HED disruption

Beyond disruption: The future of higher education

Four main drivers will force institutions to transform and adapt for future success

Universities are in the middle of a transformation that is challenging the status quo and is forcing higher-ed leaders to embrace change if they wish to remain relevant.

Four broad drivers are behind this disruption, said James Phelps, director of enterprise architecture and strategy at the University of Washington and winner of the 2018 EDUCAUSE Community Leadership Award, during EDUCAUSE 2018.

Shifting skills, the digital transformation, employment and income challenges, and the higher-ed financial crisis have brought higher education to a critical space in between disruption and transformation, Phelps said.

Those four topics create a landscape that can give higher-ed leaders a better idea of how higher education is changing and what institutions might look like post-disruption.

Driver 1: Shifting skills

“We have changing relationships on campus and we have to help our staff navigate these changes,” Phelps said. “We have great people, but they need new and different skills now,” he added, citing Gartner research predicting that in 10 years, the IT skills today’s workers will need will be completely different from the skills they possess today.

1. Create a strategic investment fund for reskilling the workforce
2. Build a strategic workforce development center focusing on continuous development and alignment
3. Create a continuous learning and improvement culture among all staff
4. Actively manage human resource debt

Laura Ascione