The future of English higher education: two scenarios on the changing landscape -- May 2012 by Huisman, de Boer, and Pimentel Botas


From DSC:
Whether one agrees or not with the scenarios…what’s important here is to promote discussions of the future of higher education across the world. Developing scenarios is an excellent way to jump start such conversations, contribute to strategic plans/visions, and develop responses to the changing higher education landscape.

Inter-Organizational Task Force on Online Learning: Recommendations| September 20, 2012

From DSC:
What caught my eye:

  • The new “traditional” student: the adult learner
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A leadership job description [Myatt]

A leadership job description — from by Mike Myatt; with thanks going out to Mr. Joseph Byerwalter for this resource/find

Excerpt (bolding from Mike, not DSC):

There is no perfect leader; only the right leader for a given situation. Great leaders have the innate ability to call on the right skills in a contextually and environmentally appropriate fashion. No single leader can possess every needed attribute. It’s not the traits you possess as a leader, but what you do with them that matters. If I were successful in my genetic engineering exercise I would no doubt have created a leader who would be driven crazy by emotional and intellectual conflicts.

So, what is real leadership? Leadership is about giving credit not taking it, breaking down barriers not building them, destroying bureaucracies not creating them, bridging positional and philosophical gaps not setting boundaries, thinking big and acting bigger, being able to focus on short-term objectives without losing sight of long-term value, not focusing on the volume of outputs but the impact of said outputs, surrender not control, and most of all, leadership is about truly caring for those whom you serve.

When it comes to leadership, it’s not enough to be all you can be, you must focus on helping others become all that they can be.


Mike’s definition of leadership (bolding from Mike, not DSC):

“Leadership is the professed desire and commitment to serve others by subordinating personal interests to the needs of those being led through effectively demonstrating the character, experience, humility, wisdom and discernment necessary to create the trust & influence to cause the right things, to happen for the right reasons, at the right times.”

The changing face of the campus CIO - University Business September 2012




  • On 9/27/12 which regards the business/corporate world:
    CIO must become Chief Innovation Officer
    — from by Linda Bernardi
  • On 10/1/12:
    The question CIO’s must really ask — from by Jeanne G. Harris, Allan E. Alter and Aarohi Sen
    Asking whether CIOs will play a strategic or supporting role is indulging in a stale debate. The more important question is whether CIOs are prepared to lead their organizations into a future environment that could be completely unlike today.
  • On 10/16/12 — but moreso on the corporate side
    The New Chief Connected Officer
    — from by Gregg Garrett

Joining the brave CIO, who takes a step forward while many other IT leaders are standing still, is the motivated CEO. The adage that “it is lonely at the top” couldn’t be more true during this transition period. Most major advisors for top leadership, many of whom are part of well-recognized strategy consulting firms, understand the promise of the connected world, but aren’t pushing this advice yet.

They are putting their toes in the water with social-media practices and CMO-to-CIO forums. However, very few of them are actually broaching the sacred space of product-to-service conversations that could potentially reposition the chief information and chief technology officers to fulfill much more critical and senior roles within the organization.

The last time IT grew to such prominence in the corporate structure was the Y2K scare or the “ecommerce” movement (“brick and mortar” to “virtual”). As already discussed, “connected” is on a similar scale, if not more grandiose. A connected world both overlays a layer of relevant information-fed services on top of today’s processes, and also reformulates entire industries through disruptive innovation.

Stanford assigns Vice Provost of Online Learning — from by Molly Gerth


This week, Stanford University announced the appointment of John Mitchell to serve as Vice Provost for Online Learning. This signifies the university is getting serious about the Stanford Online initiative to reach more students around the world and to address the transforming 21st century education system.

Digital Learning Now!

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The Future of Higher Education -- Pew Internet -- July 27, 2012


Also see:


The financially sustainable university — from, a Bain Brief by Jeff Denneen and Tom Dretle

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Still, at the majority of institutions, the pace of change is slower than it needs to be. Plenty of hurdles exist, including the belief that things will return to the way they always were. (Note: They won’t.) But the biggest obstacle is more fundamental: While leaders might have a sense of what needs to be done, they may not know how to achieve the required degree of change that will allow their institution not just to survive, but also thrive with a focused strategy and a sustainable financial base.

Too often, stakeholders believe that the current cash crunch and need for change is a temporary phenomenon that will subside as the economy continues to improve. But those who see things this way probably haven’t been exposed to the data presented here and in other reports that show convincingly that this time is different. Faculty and other key stakeholders must be shown clear and compelling facts to disprove the “return to the status quo” notion and to clarify the corresponding negative implications and consequences of inaction.


