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Strategic Plan Resources

Strategic Plan Documents

2030 Strategic Planning Presentation by President Heather Wilson

Relevant Reading Material

Teaching and Learning

Robot-Proof: How Colleges Can Keep People Relevant in the Workplace

The fact is, a college education, updated to reflect the roboticized economy, is every worker’s best hope. But we need to rethink its focus. Given a world in which machines will perform much of what we view as knowledge work, colleges will have to reduce their emphasis on knowledge transfer, and pivot to building students’ capacity for coming up with original ideas.


Forging Pathways to Purposeful Work: The Role of Higher Education

In fall of 2018, Bates College and Gallup embarked on a study to measure the extent to which college graduates seek purpose in their work, determine the proportion of graduates who find it and identify the college experiences that align with finding purpose in work after graduation. The study also explored the degree to which employers and college parents support such experiences.


Redesigning the Curriculum for a 21st Century Education

The last major changes to curriculum were affected in the late 1800s as a response to the sudden growth in societal and human capital needs. As the world of the 21st century bears little resemblance to that of the 19th century, education curricula are overdue for a major redesign, emphasizing depth of understanding and versatility. Curricula worldwide have often been tweaked, of course, sometimes to a large extent, but have never been deeply redesigned for all the dimensions of an education: Knowledge, Skills, Character, and Metacognition. Adapting to 21st century needs means revisiting each dimension and their interplay.


What Is College For?

Delbanco discusses the three "basic" answers to the question: what is college for? First, the author discusses economic imperatives for pursuing a degree. Second, the importance of a college for creating engaged and educated citizens. Lastly, he considers the significance of college in helping students lead more satisfied, interesting, and fulfilling lives.


Changing Students, Faculty, and Institutions in the Twenty-First Century

The twenty-first is now a decade old, and higher education is facing forces that are bound to affect how faculty teach and how students learn over the coming decades. This essay explores some anticipated changes in who and how we teach. We highlight innovations in both pedagogies and teaching-related technology, and discuss growing pressure to curtail the traditional liberal arts focus of undergraduate education. We also examine the implications of projections for changes in faculty and student demographics over the next ten years. Additionally, in this era of fiscal belt-tightening in almost every sector of higher education, we briefly touch on issues about the assessment of educational outcomes for student learning and the basic financial health of the higher education sector.


Innovating the 21st-Century University: It’s Time!

The current model of pedagogy, which is at the heart of the modern university, is becoming obsolete. In the industrial model of student mass production, the teacher is the broadcaster. A broadcast is, by definition, the transmission of information from transmitter to receiver in a one-way, linear fashion. Broadcast learning may have been appropriate for a previous economy and generation, but increasingly it is failing to meet the needs for a new generation of students who are about the enter the global knowledge economy.


Research and Scholarship

The Relationship Between Basic and Applied Research in Universities

What is the central research activity in modern universities? This paper uses a comprehensive survey among individuals from 15 countries to map differences in orientation towards basic/fundamental research, applied/practical research and a combination of the two. Despite some claims in the literature that basic research is no longer a preoccupation of universities, our findings point at a continued strong presence of basic research in universities but with large variations between countries and academic disciplines. At the individual level, most academics engage in a combination of basic and applied research, rather than specializing, with applied orientations generally more common. Academics specializing in basic research tend to receive less external funding, work in environments where applied research is less emphasized and hold weaker professional obligations to apply their knowledge to problems in society.


Challenging US Research Universities and Funders to Increase Diversity in the Research Community

Building on successful approaches to increasing diversity in science and engineering education could help achieve ambitious goals in the number of doctorates awarded to minorities.


Research Universities and the Future of Work

The handful of premier institutions cannot by themselves educate the next generation of highly skilled workers, but they can – as they did in the twentieth century – apply their formidable intellectual power to understanding and addressing critical national challenges. Skill definition, the provision of lifelong learning, and the matching of talented workers with good jobs have already attracted venture capitalists, proprietary platforms, and entrepreneurs. If the goal is just to make money, it is not clear that the future of work really needs universities. But if the mission includes enriching an entire society, the best partners are close at hand.


The 21st-Century Academic

What it means to be a professor has changed for many PhDs – largely because academic life and culture is nothing like it used to be. Indeed, one in four undergraduates and one in three graduate students are enrolled in at least one online course. Potential students can now apply to college, be accepted, and begin classes within two weeks. Online schooling has increased educational access and opportunity and, in doing so, made college an option not only for more people, but also for more types of people. Higher education has therefore seen a surge in the number and diversity of applicants. Colleges once tended to enroll 18-22 year-olds from middle- and upper-income families but now serve a more diverse population. Since 2000 the number of low-income students in college has increased 15 percent, the number of female, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Native American/Alaskan Native students has each increased 29 percent, the number of black students is up 73 percent, and the number of Hispanic students, 126 percent. In 2015, 41 percent of college students were 25 or older. Such shifts in student demographics have had at least once clear result: They’ve changed the professoriate – why we teach, what we teach, how we teach, where we teach.


