Thank you for being a part of our Higher Ed Thursdays conversations.  Today concludes this series, and we’re looking forward to re-starting the discussion near the beginning of the school year.  New trends are emerging for the next phase of our discussion, including how to secure your campus environment and intellectual property, how the Internet of Everything will change higher education, and the finance of higher education.

In this current series, we’ve seen that educators share a common crisis in the delivery of higher learning. They suffer many of the same challenges, with regard to access to quality educational experiences, the need to evolve outdated teaching methodologies, and the imperative to prepare students to become part of the workforce of the future.

To address these challenges, we recommend that the community share a common approach in helping to transform its systems. It can employ an approach that uses technology to create cultural shifts, modernize teaching and learning to prepare learners for next-generation careers, and effectively scale these modifications.

Specifically, I recommend the following:

1. Identify those within your community who can help to evolve the culture within your institutions. Think of your community in broad terms; select members from across multiple, diverse areas of your campuses, reach out to cities and towns, and include faculty members and students. Ensure that everyone has input into the vision and strategy, and challenge them to identify issues and develop creative approaches in solving these issue to evolve learning and the overall mission of the institution. Ask all participants to imagine the possible, and then develop solutions to some of the most challenging aspects of the learning experience and institutional operations.

2. Identify best practices that are working in colleges and universities across the globe. Learn what others are doing that is working, and identify the technologies and approaches they are using that will resonate with and meet the needs of your administration, faculty, staff, and students.

3. Post these practices in a social collaboration site, and invite members to join. Create a dialogue for change within this online medium. Meet regularly over video to share ideas, discuss what works, and find ways to improve learning and administration.

4. Expand the definition of your partners, and encourage them to help build out your vision and strategy. Consider technology vendors, non-profit organizations, and other institutions that can help you to execute on your strategy.

5. Study today’s video and collaboration technologies. See that they are easier to use, they have greater reach and impact, and they can help deliver on your university’s mission.

6. Consider how you will scale your transformation across your institution, and between institutions.

While change can be daunting, the need to change can be an important catalyst for innovation. Many colleges, universities, and university systems are strapped for resources. But those organizations that identify and drive innovation from within can often operate on a drastically reduced budget.

Steve Jobs said, “Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.”

The same applies to educational transformation: innovation comes from within, and technology and the right partners are critical enablers to help accelerate change.

Happy  Summer, and we look forward to working with you to effect these changes!

Oh, don’t forget to register to receive our new whitepaper on trends and challenges in higher education, as well as a compilation of all the #HigherEdThursdays blog series upon completion.  Reserve your copy now.

Happy #HigherEdThursdays!


Renee Patton

Former Global Director of Education and Healthcare

Global Industry Solutions Group