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What Colleges and Universities Will Thrive, Survive, Struggle, or Perish?

There is no shortage of people who are forecasting the demise of some colleges and universities over the next few years. For example, in a blog article I wrote earlier this year, I reviewed The College Stress Test, a book written by Bob Zemsky, Susan Shaman, and Susan Campbell Baldridge. Based on their pre-COVID-19 analysis of institutional enrollment and financial data submitted to the Department of Education’s Integrated Post-Secondary Education Data System (IPEDS), they predicted that 10 percent of all colleges and universities are in danger of closing over the next few years.

Will Zoom and COVID-19 Accelerate Drucker’s 1997 Prediction?

In 1997, Forbes Magazine published an article titled "Seeing things as they really are," which was an interview about the future with legendary management professor Dr. Peter F. Drucker. When asked about the future of higher education, Drucker said, "Thirty years from now, the big university campuses will be relics. Universities won't survive. It's as large a change as when we first got the printed book. The college won't survive as a residential institution. Today's buildings are hopelessly unsuited and totally unneeded." Given that his prediction was for 30 years in the future, Dr. Drucker has six more years for something similar to it to occur.  

Has the Coronavirus Accelerated the Future of Assessment?

Times Higher Education (THE) published an article about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the assessment of learning in colleges and universities. Steve Masters, Education 4.0 Lead at Jisc (formerly the Joint Information Systems Committee), stated, “Universities’ first challenge was to get remote working up and running and get learning out there during this ‘triage’ period, but there’s a disconnect between what we need to do for students moving forward and what’s happening now.” Masters believes that as universities prepare for the possibility of teaching online in the fall, online assessment will need to be on the agenda.

Higher Ed Publications and Publishing Uninformed Opinions

In Monday’s Inside Higher Ed, regular contributor Joshua Kim calls out the online publication’s editors for allowing the publication of an op-ed titled “Generals Die in Bed,” written by Jeff Kolnick, a professor of history at Southwest Minnesota State University. Dr. Kim, Director of Online Programs and Strategy at Dartmouth’s Center for the Advancement of Learning (and co-author of Learning Innovation and the Future of Higher Education, which I recently reviewed), states that he does not disagree with Dr. Kolnick’s concerns about the health risks of face-to-face instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a matter of fact, Dr. Kim shares the same concerns.

Indispensable Institutions: Reimagining Community Colleges

Opportunity America, a Washington, DC think tank and policy shop, issued a report last week that reimagines the role of community colleges. The JPMorgan Chase Foundation and the Lumina Foundation sponsored the initiative, which included assembling a group of educators and policy makers across the U.S. in 2019. The group met with guest speakers to discuss the current status of community colleges and how they might adapt in line with the future changes in the workforce due to technology innovations.

NCAA Student-Athletes and Their Post-College Outcomes

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) leadership and institutional members partnered with the Gallup organization to examine the long-term life outcomes of NCAA athletes post-graduation from college. Through the Gallup Alumni Survey, the largest national study of U.S. college graduates, responses from 4,889 student-athletes who graduated from college between 1975 and 2019 were compared to responses from non-athletes.

Are Elite Colleges Worth the High Price of Attendance?

In a recent opinion piece published in USA Today, Rick Hess, Director of Education Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, questions the value of attending a selective college if you’re watching online lectures from your parents’ home. Dr. Hess writes that many elite colleges market the irreplaceable experiences of living on campus and if campuses are closed in the fall, those experiences and the reasons for attending go away.