Most Popular of 2015, No. 5: College presidents predict new institutional models

bustamante200Personalized learning trumps all

By Chris Bustamante, president of Rio Salado College

A redesign of the traditional higher education model is underway. Change-agent institutions that use data to drive evidence-based decision making are exploring and implementing next generation learning models and pushing beyond the limits of tradition. Student-centric institutions that are nimble enough to respond to the changing landscape of higher education are the colleges and universities of the future.

Higher education models of the future will be based in personalized learning, customized to the needs of the individual student. Predictive analytics will become a standard for learning management systems and support high-tech, high-touch outreach. Real-time dashboards will tell students how they are doing in their coursework and where they are on their pathway to a degree. These dashboards will also be visible to faculty and college staff, who can in turn encourage persistence through appropriate interventions.

As we move into the future the credit hour will continue to be used for administrative and financial purposes; however, learning models such as competency-based education which demonstrate improved student learning outcomes will replace seat time as a learning measurement. These learning models will also recognize learning that takes place outside the classroom and enable students to move forward in coursework at their own pace as they demonstrate content competency. In addition, credit awarded for prior learning will be widely recognized and more easily transferable between institutions nationwide.

As funding revenues continue to decline, institutions will reset their business models to include an increase in public and private partnerships to leverage resources from these relationships. We will also see a leveraging of resources across institutional boundaries and programming that avoids duplication within regional ecosystems of higher education.

Rio Salado College serves nearly 59,000 students annually with more than 30,000 students online. Dr. Bustamante is an advocate for increasing access to higher education and degree completion, and for forging partnerships with business, government, and other educational providers.

crow200A new American research university

By Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University

Change at research institutions over the course of the next decade will likely be only incremental. Despite the urgent need to provide advanced levels of education to a broader demographic sector, most research universities are content to maintain modest enrollments and turn away the majority of academically qualified applicants.

Transformation of American higher education is however the objective of the New American University model, which I envisioned when I became president of Arizona State University. At ASU I have led a comprehensive reconceptualization of the nation’s largest public research university to facilitate accessibility to a research-grade education. ASU serves as the foundational prototype for the New American University, which is predicated not only on academic excellence, but also inclusiveness to a broad demographic as well as maximum societal impact. The reconceptualization is discussed as a case study in the book I coauthored with William Dabars, Designing a New American University (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015).

Accessibility to research-grade academic platforms is similarly the context for the formation of the University Innovation Alliance, a consortium of large public research universities that endeavors to promote student success, especially to socioeconomically disadvantaged students. In addition to ASU, our eleven member institutions include Ohio State and the University of Texas, Austin.

Dr. Crow became the 16th president of Arizona State University on July 1, 2002.

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