Universities across the globe are facing tremendous pressure to evolve and innovate to meet the demands of today’s job market. Not only are they tasked with optimizing operations and academic programs with the latest technologies, but they also must fight back against a growing cultural cynicism about the value a degree provides students in the real-world.

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The challenges of student loan debt, scarce public financing and a hyper-competitive job market in a digital economy are making prospective students ask tough questions about the return on investment of higher education.

Upending decades of cultural emphasis on the value of higher education in the U.S., many of today’s hottest companies like Netflix, Google and Apple no longer require a college degree for employment. Top CEOs are speaking out and challenging universities to make programs that are relevant to industry or encouraging drastic reimagining of course delivery to drive vocational relevance.

According to Gartner, Inc., a research and advisory company, “analyses about the future of work focus on the impact of automation, the need to work alongside smart machines, the gig economy and the emergence of new types of careers.” Gartner suggests that “a shift toward more skills-based and practical training and a shift toward lifelong learning will be necessary.”

About the Author:

Guthrie White is the CEO of Quantum Information Technology, the developer and vendor of the InPlace Software product suite. As a founding partner in the business, White drove the development of the InPlace application as a global software product servicing universities across the world. After 30 years in the IT industry designing, developing and deploying innovative, business transformational IT solutions, Guthrie sees InPlace as core to the next wave of growth for QuantumIT and a transformational opportunity for the education industry.