Higher ed leaders discuss opportunities for transformation

Acknowledging the changing landscape of higher education—everything from the need to better serve first-generation students, to questions about value, to growing interest in online learning—several experts talked to EdTech Times about how higher education can “transform its practices to stay financially feasible, innovative, and competitive.”

As president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and a first-generation college student herself, Mildred García, Ph.D., said colleges must concentrate on attracting, retaining, and supporting more diverse student bodies. She suggested leveraging successful alumni from first-generation and low-income backgrounds to inspire students to finish their education, asserting that students “will listen to people that are outside of higher ed, and hear their story along with the data.”

Leaders suggest ‘selling the investment of higher education’

Charles Welch, president of the Arkansas State University system, meanwhile, noted the importance of talking about the “investment of higher education” rather than just the cost to individuals and the government. “We never talk about that investment,” he said, pointing to the fact that incarceration rates and unemployment rates are significantly lower among college degree-holders, who also tend to have much lower health care costs, longer lives, and greater philanthropic giving than high school graduates. There are “so many different things that are positive for society, and for what we spend governmental funds on,” Welch said.

Deployed well, could online learning enable student-centered education?

EdTech Times also emphasizes technology’s role “at the center” of higher education’s transformation—not only by enabling greater reach and efficiency but also by bringing a new wave of challenges. As part of the discussion around student-centered education, Clark Gilbert, the first president of BYU-Pathway Worldwide, asserted that higher education should embrace online education, not shy away from it. “For too long, online learning has tried to replicate the classroom,” Gilbert said. “We should be asking, ‘What can we do with online learning that you can’t do in a traditional classroom?’ And that’s where we’ll start to see the real outcomes.”

To hear the full discussion, play the EdTech Times podcast episode, part of its series on “Higher Ed Transformation for the Campus of Tomorrow.”

How Georgetown helps first-generation students thrive

Georgetown University is committed to ensuring that all students have the resources and support they need to succeed. The Georgetown Scholarship Program provides programmatic support to more than 650 undergraduates, and the 50-year-old Community Scholars Program prepares its multicultural cohort of first-generation college students for success with a five-week academic summer program and ongoing support. The Regents Science Scholars Program further expands opportunities for students from traditionally underserved communities pursuing studies in the sciences. Learn more about Georgetown’s commitment to access and affordability.

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