The Financially Sustainable University - July 2012 - a Bain Brief by Denneen & Dretle


This is because education is shifting from a focus on what works for teachers to a focus on what students need to succeed and thrive.

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From DSC re: the item below — an example of the opposite of true leadership
To see an example of TRUE leadership, see my immediately previous posting re: Christensen and Eyring.)

Give colleges more credit — Op-Ed at the LA Times by Barry Glassner and Morton Schapiro
Doomsayers are wrong. America’s higher-education model isn’t broken.

Barry Glassner is president, and a professor of sociology,
of Lewis & Clark College in Oregon.
Morton Schapiro is president, and a professor of economics,
of Northwestern University in Illinois.


From DSC:
I was going to title this posting “‘America’s higher-education model isn’t broken.’ Easy for you to say Morton and Barry.”

An excerpt from their article (emphasis DSC):

While for-profit colleges enroll an increasing percentage of all undergraduates, the demand for education at selective private and public universities and colleges continues to grow, as evidenced by dramatic declines in the percentage of applicants they admit.

Nice. Let’s see how many people we can decline — that’s a great  way to serve our society! Then let’s pride ourselves on this shrinking  percentage of people who actually get into our university.  Woo hoo!  That will help with our ever-important ratings/prestige/branding even more! (Please note: The dripping sound that you are now hearing is the sound of drops of  sarcasm  hitting the floor.)

A few brief questions for you Barry and Morton…

  • When was the last time you lived from paycheck to paycheck?
  • Do you know what that’s like?
  • Have you ever been in that situation? If so, when was the last time?

You two are so far removed from the society — that you say that you are trying to help and serve — that you don’t even recognize the strength of the current that you’re swimming in.  You swim with — and serve — the 1% (not the 99%).

One other thing worries us. There is a surefire way to make today’s dire predictions come to pass — if educational leaders feel compelled to listen to scaremongers who are all too anxious to force us to adopt a new model that eliminates outstanding professors and their passion for teaching, research budgets and the pursuit of new knowledge, the residential college experience and the core commitment to excellence that have made American higher education the leader in the world. If that were to happen, we might end up with colleges and universities that aren’t worth saving.

For transparency’s sake, I attended Northwestern University — and did very well there. It’s a great school in many ways. But I wonder what the percentage of professors are at NU who are there to work on being the best professors/teachers that they can possibly be. I question how many have a true passion to teach.  Research? Yes.  Teach? Not so much.

In fact, from my experiences at NU, I remember several graduate students grading my work or teaching our classes. Speaking of those folks…I wonder…were those graduate students trained in teaching and learning?  Were they given a background in any sort of School of Education? Or pedagogical training?  BTW, those same questions can be asked of NU’s  full-time, tenured faculty members; and I’ll bet you that the answers are not pretty. Also, in many other of the courses I took at NU, I had hundreds of students in them so I seriously doubt that any of my professors even knew who I was.

BTW, what does a year at NU cost these days? From what I can tell from NU’s website, roughly $60,000+ for 3 quarters worth of tuition, room, board, and associated fees.

The system’s not broken you say…hmmm…seems to me I have to pay the price of a pretty darn nice house in order to get an undergraduate degree at your place.  But then they tell me that an UG degree isn’t worth much these days…that what you really need is graduate work to get a good job. Hhhmmmm…

Northwestern and other universities and colleges like it have strayed far off the noble path from which they began their journeys. Look out for #1 has not only been Northwestern University’s motto these last few decades (replacing the long held Quaecumque Sunt Vera motto) , it is the unofficial teaching/undercurrent that it delivers to its students year in and year out.


My hats off to Clayton Christensen and Henry Eyring!  My respect level just went up yet another notch for these two people.

Seeing as Clayton is a Professor at ***Harvard‘s*** Business School and Henry is an ***Administrator*** at Brigham Young University, their stance and recent letter to college and university trustees nationwide is a wonderful example of true leadership.   They risked many things by taking a stand and urging institutions of higher education to change. Their purpose is noble. Their message should be heeded.

From the website of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni: (emphasis by DSC)

Clayton Christensen: higher ed trustees “crucial as never before”
Harvard Business School professor (and bestselling author of The Innovator’s Dilemma) Clayton M. Christensen and Henry J. Eyring of Brigham Young University recently sent a letter to college and university trustees nationwide, recognizing a critical turning point for the future of higher education. “If you’ve been serving for more than a few years, you’ve seen a big change in the nature of trustees meetings,” the authors wrote. “Before the downturn of 2008, the agenda tended to focus on growth and on ways to fund it…. At some point, the bubble was bound to burst—or at least start to sag. Now that it has, your role becomes crucial as never before.” The letter urges trustees to demand innovative solutions to expand student access and improve academic quality at their institutions: “The innovators can do more than merely avoid disruption. They can help usher in a new age of higher education, one of unprecedented access and quality, a combined industrial revolution and renaissance.”



