As higher education institutions face new demands from society, students, and the government, the ground is shifting beneath them. It’s abundantly clear that tweaking the status quo won’t solve the affordability issues that students face. Slight improvements to current models won’t rectify brutal disparities in access and outcomes in higher education. Many institutions are aware of this—particularly smaller, rural schools, which are struggling with declining enrollments and ensuing financial tailspins.
Innovative models are necessary to address higher education’s internal and external challenges, and in a recent paper, College Transformed, I highlight five institutions that are pioneering new paths forward. Despite the obstacles leaders face, such as accreditation, and the unknown response of accreditors to potential organizational change, there are strategies that can help propel innovative models forward.
Barbara Brittingham, president of the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education at the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), agrees that innovation is necessary. “We live in challenging times, especially for education, and there is an understanding that just doing the same thing as it’s been done in the past won’t address the challenges or take advantage of opportunities,” she says. NEASC accredits three of the five innovative institutions highlighted in “College Transformed,” including Simmons College, Northeastern University, and Southern New Hampshire University.…Read More