5 higher-ed management challenges leaders face each day

Academic leaders face higher-ed management challenges every day. Some have relatively clear-cut solutions, while others are more complicated and require critical thinking and innovation.

From meeting the demands of a new group of traditional students to juggling recruitment and retention at the community college level, there’s always something testing higher-ed leaders’ mettle.

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Here are five higher-ed management challenges facing leaders each day:

1. Understanding adult learners. Adults are quickly taking over a larger and larger part of the student population at colleges and universities–and understanding adult learners is key to institutional success. The idea of the “traditional student” who graduates high school and enrolls in a university, graduating in four years, is transforming. The majority of today’s learners are adult learners–those juggling school with work or family responsibilities, or those seeking new skills or a complete career change. Many institutions are focusing on adult learner programs to help boost their growth and revenue as enrollment projections decline.


College-educated adults get an F in digital literacy

A new survey casts doubt on whether college-educated adults have and are using digital literacy skills to critically examine information and news sources.

While 88 percent of respondents say they are confident in their critical thinking skills, only a minority received an “A” on a digital literacy test, according to a new national study from edtech firm MindEdge Learning.

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The third annual State of Critical Thinking study, commissioned by MindEdge and conducted by Qualtrics, finds that a large majority of college-educated Americans could not pass a basic, nine-question digital literacy, fake news identification, and critical thinking skills test. Fully 69 percent of survey respondents failed to answer more than five of the questions correctly.


Educational simulation helps students tackle real challenges

Over the course of two weeks, one group of University of Michigan students was tasked with fighting the opioid crisis. During the semester, another class determined the fates of students seeking admission to universities. A third group at the Ross School of Business found out what it was like to be ambushed by media during a business crisis.

Though their work was hypothetical, a simulation tool brought these situations to life.

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ViewPoint is a digital educational simulation tool that allows educators to make and implement simulations in the classroom. Students are assigned roles to play and are given information about the characters they’re representing.

They then use ViewPoint to look over the simulation content, communicate with other participants via email or tweet-style updates, and help make decisions that determine the progression of the simulation. Real-time updates or breaking news delivered by facilitators on ViewPoint add complications to the educational simulation.