Signs of reimagination in higher education

The pandemic will forever alter the world order… the world will never be the same.

                                                                                                              Henry Kissinger

Signs of reimagination in higher education

Higher education is in the midst of change embraced by some and feared by others. This week’s bulletin will list a few of reimagined higher education initiatives that could be embraced or feared.

Change will come to higher education. It is inevitable. Like many residuals left in the wake of the pandemic, the student-consumer market will determine how fast and how permanent the changes will be for higher education practices and protocols.

A survey conducted by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and Gallup, published in April 2021, revealed that 45% of the parents polled want alternative options to the four-year degree. These survey results, while only measuring a specific segment of the higher education market in the United States, may turn out to be representative of the worldwide higher education market.

Online Learning News

On March 18, 2021, an article, Ten Emerging Developments Are Shaping a Different Future for Colleges and Universities was published. The ten trends listed are:

Modules, stackable credentials

365 admissions

Access to technology

Learner mobility

Mode choice

Assessment on demand

Competency-based learning for skills

Collaborative programing

Enabling the green transition

Strong focus on Indigenous education and learning

Those of you who do receive my weekly bulletins will realize that with few exceptions, the ten emerging developments match the components of the definition of a reimagined university.


The International Coalition for Global Education and Exchange

On April 1, 2021, the International Coalition for Global Education and Exchange asked the United States to create programs and policies that support international education and exchange. The goals include: doubling the number of international students and exchange visitors by 2025; doubling the number of high need Americans who study abroad by 2025; doubling the number of American students studying science and technology abroad; increasing resources and opportunities, and doubling the number of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and first generation college students and increasing the number of LGBTQ+ students who study abroad by 2025.


Joint Statement of Global University Leaders on the 2020 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Last month 56 university presidents agreed to commit to joint collaboration and action to meet the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015. The chief executives agreed to collaborate on specific problems with innovative technology. International interdependence and collaboration are one of the positive pandemic residuals for higher education.


International Branch Campuses

International branch campuses have been around for decades. Currently there are 250 international branch campuses operating around the world, enrolling more than 180,000 students. In the reimagined higher education world, with the potential for another pandemic, branch campuses could mitigate the disruption caused by travel restrictions, visa delays and closed borders. Enrolling in a local branch campus reduces the costs of overseas enrollment. The student-consumer will determine if this safer and cheaper option is worth investigation and enrollment.

It is unclear how many families can no longer afford to send their children abroad but in a recent survey, published in the 13 March 2021 issue of University World News, Africa edition, nearly half of the respondents indicated they could no longer afford a study abroad destination.


Online and Digital Recruitment

Over the past months I have written about the need for current recruitment and admission practices to be reimagined. I believe students will demand to begin studying not at a specific date but after acceptance. I also believe that the pandemic proved that in person recruitment should be supplemented by online and digital recruitment.

Case in point: Since 2009, Studyportals, the on-line, one-stop information application platform, has assisted 485,000 students to study abroad. And ApplyBoard, a similar application service, has helped 160,000 students study abroad. These two companies, among others, help students find the college or university that is the best fit for them.

Does this mean the agent system will die a natural death? No. But it does mean  it will change. Does this mean that current recruitment outreach practices will change? No. But they should change. Does this mean that no longer will recruiters board airplanes? No. But the timing and the frequency of the visits will change.

Does this mean that admission deans should begin exploring online and digital recruitment collaboration? What do you think?


Fabulous Facts

The online education market is expected to grow by $247.46 billion from 2020 to 2024, according to Technavio and Ambow Education Holding Ltd., and Coursera Inc. will emerge as the major online education provider during the same time period.

The current global edtech market is estimated to be $180 bn and is likely to grow around 15% per year to reach a total value of 400 bn by 2025.