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Lumina Foundation: It’s time to reflect on what college should be

Read It’s time to reflect on what college should be by James Merisotis, from the Lumina Foundation, May 18, 2020

The previous two posts focused on the challenges that incoming college students face, as they consider pursuing a degree this fall…or not. But there are still opportunities to look at the product being sold to young adults and older adult students looking to complete degrees.

America’s colleges and universities weren’t serving everyone equally well in the first place. That’s especially true for people who are Black, Hispanic and Native American and those from low-income families — who are growing in numbers.

To ensure real opportunity for everyone, we need fresh ideas.

By James Merisotis, Lumina Foundation, May 18, 2020

I was working in higher ed during the most recent recession and saw the impact that financial instability had on students choosing to finish their degrees, and making sure their return on investment would enable to the family to repay loans faster. I also know a number of people who dropped out to earn money for their families, stuck with mortgages and younger siblings to take care of. We need a way to get them back into school!

Even so, there are reasons for optimism. In the United States, about 36 million people have tried college but never finished their degrees. We should address the reasons why. A return to economic vitality will mean successfully reaching many of them to fill the jobs requiring skills that are in demand by companies, big and small, that make it through the recession.

To meet the needs of these students will mean revising or setting aside outdated intellectual traditions and investing in technology-enabled business models, investing in faculty training on new pedagogy such as competency-based learning and augmenting face-to-face interactions.

Within the next two to three years, a number of institutions are going to close their doors to new students. We will have a partial generation of high school students who will be ill-prepared to advance to an advanced degree immediately after college. Our business and office models will change as we adapt to prolonged social distancing in the workplace. This means that our higher education industry will need a way to bring in people to complete degrees – including those 36 million who have partial college credits but no degree. What can you add to this conversation at your own institution, for the students you serve?

Read It’s time to reflect on what college should be by James Merisotis, from the Lumina Foundation, May 18, 2020


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Joseph Rios, EdD
leadershipandvaluesinaction@gmail.com
I am Joseph Rios and I believe that leadership is an expression of our values
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