, and practices described in the 2022 Horizon Report: Teaching and Learning Edition, the panel crafted its vision of the future along with practical action items the teaching and learning community can employ to make this future a reality. Any stakeholder in higher education who teaches in or supports hybrid learning modalities will find this report helpful in preparing for the future of hybrid learning. The future we want is within reach, but only if we work together.

Asked to describe the goals and elements of hybrid learning that they would like to see 10 years from now, panelists collaboratively constructed their preferred future for institutions, students, instructors, and staff.

Institutions

  • Higher education is available on demand.
  • Learning is not measured by seat time.
  • Collaboration across institutions facilitates advancement.
  • College and university campuses are not the sole locations for learning spaces.

Students, Instructors, and Staff

  • Everything is hybrid.
  • Student equity is centered in all modalities.
  • Professional development is ongoing, integrated, and valued.
 

Students Are Calling BS on High School and Opportunity Knocks — from gettingsmart.com by Trace Pickering

Excerpts:

Let’s be clear. These students are not wrong. The pandemic showed students that much of what they were required to do and endure during pre-pandemic high school was a lot of busywork and tasks that held little relevance or interest to them, and apparently didn’t really matter since they were able to be successful without all that extra work. When schools lost their ability to command and control a student’s time, it forced a different economy for schools and educators. It required the curriculum to be pared down to only the essential standards and information. It now had a very real and powerful competitor for the student’s time – a job, a hobby, sports, music, sleep…

Students are no longer a captive audience. They have more options and choices. To avoid obsolescence, perhaps schools should focus on making school a place where kids see value and want to come to each day.

This is a wonderful opportunity to put in place the things that really drive 21st-century skills and give students the keys to their own learning and growth. To truly personalize learning for students, and unlock teacher professionalism and creativity in the process. That extra time could allow students to pursue areas of passion and interest, to dive deep into a subject that interests them, pursue job shadows and internships, and earn and learn on a job.

 

New Unionization, Upskilling And The Future Of Work — from forbes.com by Daphne Kis

From DSC:
I’m not sure what I think of this article as a whole, but I like the emphasis on lifelong learning! here are some relevant excerpts, for example:

In particular, workers and businesses should take this moment to partner around the issue of education and forge new agreements about employer-provided training and reskilling.

This approach, however, is inadequate to deal with the demands of today’s global information economy, which demands continual upskilling on the part of workers.

As true job security can only be generated by continued education and training, this is in the interest of all parties.

“We need to replenish skills throughout a working career, and this calls for revisiting the models and concept of lifelong learning to create the future we want.”

 

 

Returnships are the new internships for adults — from synchronybank.com by Adam Shell

Excerpt:

What Is a Returnship?
Returnships are essentially internships for adults looking to re-enter the workforce after being away from the typical 9-to-5 grind for a year or more. They are job-learning opportunities that can be hugely lucrative for women—such as moms who took a job hiatus—but can also be utilized by anyone returning to the workforce or looking for a career switch-up.

“Since I got the opportunity at Audible, everything has changed for me for the better,” Gutgutia says. “I really felt a spark in my life.” In February, Gutgutia landed a full-time job at Audible as a quality assurance engineer after completing the returnship program.

 

Why Some Teachers Don’t Want to Go ‘Back to Normal’ — from edsurge.com by Daniel Lempres

Excerpts:

“My school did not drive me out of education. My students did not drive me out of education,” Aion says. Instead, he says he left because the lack of support and the deep systemic flaws in education had finally become too much. Aion says he was tired of pretending things were back to their pre-pandemic “normal,” and tired of pretending that “normal” had been working for students in the first place.

For educators like Aion and Bowyer, the expectation that public education would “return to normal” is one of the factors that pushed them out of the profession.

Her students were excited for her, and enthusiastically asked about what she would do instead of teaching them math. “I started crying in the middle of class,” Bowyer says. “And I said, ‘I don’t know, I don’t actually want to leave, I want to be here and I want to do this. But I don’t think I can anymore.’”

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian