What Will Higher Education Look Like 5, 10 or 20 Years From Now? Some Ways Colleges Can Reinvent Themselves #iLMA #eMBA #Innovation #Technology #Planning #Design #HigherEducation #HigherEd2030 #University #Architect

Introduction

Change is a natural and expected part of running a successful organization. Whether big or small, strategic pivots need to be carefully planned and well-timed. But, how do you know when your organization is ready to evolve to its next phase? Anyone that listens, watches, or reads the news knows about the rising cost of higher education and the increasing debt that education is putting on students and alumni and their families.

At a time when education is most important to keep up with increasing technological changes, institutions need to pivot or face imminent doom in an ever increasing competitive environment. Competition can come from startups or external factors in the higher education market therefore it is increasingly necessary for institutions of higher learning to take a different approach to their business operations.

This post will focus on:

  • Current Trends
  • Demographic Shifts
  • Future of Higher Education (and impacts on University Facilities & Management)
    • Changing Assumptions
    • Implications for the Physical Campus
    • Changing Trajectory
    • More Trends in Higher Education (Towards 2030)
  • Driving Technologies
  • External Forces

Current Trends

  • Online education[i] has become an increasingly accepted option, especially when “stackable” into degrees.
  • Competency-based education lowers costs and reduces completion time for students.
  • Income Share Agreements[ii] help students reduce the risk associated with student loans.
  • Online Program Manager organizations benefit both universities and nontraditional, working-adult students.
  • Enterprise training companies are filling the skills gap by working directly with employers.
  • Pathway programs facilitate increasing transnational education[iii], which serves as an additional revenue stream for universities.

Demographic Shifts

According to data from the National Clearinghouse and the Department of Education[iv]:

  • The Average Age of a College/University Student Hovers Around Twenty-Seven (Though That Is Decreasing as The Economy Heats Up)
  • 38% of Students Who Enrolled In 2011 Transferred Credits Between Different Institutions At Least Once Within Six Years.
  • 38% of Students Are Enrolled Part-Time.
  • 64% of Students Are Working Either Full-Time or Part-Time.
  • 28% of Students Have Children of Their Own or Care For Dependent Family Members.
  • 32% of Students Are from Low-Income Families.
  • The Secondary Education Experience Has an Increasingly High Variation, Resulting In Students Whose Preparation For College-Level Work Varies Greatly.

Future of Higher Education (and impacts on University Facilities & Management)

The future of higher education depends on innovation. 

University leaders who would risk dual transformation are required to exercise full commitment to multiple, potentially conflicting visions of the future. They undoubtedly confront skepticism, resistance, and inertia, which may sway them from pursuing overdue reforms.[v]

Change is upon us.

“All universities are very much struggling to answer the question of: What does [digitization[vi]] mean, and as technology rapidly changes, how can we leverage it?” . . . . Colleges afraid of asking that question do so at their own peril.”[vii]

James Soto Antony, the director of the higher-education program at Harvard’s graduate school of education.

Changing Assumptions

Until recently the need for a physical campus was based on several assumptions:

  • Physical Class Time Was Required
  • Meaningful Exchanges Occurred Face to Face
  • The Value of an Institution Was Tied to a Specific Geography
  • Books Were on Paper
  • An Undergraduate Degree Required Eight Semesters
  • Research Required Specialized Locations
  • Interactions Among Students and Faculty Were Synchronous

Implications for the Physical Campus

  • Learning – Course by course, pedagogy is being rethought to exploit the flexibility and placelessness of digital formats while maximizing the value of class time.
  • Libraries – Libraries are finding the need to provide more usable space for students and faculty.  Whether engaged in study, research or course projects, the campus community continues to migrate back to the library.
  • Offices – While the rest of North America has moved to mobile devices and shared workspaces, academic organizations tend to be locked into the private, fixed office arrangement of an earlier era – little changed from a time without web browsers and cell phones. 
  • Digital Visible – From an institutional perspective, many of the implications of digital transformation are difficult to see, lost in a thicket of business issues presenting themselves with increasing urgency. 

