17 January 2021
by William Locke

The future for universities should be evidence-based

There is nothing like a good crisis to excite ideas about different futures and new beginnings. At the very least, right now we are told that there will be a ‘new normal’ and no return to the way things were before COVID-19.

However, even before the pandemic, there were plenty of futurologists – especially in English-speaking nations – declaring a series of cataclysmic scenarios for higher education in which various factors combine to challenge and disrupt traditional academic conventions, business models and working practices in public universities.

Some speculate that these transformations may come to threaten the very foundations of higher education, its economic value and its role in society.

These scenarios usually feature some combination of the following so-called ‘disruptors’: the transformation of graduate employment; raised student expectations; a technology revolution, including the widespread use of online learning, data analytics and artificial intelligence; expansion and public financing constraints; policy turbulence; and growing global competition, particularly from private for-profit institutions and universities from emerging nations.

To this mix, the cutting-edge futurologist now adds the accelerating impact of COVID-19 and summons up its anxieties.

You can read the full blog post at University World News.