We all know that institutions of higher education place a supreme value on research—just not always for or about themselves! As an old academic myself and the leader of our education practice at Campos, professors and administrators have lately posed the same series of questions to me in the hopes that I have some answers based on research, and not inference. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t. But the questions seem to repeat themselves (think Groundhog Day!), so it seems they are all facing similar challenges.
As a result, we have developed a series of solutions for helping our clients get the answers on current issues in higher education they are searching for. Maybe we have already answered some of the concerns you have.
Here are the top 10 questions we’ve heard from higher ed clients in the last year.
1. “How do we know what types of courses or programs students really want?”
It can cost over $200,000 to initiate a new academic program, and educators want to know if it will be successful before they spend the money.
2. “What is the value proposition of higher ed to Millennials (GenY), GenZers, and their parents?”
Quality learning, being prepared for the future, and more pragmatic concerns like getting a job have all been touted as the value of a college education.
3. “How do we align programs with workforce development trends?”
More colleges and universities seek to offer programs that teach students skills for jobs that are available in the local and regional market.
4. “How can we leverage the Maker/space movement?”
Educators want to know how to construct spaces that offers creative learning to students: collaborative, hands-on, problem-solving, and project-based.
5. “What types of interdisciplinary programs and courses should we offer?”
STEM has become STEAM, by adding “arts” to science, technology, engineering, and math. Schools want to leverage and build upon this interdisciplinary focus.
6. “How can we work constructively with the private sector?”
Educators endeavor to work more closely with businesses while maintaining academic freedom, and want information about best practices.
7. “Which soft skills training should colleges and universities offer?”
Educators want to know how to build curriculum around soft skills, such as work ethic, emotional intelligence, and communications skills, to prepare students for the workforce.
8. “How can ‘distance learning’ be improved and made more appealing to students?”
Educators are searching for the most effective ways to leverage technology to bring students together in a cooperative learning environment.
9. “What should we do about free online courses?”
College and universities are pursuing ways to integrate MOOCs (massive open online courses) into their curriculum, while maintaining academic rigor.
10. “Is there a primer that helps us understand today’s student?”
Younger generations have been taught to embrace “A Measurable Life” and lead their lives according to the principle of “Made to Order.” Educators want to understand their culture.
How many of these questions are your questions, too—the ones you ask yourself while you drive to campus or run on the treadmill each day? These higher education issues have captivated me and my team, leading us to develop solutions to help you solve them. Stay tuned over the next several weeks as we explore each question—and ways to approach each challenge—in more detail.
image: © Nexusplexus