Over the past weeks and months, I have written extensively about the reimagined university emerging after the pandemic ceases to dominate life and learning. In the post-pandemic world of higher education, outdated academic and administrative protocols will no longer meet the needs and the demands of the reimagined student.
The higher education student-consumer has changed. They know they can integrate online and in person classroom instruction. They know that alternative educational providers can offer short courses, boot camps, and certificate programs at a fraction of the cost of a single college course. They know they no longer want to graduate from college with unmanageable debt and an uncertain future. Students have options.
The following are some of the characteristics of a reimagined applicant, a reimagined enrolled student, and a reimagined graduate.
Before applying to any college or university, the reimagined applicant will know:
Availability of credit-bearing gap year projects.
Health procedures in place in the event of another natural disaster.
The protocols in place for students experiencing mental health or emotional issues.
The courses necessary to take in order to graduate in two, three, or four years and the sequencing of the courses.
Availability of hybrid learning.
Differential costs for in-person teaching and online instruction and the availability of scholarships and financial aid.
Progression of first year students to the second year and the retention and graduation statistics for all students.
The name and contact information for an academic, administrative, and career counseling advisor
Availability of internships.
Calendar of semester starts and stops.
List and contact information for all clubs and organizations.
Profile of graduates – employability at the time of graduation and graduate and professional school placement.
List of area alumni.
After matriculation enrolled students will be given:
List of names and contact information for all relevant college and university personnel.
Schedule of meetings with an academic advisor.
Schedule of meetings with career and lifelong learning counselor.
Schedule of meetings with financial aid counselor.
Availability of personal financial management courses and seminars.
Schedule of meetings with a graduation counselor (registrar).
List of study abroad opportunities.
Contact information for staff in the student health and counseling office.
In a reimagined university, graduates with have a lifetime engagement with their college or university. That engagement will include the following:
List of one free course awarded to each graduate at the time of graduation.
Graduates will have multiple transcripts listing not only courses completed but the competencies learned in each course.
List of courses, short-term courses, and certificate programs offered to graduates at a reduced or no cost.
List of graduates in home state or country.
List of upcoming alumni events.
The future of reimagined universities rests with the vision of the chief academic and administrative officers. But reimagined students will also help shape how schools will meet their expectations. In the post-pandemic world of higher education, students have shorter, more flexible, and cheaper options.
Students will help create vision statements. They will determine, in part, what their schools will “look like” after some sort of normalcy returns to higher education. They will decide when they want to begin their academic program and how much they are willing to pay for it. They will help design new learning and living spaces on campus. They will demand a commitment from their college or university for lifelong learning.
And they, in turn, will make a commitment to their school for life, not just for a specific period of time. Perhaps one of the most significant residuals of the pandemic will be the reimagining of the relationship between college, university, applicant, student, and graduate.