Addendum on 7/16/12:

From DSC:
My cousin helps Fortune 500 companies innovate and deal with change management-related issues.  Something he once said is rather haunting to me now…

“Often when organizations start feeling the pain, it’s too late at that point.” (Think Blockbuster, Kodak, Borders, and many others.)

So that has been the question I’ve been pondering these last couple of years — are we already too late to the game?


Public universities see familiar fight at Virginia — from the NYT by Tamar Lewin on 6/25/12

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The tumult at the University of Virginia …reflects a low-grade panic now spreading through much of public higher education.

But the 10-point outline she offered — listing state and federal financing challenges, the changing role of technology, a rapidly changing health care environment, prioritization of scarce resources, faculty workload and the quality of the student experience, faculty compensation, research financing and the like — was almost generic, and would have applied to nearly every public university in the nation.

Rebuilding Mr. Jefferson’s University — from by Kevin Kiley

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

In a statement before the vote, Dragas said the events of the past two weeks have actually unified the campus around a series of questions it needs to address. “Prior to these events, there seemed to be a roadblock between the board’s sense of urgency around our future in a number of critical areas, and the administration’s response to that urgency,” she said. “Also, many of our concerns about the direction of the university remained unknown to all but a few. This situation has now keenly focused the attention of the entire university community on the reality and urgency of the specific challenges facing the university  most of which, once again, are not unique to U.Va. – but whose structural and long-term nature do require a deliberate and strategic approach.”

University of Virginia: Only the Beginning — from The American Interest by Walter Russell Mead

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

What we see at UVA this month is just a foretaste of the storm that is coming — a few early raindrops and gusts of wind before the real storm hits. The country needs more education than the current system can affordably supply, and the pressure on the educational system will not abate until this problem is resolved.

Fixing college — from the NYT by Jeff Selingo, editorial director at The Chronicle of Higher Education, who is writing a book on the future of higher education


Other information industries, from journalism to music to book publishing, enjoyed similar periods of success right before epic change enveloped them, seemingly overnight.We now know how those industries have been transformed by technology, resulting in the decline of the middleman newspapers, record stores, bookstores and publishers.

Colleges and universities could be next, unless they act to mitigate the poor choices and inaction from the lost decade by looking for ways to lower costs, embrace technology and improve education.


Ousted Head of University Is Reinstated in Virginia — from the NYT by Richard Perz-Pena

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Facing a torrent of criticism, the University of Virginia trustees made a stunning turnabout on Tuesday, voting unanimously to reinstate the president they had forced to resign over concerns that the university was not adapting fast enough to financial and technological pressures.

Public university becomes first to endorse untraditional online model — from by Denny Carter
Some UW faculty members, after political clashes with Gov. Scott Walker, remain skeptical of UW Flexible Degree


Students at the University of Wisconsin (UW) can earn college degrees based on proven competency in a subject, making UW the first publicly-funded school to launch a competency-based degree program.

Led by officials at UW-Extension, a continued learning program with offices located across Wisconsin, the UW Flexible Degree will let incoming students demonstrate their knowledge and cut down on the time it takes to earn a degree.


The future of higher education and other imponderables — from by George Siemens


Educators are not driving the change bus. Leadership in traditional universities has been grossly negligent in preparing the academy for the economic and technological reality it now faces. This failure is apparent in interactions I’ve had with several universities over the past several months. Universities have not been paying attention. As a result, they have not developed systemic capacity to function in a digital networked age. In order to try and ramp up capacity today, they have to acquire the skills that they failed to develop over the last decade by purchasing services from vendors. Digital content, testing, teaching resources, teaching/learning software, etc. are now being purchased to try and address the capacity shortage. Enormous amounts of organizational resources are now flowing outside of education in order to fill gaps due to poor leadership. Good for the startups that were smart enough to anticipate the skill and capacity shortage in higher education. Bad for the university, faculty, and support staff.

I have delivered two presentations recently on the scope of change in higher education, one in Peru at Universidad de San Martin Porres and the other at the CANHEIT conference. Slides from CANHEIT are below…


Addendum on 6/20/12:

Addendum on 6/21/12:

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