Changing Trajectory

University presidents and provosts are always faced with the choice of staying the course or modifying the trajectory of their institutions.  Due to failing business models, rapidly evolving digital competition and declining public support, the stakes are rising.  All should be asking how they should think about the campus built for the 21st century.[viii]  J. Michael Haggans[ix] makes the following recommendations:

  • Build no net additional square feet
  • Upgrade the best; get rid of the rest
  • Manage space and time; rethink capacity
  • Right-size the whole
  • Take sustainable action
  • Make campus matter

More Trends in Higher Education (Towards 2030)

  • The Rise of The Mega-University[x]
  • ; Public Private Partnerships (P3’s) Procurement Procedures Will Become More Prevalent
  • More Colleges Will Adopt Test-Optional Admissions
  • Social Mobility Will Matter More in College Rankings
  • Urban Colleges Will Expand[xi] — But Carefully
  • Financial Crunches Will Force More Colleges to Merge
  • The Traditional Textbook Will Be Hard to Find; Free and Open Textbooks
  • More Unbundling and Micro-Credentials
  • Continued Focus on Accelerating Mobile Apps
  • Re-Imagining Physical Campus Space in Response to New Teaching Delivery Methods
  • Transforming the Campus into A Strategic Asset with Technology
  • Education Facilities Become Environmental Innovators
  • Ethics and Inclusion: Designing for The AI Future We Want to Live In
  • Visibility (Transparency) And Connectedness
  • Sustainability from Multiple Perspectives
  • Better Customer Experiences with The Digital Supply Chain
  • Individualized Learning Design, Personalized Adaptive Learning
  • Stackable Learning Accreditation
  • Increased Personalization: More Competency-Based Education They’ll Allow Students to Master A Skill or Competency at Their Own Pace.
  • Adaptation to Workplace Needs They’ll Adapt Coursework to Meet Employer Needs for Workforce Expertise
  • Greater Affordability and Accessibility They’ll Position Educational Programs to Support Greater Availability.
  • More Hybrid Degrees[xii]
  • More Certificates and Badges, For Example: Micro-Certificates, Offer Shorter, More Compact Programs to Provide Needed Knowledge and Skills Fast[xiii]
  • Increased Sustainable Facilities – Environmental Issues Will Become Even More Important Due to Regulations and Social Awareness; Reduced Energy Costs, Water Conservation, Less Waste
  • Health & Wellness – Physical, Spiritual and Metal Wellbeing
  • Diversity and Inclusion Will Increase
  • Rise of The Micro-Campus[xiv] And Shared Campuses[xv]
  • E-Advising to Help Students Graduate
  • Evidence-Based Pedagogy
  • The Decline of The Lone-Eagle Teaching Approach (More Collaboration)
  • Optimized Class Time (70% Online, 30% Face to Face)
  • Easier Educational Transitions
  • Fewer Large Lecture Classes
  • Increased Competency-Based and Prior-Learning Credits (Credit for Moocs or From “Real World” Experience)[xvi]
  • Data-Driven Instruction
  • Aggressive Pursuit of New Revenue
  • Online and Low-Residency Degrees at Flagships
  • Deliberate Innovation, Lifetime Education[xvii]
  • The Architecture of The Residential Campus Will Evolve to Support the Future.
  • Spaces Will Be Upgraded to Try to Keep Up with Changes That Would Build In Heavy Online Usage.
  • Spaces Will Be Transformed and Likely Resemble Large Centralized, Integrated Laboratory Type Spaces. 
  • Living-Learning Spaces in Combination Will Grow, But On Some Campuses, Perhaps Not In The Traditional Way That We Have Thought About Living-Learning To Date.

Driving Technologies:

  • Emerging Technologies – Such as Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, And Artificial Intelligence – Will Eventually Shape What the Physical Campus Of The Future Will Look Like, But Not Replace It.[xviii]
  • Mobile Digital Transformation[xix]
  • Smart Buildings and Smart Cities[xx]
  • Internet of Things
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI), Including Natural Language Processing
  • Automation (Maintenance and Transportation Vehicles, Instructors, What Else?)
  • Virtual Experience Labs, Including: Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality Learning, And Robotic Telepresence 
  • More Technology Instruction and Curricula Will Feature Digital Tools and Media Even More Prominently
  • New Frontiers For E-Learning, For Example, Blurred Modalities (Expect Online and Traditional Face-To-Face Learning to Merge)[xxi]
  • Blending the Traditional; The Internet Will Play Bigger Role in Learning
  • Big Data: Colleges Will Hone Data Use to Improve Outcomes

