7 Trends for Higher Education in 2018

Lisa M. Rudgers and Julie A. Peterson offer their list of 7 trends that will impact higher education in 2017. Some of the usual suspects in here; from the generic (eroding support for higher education) and expected (reckoning with racist pasts) to the retro (Presidents as intellectual leaders – even a shout out for my President – Angel Cabrera of George Mason)…

From Rudgers and Peterson at Inside Higher Education

Many of us look back fondly on the days of towering public intellectuals like Robert Maynard Hutchins, Father Theodore Hesburgh, Vartan Gregorian, Derek Bok, Chuck Vest and others. In the last decade or more, higher education leaders have appeared reluctant to speak out on issues, perhaps out of concern for angering important stakeholders. But here’s one upside of the turbulence in the past 18 months: the environment has unleashed a new set of highly visible college leaders who know how to use the bully pulpit, and their voices, to advance their principles and institutions.

Some who came from the political arena, such as Janet NapolitanoMitch Daniels and Margaret Spellings, are savvy about the power of a well-placed op-ed. Others — including Ángel CabreraRonald J. DanielsL. Rafael Reif and Robert Zimmer — have tackled an important issue, sometimes enriched by their personal stories. And a growing number of college leaders know how to leverage the power of social media.

What’s ahead: The number of topics important to higher education and worthy of thoughtful commentary will only grow. Fortunately, an explosion of digital media channels will provide leaders with many good avenues to express their ideas. Social media further extends the reach of worthy and interesting commentary.

What to do: Identify topics that are compelling and advance the priorities and mission of the institution. Assemble key ideas, data and examples — and when a moment of news makes the topic relevant, act quickly to provide relevant commentary. Colleges and universities have an obligation — and an opportunity — to foster informed debate and model what civil discourse looks like in 2018. Presidents can avoid political land mines if they stay closely connected to mission, avoid partisan rhetoric and pretest draft language with key alumni, board members and other trusted advisers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s