Research

Survey: University Deans Predict Significant Change in the Next Decade

More than two-thirds of college and university deans in a recent survey believe that in 10 years, the United States higher education system will be much different than it is today. But many are also worried about their own institution's to respond to change.

Those insights came out of new study, "The State of Innovation in Higher Education," in which 2U and the Academy for Innovative Higher Education (a partnership between Arizona State University and Georgetown University) polled 109 deans across the country about their views on innovation in higher ed. Sixty-one percent of respondents come from public universities and 60 percent have at least five years of tenure in their jobs.

"The deans are confident about the future of the U.S. higher education system but less so about the ability of traditional institutions to adapt to what's coming," said Jeffrey Selingo, founding director of the Academy for Innovative Higher Education Leadership and author of the study, in a statement. "They don't think their institutions are moving quickly enough to change their business model and their teaching practices to relate to a new generation of students."

The survey findings reveal a mix of confidence and concern about an uncertain future for U.S. higher education:

  • 83 percent of respondents believe that the higher education system today is the best or one of the best in the world;
  • 61 percent think the higher education system will still be the best or one of the best in the world in 10 years;
  • 91 percent expect the number of online programs at their institution to increase in the next decade;
  • 78 percent said colleges and universities are doing a good, very good or excellent job of fostering academic innovation;
  • A quarter of respondents think the higher education system is heading in the right direction; and
  • A third of respondents said the pace of change at their own institutions is "too slow," citing lack of money as the biggest hurdle to change.

"We also found that, amid rising tuition prices and student debt, most deans still believe that higher education is a good return on the investment," added Selingo.

The full report is available here.

About the Author

About the author: Rhea Kelly is executive editor for Campus Technology. She can be reached at rkelly@1105media.com.

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