Long heralded as the path to the American Dream, soaring tuition resulting in crushing debt has tarnished higher education’s appeal. Enter a pandemic necessitating online learning and some parents and students are questioning if the benefits outweigh the costs. Furthermore, nationwide protests for social justice in the midst of the pandemic raise the question of the role higher education has to play in shaping the values of our nation’s citizenry.
Most students attend a university with a particular career in mind, but future changes in technology will not only change those careers, but also create entirely new ones. The traditional model of a terminal degree providing the education necessary for a lifelong career now seems anachronistic. How will the traditional university environment serve adult learners throughout the course of their careers? Will universities expand their offerings to be better align with what the industry is looking for in shorter bursts of learning that allow people to remain current and competitive throughout their careers? Soaring costs are vexing to parents, students and administrators. Will partnerships emerge between smaller institutions of higher learning in order to leverage strengths and mitigate costs? Will online-only learning ventures such as Minerva remain outliers, or act as paradigm-shifting disruptors, obliterating the very experience of higher learning?
Join former Yale president Rick Levin, current Penn State president Eric Barron and moderator Kathryn Regjo of Colorado Mountain College as they examine the future of higher education.