External Forces:

  • [xxii]: Corporate Learning Is A Freshly Lucrative Market
  • Students and Families Will Focus More on College Return On Investment, Affordability And Student Loan Debt
  • [xxiii]
  • Greater Accountability; Schools will be more accountable to students and graduates
  • Labor Market Shifts and the Rise of Automation
  • Economic Shifts and Moves Toward Emerging Markets
  • Growing Disconnect Between Employer Demands and College Experience 
  • The Growth in Urbanization and A Shift Toward Cities 
  • Restricted Immigration Policies and Student Mobility
  • Lack of Supply but Growth in Demand
  • The Rise in Non-Traditional Students 
  • Dwindling Budgets for Institutions[xxiv]
  • Complex Thinking Required Will Seek to Be Vehicles of Societal Transformation, Preparing Students to Solve Complex Global Issues

Sources & References:


[i] Online education is a flexible instructional delivery system that encompasses any kind of learning that takes place via the Internet. The quantity of distance learning and online degrees in most disciplines is large and increasing rapidly.

[ii] An Income Share Agreement (or ISA) is a financial structure in which an individual or organization provides something of value (often a fixed amount of money) to a recipient who, in exchange, agrees to pay back a percentage of their income for a fixed number of years.

[iii] Transnational education (TNE) is education delivered in a country other than the country in which the awarding institution is based, i.e., students based in country Y studying for a degree from a university in country Z.

[iv] Article accessed on April 16, 2019: https://er.educause.edu/articles/2019/3/changing-demographics-and-digital-transformation

[v]Article accessed on April 16, 2019: https://ssir.org/articles/entry/design_thinking_for_higher_education

[vi] Digitization is the process of changing from analog to digital form.

[vii] Article accessed on April 16, 2019:  https://qz.com/1070119/the-future-of-the-university-is-in-the-air-and-in-the-cloud

[viii] Article accessed on April 16, 2019: http://c21u.gatech.edu/blog/future-campus-digital-world

[ix] Michael Haggans is a Visiting Scholar in the College of Design at the University of Minnesota and Visiting Professor in the Center for 21st Century Universities at Georgia Institute of Technology.  He is a licensed architect with a Masters of Architecture from the State University of New York at Buffalo.  He has led architectural practices serving campuses in the US and Canada, and was University Architect for the University of Missouri System and University of Arizona.

[x] Article accessed on April 16, 2019:  https://www.chronicle.com/interactives/Trend19-MegaU-Main

[xi] Article accessed on April 16, 2019:  https://www.lincolninst.edu/sites/default/files/pubfiles/1285_wiewel_final.pdf

[xii] Article accessed on April 16, 2019: https://www.fastcompany.com/3046299/this-is-the-future-of-college

[xiii] Article accessed on April 16, 2019: https://www.govtech.com/education/higher-ed/Why-Micro-Credentials-Universities.html

[xiv] Article accessed on April 16, 2019: https://global.arizona.edu/micro-campus

[xv] Article accessed on April 16, 2019: https://evolllution.com/revenue-streams/global_learning/a-new-global-model-the-micro-campus

[xvi] Article accessed on April 16, 2019:  https://www.chronicle.com/article/The-Future-Is-Now-15/140479

[xvii] Article accessed on April 16, 2019:  https://evolllution.com/revenue-streams/market_opportunities/looking-to-2040-anticipating-the-future-of-higher-education

[xviii] Article accessed on April 16, 2019: https://www.eypae.com/publication/2017/future-college-campus

[xix] Article accessed on April 16, 2019: https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2019/02/digital-transformation-quest-rethink-campus-operations

[xx] Article accessed on April 16, 2019: https://ilovemyarchitect.com/?s=smart+buildings

[xxi] Article accessed on April 16, 2019: https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2018/04/college-online-degree-blended-learning/557642

[xxii] Article accessed on April 16, 2019: https://qz.com/1191619/amazon-is-becoming-its-own-university

[xxiii] Article accessed on April 16, 2019: https://www.fastcompany.com/3029109/5-bold-predictions-for-the-future-of-higher-education

[xxiv] Article accessed on April 16, 2019: https://www.acenet.edu/the-presidency/columns-and-features/Pages/state-funding-a-race-to-the-bottom.aspx

We would love to hear from you about what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,

FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook



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