Where is Higher Education Headed?
Like every other education sector, the landscape of Higher Education has had to pivot several times over the last four years. Undoubtedly, COVID-19 caused change in schools and the need to modify and adapt just about everything. However, education trends have also changed, and technology has certainly contributed to a universal roundtable conversation asking the big question, “What’s next?”
Here are the top five topics in Higher Education right now
1. Faculty & Staff
K-12 education is not the only place where schools are seeing teacher shortages. Human resources shortages continue to impact higher ed. Why? Faculty and staff are finding other professional outlets with equal or better pay. They are also retiring at rates faster than that at which institutions can acquire new talent.
Additionally, professionals at these learning institutions suffer burnout and fatigue from the ever-changing nature of higher education. Remote work has also impacted the culture of higher education. Just because educators can work remotely does not mean it is always the most effective model for universities and colleges, focusing primarily on people.
2. Student Enrollment
Enrollment trends have indicated for some time that fewer and fewer first-year students are entering college immediately after high school. The data tells us that although high school graduation rates have increased, new graduates are not entering college immediately after high school. The reasons for this often contribute to the cost of attendance, coupled with the cost of living.
3. A Sense of Belonging
There is great emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion across high ed campuses and institutions. This sense of belonging is vital to achieving higher education’s goal to deliver on the promise of educating students who will contribute to the greater good of society. Helping all students find their place at college through various opportunities will be critical to the future of higher education.
4. Continuing Education
There are more continuing education and alternative paths to education opportunities than ever before. Higher education must continue to put in great effort with solid initiatives to build alternative credentials that help students incrementally gain skills and increase their employability. Offering customized continuing education courses will allow students to grow and provide opportunities for partnerships with private employment sectors.
5. A New Landscape
The business model of Higher Education looks different than it used to. Higher Ed is a complex landscape with technological advances and various paths to earn a degree now. The need to accommodate all students while ensuring they receive a quality education and retaining qualified teachers and professionals is a lot to balance, along with rising costs and lower attendance rates.
Change in higher education will require planning, practice, and application to move higher education into the future. Trends will undoubtedly continue to impact higher education over the next three to five years. Higher education professionals must prepare for these trends, ask the difficult questions, and plan to combat these often complex challenges. The ability to seek and provide higher learning is a gift that will continue to be given, however, its packaging just might look a little different.
Written By: Meredith Biesinger
Professional Writer/ Education Specialist
Meredith Biesinger is a licensed dyslexia therapist in Mississippi, in addition to being an experienced classroom teacher and K-12 administrator. Meredith also works as a consultant, where she bridges the bridge the gap between K-12 school districts and ed-tech organizations. With a passion for literacy, she is also a professional writer and syndicated author. With a M.Ed in Educational Leadership and a B.S. in English Education and Creative Writing, she has had rich and diverse opportunities to teach students and education professionals in different parts of the country as well as overseas.
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