Impact and Service

The Future of Higher Education is Social Impact

Over the last decade, universities have faced steady criticism for elitist practices such as political bias, hoarding wealthy endowments, and providing insufficient economic returns for students. In light of this, institutions that turn their attention to serving the public good may be best poised to thrive and deliver lasting value. Some universities are embarking on innovations to support social engagement among students, and initiating university-wide efforts to educate students for social impact. These ideas rightly aim to prepare public-minded leaders for the future. But a powerful innovation is also available for the present: reshaping incentives within the university to support faculty research that responds to real-life challenges.


Minority-Serving Institutions

Postsecondary institutions with an intentional focus on educating nontraditional students and students of color are a crucial part of solving the nation’s STEM workforce supply problem.
Workforce projections anticipate that opportunities in STEM and related fields will continue to be in demand and will outpace the growth of other positions in the coming years. Meanwhile, by the middle of this century, people of color will constitute roughly half of the US population, a transition towards a non-white majority that is all the more apparent when considering the demographic makeup of younger generations. This convergence of labor market and demographic trends means that the educational outcomes and STEM readiness of African American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Hispanic, underrepresented Asian American, and other students of color will have direct implications for US economic growth, national security, and global prosperity.


Colleges and Universities and Regional Economic Development: A Strategic Perspective

Colleges and universities harbor large, often untapped revitalization capability for the nation and have the potential, in partnership with governments, businesses, and community organizations, to fuel regional economic growth. With a strategic approach, they can have a major impact on regional economic revitalization – without massive new funding. The higher education community can contribute the leadership, energy, and vision necessary to undertake what amounts to a sustained, multifaceted campaign to enhance regional prosperity and, likewise, its own long-term prospects.


Meet the Low-Wage Workforce

Local and regional leaders in the public, private, and social sectors can use the data in this analysis to better understand their workforce and labor markets. Whether particular clusters or personas are overrepresented or underrepresented should inform economic and employment strategies. In our view, policies and programs to help low-wage workers advance to higher wages and greater financial stability should address both sides of the labor market: the assets and circumstances of workers as well as the number and nature of available jobs.


Reimagining the Workforce Development and Employment System for the 21st Century and Beyond

A reimagined workforce development and employment system has the potential to transform human capital acquisition for workers by promoting more agile and responsive means for matching and rematching workers based on current or future skills. We suggest several promising strategies and system features to improve equity in informational and financial access to human capital development opportunities, and we also enumerate strategies and features than can improve the speed and quality of employee-employer matching. The contribution of this work is to put forth one potential vision of the future workforce development and employment system and to establish an ambitious agenda to form a more complete evidence basis, identifying indicators, metrics, and potential data sources to measure the system’s success in promoting equity and efficiency and discussing how to ensure that stakeholders and decisionmakers have access to high-quality, actionable evidence.



Public Research Universities: Recommitting to Lincoln’s Vision—An Educational Compact for the 21st Century

This publication, […], is the culmination of the Lincoln Project committee’s work. It draws from previous publications and presents new recommendations for stabilizing and strengthening public research universities at an inflection point in their history. This report call on the federal government, state governments, corporations, foundations, philanthropists, and, of course, public research universities to come together – to share responsibility for maintaining these institutions so that they continue to serve their states and the nation for generations to come.


What Are Good Universities?

This paper considers how we can arrive at a concept of the good university. It begins with ideas expressed by Australian Vice-Chancellors and in the ‘league tables’ for universities, which essentially reproduce existing privilege. It then considers definitions of the good university via wish lists, classic texts, horror lists, structural analysis, and shining examples from history. None of these approaches is enough by itself; but in combination they can be fruitful. The best place to start in defining a good university is by considering the work universities do. This leads to issues about the conditions of the workforce as a whole, the global economy of knowledge, and the innovations bubbling up around the edges of this economy.

Lists five characteristics of the "good" university: (1) educationally confident, (2) socially inclusive, (3) good places to work, (4) democratic as organizations, (5) Epistemologically multiple, (6) Modest in demanour, (7) Intellectually ambitious


Reinventing the Public Research University

The United States has the fastest growing population of the industrialized nations and at the same time is experiencing the steepest declines in the educational attainment of its citizens. Demographic transitions, slow economic growth, and societal problems including healthcare, social services, the performance of P-12 education, and the environment present a complex set of challenges that American colleges and universities can play a key role in addressing. Michael M. Crow, president of Arizona State University (ASU), describes his vision for a New American University that assumes responsibility for the economic, social, and cultural vitality and well-being of its community. He notes the rapid growth of ASU, where total student enrollment now exceeds 72,000, and emphasizes that the model for the New American University is to be measured not by those whom it excludes, but rather by those whom it includes. Crow also describes several cost-saving measures adopted by ASU, including the use of the new learning technologies for introductory-level classes that improve outcomes as well as cut costs, advances statistical evaluation, or analytics, and an interactive advising system that improves retention rates.


New Roles for the 21st-Century University

Changing times demand a new social contract between society and the institutions of higher education. Today, an array of powerful social, economic, and technological forces is driving change in the needs of society and the institutions created to respond to those needs. It is time once again to reconsider the social contract between the university and the nation, and federal policy and action will probably be required to shape this relationship once again.