Whether your institution is a small community college, a large state university or a for-profit, higher education is a complex and constantly evolving business. It is shaped by the world around it, reshaped by a variety of challenges, and in need of leaders who can respond with open-minded, far-sighted planning to meet new opportunities and threats as they emerge.
The nature and quality of tertiary education has been determined by a number of key international models, such as those of France, Germany and Great Britain. It has been adapted in various ways across regions and nations, especially in Asia and the Americas, in an effort to provide the broader population with access to the benefits of higher education. To know more about it, check here.
Higher education is an essential means of enabling personal development and economic, social and technological change for individuals, communities, economies and societies. It promotes the exchange of knowledge and research, teaches practical skills and equips students with the necessary qualifications to pursue careers in an increasingly interdependent global economy.
As a result, higher education has become a multi-billion dollar industry, and is the single largest private sector in the world. It also carries with it huge social, cultural and political implications.
A wide range of issues relating to the role of universities in society and how these institutions should respond to them are a subject of ongoing debate. These concerns are not only affecting the way we educate our students, but have a significant impact on how our universities function.
For example, in the United States, a college degree is often seen as the ticket to the middle class, and many families have been faced with increasing levels of student debt. This has had a profound effect on the lives of young people in lower-income households.
These issues are part of a broader disruption to the higher education sector that is forcing colleges and universities to confront stark realities and contemplate tough decisions. These changes must be addressed head-on, or they will not succeed and the industry will suffer as a whole.
The higher education system should reflect the changing needs of society, especially as the economy - and therefore the job market - becomes more dynamic and challenging. It should also be inclusive, so that students from disadvantaged backgrounds have the opportunity to access the benefits of higher education.
What is the purpose of a four-year degree?
As a result of a tidal wave of economic and cultural changes, it has become clearer that the primary goal of a four-year college degree is no longer to give graduates the opportunity to find employment in a specific career field. Rather, it should serve as a tool for the development of critical-thinking and communication skills to enable them to cope with change in a globalized, competitive marketplace.
In this context, governments should support the reorganization of their higher education systems to address the demands of a dynamically evolving globalized economy. This will require a more integrated approach to educational policy, including the development of effective partnerships between public and private stakeholders in higher education. It will also require the establishment of systems that allow for a more flexible, adaptable and entrepreneurial approach to education.