Anne Kelsch, Director, Office of Instructional Development, University of North Dakota
This fall’s Reflecting on Teaching Colloquium revolves around the “The Future of Higher Education.” If you read the first fall issue of On Teaching, you read my reflections on how we came to this focus. The Colloquium goes all day Friday and has a Saturday workshop that goes until noon (Sept. 30 & Oct. 1). We will need a headcount for food-related events, so please register through the on-line form on the OID web site by September 21, letting us know you plan to attend. You will find the full colloquium brochure of events online as well. Online registration helps with planning and is greatly appreciated, but if you won’t be joining us for meals or the reception, registration will also be available onsite.
You may want to look at Ken O’Donnell’s full Betting on Gravity presentation (168 slides in total) but he gave me permission to post a few of his slides that I found must meaningful. The first shows the growth in post-secondary enrollments in the US since just after the Civil War.
It is an awesome growth curve. The next graph represents the composition of these enrollments at US colleges and universities (numbers are a little out of date but still valuable as an indicator of diversity).
As you can see over one third of post-secondary students are ethnic minorities.
And two out of five are the first in their families to earn degrees. In other words more and more people from more diverse backgrounds are gaining access to higher education. And an even larger share are on the way.
Based on patterns of immigration, birth rates, and life expectancy for each population, in 2050the US will look like this:
Another set of projections that has big implications for higher education are the levels of training that will be required for employment to the year 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
The far right bar represents the percentage of jobs that will only require On-the-Job Training — no formal education after high school. The highest percentage of job growth, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, will be in work that requires community college or associate’s degrees. Now the average increase in job creation across all educational preparation will be just over 10% (indicated by the red line in the slide). That means all the people who stopped at high school will get fewer than their current share of the jobs, and everyone who continues will get more. They are not “the interesting jobs” or “the high-paying jobs,” but any jobs (and by the way, Ken believes these projections are understating the need for education since they don’t take fully into account the effect of outsourcing and automation).
So groups that are currently not as well served by higher education are making up a larger and larger share of the population, and will experience greater economic pressure to attain a post-secondary education. Furthermore, according to the National Cetner for Public Policy and Higher Education and Public Agenda, in general Amricans increasingly see a college education as necessary for success.
What does the future look like? We can expect growing ethnic groups to come to us and we can expect enrollment growth among first generation, economically disadvantaged, and non-traditional aged students.
The numbers make it readily apparent that higher education has to prepare for en ever wider range of people. And these are people that we have not served as well as we might in the past. What approach should we take? Ken argues that higher education needs to reorganize, getting back to the kind of high-engagement, high-touch practices that look expensive in the short term, but ultimately save resources by resulting in fewer failed attempts. And he has a lot of evident that suggests that institutions that do this see higher retention and greater student success rates.
Intrigued? I hope you’ll come hear what Ken has to say at the Reflecting on Teaching keynote. Register here by Sept. 21.