higher education

5 approaches will shape higher ed’s future—which will you follow?

Higher-ed stakeholders can work together to meet growing demands for relevance

Five specific approaches could help address new realities of and demands on public higher education, according to a new report.

These new models also will work to improve the student experience, and they are detailed in The Future(s) of Public Higher Education, released by Deloitte’s Center for Higher Education Excellence and Georgia Tech’s Center for 21st Century Universities.

The report offers an example of a current university and how its practices align with one of the five approaches.

Higher ed will have to respond to the academic and financial needs of its current and future learners in order to maintain relevance, experts have consistently said.

“The rapid pace of change in higher education, due in large part to shifting learner demographics, mandates a new educational model for public universities,” says Rich DeMillo, executive director of Georgia Tech’s Center for 21st Century Universities. “This report outlines critical examples of ways that public universities might revitalize their approach and meet the demands of learners with a wide variety of needs.”

The five approaches include:

1. The Entrepreneurial University: A state university system differentiates its offerings at the institution level while coordinating at the system level to align educational investments with student—and state economic—needs. Individual institutions would specialize in areas such as undergraduate education, vocational training, or research, while degree programs and curricula would be centrally influenced through the definition of clear goals by the state and system.

Example: Western Governors University (WGU) is a nonprofit university established to expand access to quality higher education to adult students with some college and no degree. WGU is the nation’s first accredited competency-based education (CBE) university, providing CBE online and at scale.

Laura Ascione