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Embracing the Unexpected Challenges Posed by Liberal Education's Success

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Embracing the Unexpected Challenges Posed by Liberal Education's Success

  2. 2. Why We Are Doing This Panel  Different background experiences leading to  Common shared  celebration of liberal ed success  concern about challenges to traditional model of higher ed  and defensive responses from contemporary stakeholders
  3. 3. The Challenges  Challenges posed by successful responses to previous “higher education crisis” phases  Challenges posed by successful internationalization  Challenges posed by successful incorporation of technical competence
  4. 4. What this panel is not  Yet another session about the apocalypse facing higher education
  5. 5. What this panel is  A plea/invitation to  a positive discussion of  challenges to  the  traditional model of  higher education  brought about by its success  with  a spirit of stewardship for future generations of students and faculty
  6. 6. STEVE BRAGAW WASHINGTON & LEE UNIVERSITY @STEVEBRAGAW Strategy and Finance challenges for liberal education
  7. 7. Higher ed crisis in America! (?)  The Challenge: • Experts predict that between ten percent and thirty percent of America’s 3100 colleges and universities will close their doors or merge with other institutions…On many campuses the fear of imminent contraction or demise is almost palpable…The specter lurks in colleges and universities of all sizes, public as well as private, although smaller private colleges and the academically weaker state colleges and community colleges are widely expected to be the worst hit. Indeed, hundreds of college and a few universities are already near an end.”
  8. 8. The problem: That was 1983  George Keller, Academic Strategy  Crisis of late 1970s-early 1980s  Challenges:  demographic dip  over expansion from 1960s  flat stock markets
  9. 9. Response to the previous “Crisis”  Demographic dip——changing enrollment strategies  over expansion——changing infrastructure  1970s economy——changing development and endowment management
  10. 10. TODAY  Challenges—-  Debt—-Student and institutional  Price/value proposition—-question of the cost  Adjunctification  Particular challenges to liberal arts colleges— vulnerability as compared to comprehensive and state institutions with their own particular challenges
  11. 11. The greatest threat  My argument:  The greatest threat to liberal arts colleges in the current environment is failure to recognize that they are businesses, whose business model is potentially threatened by changes in current environment  Emphasis on liberal arts colleges being “different” because of  mission  tradition of shared governance  This can lead to grave failure to recognize threats and adapt
  12. 12.  How do we think our way out of this current situation?
  13. 13. Disruption  Liberal arts colleges are “content bundlers”—-their business model hinges on “bundling” together a number of fixed costs in one package  “Content bundlers” are under incredible stress as consumers try to pry the pieces they want loose and only pay for the parts they want
  14. 14. Core questions: • How should colleges and universities not just adjust, but fundamentally rethink their strategies accordingly? How can they find ways to take advantage of this new environment? • How do these changes place stress on the core business model of the college or university? • My answer: don’t focus on how liberal arts colleges are different from other for profit and not-for-profit businesses. Instead, ask what can we learn when we focus on what they have in common? • What’s the institution’s unique competitive advantage? What forces are going to influence the institution’s strategic position?
  15. 15. Viewing the challenge in a different way  Michael Porter “The Five Forces”—  Competition with established rivals  Threats from new entrants to the market  Bargaining power of suppliers  Bargaining power of buyers  Threat of substitutes
  16. 16. Viewing disruption through Porter’s Five Forces
  17. 17. Challenge of “disruption”  Challenge for business models of liberal arts colleges come from:  Threat of substitutes (online, mostly)  Bargaining power of buyers—-price sensitivity, desire to purchase the pieces of the degree credit hours elsewhere  Not a bricks versus clicks argument, but rather threat of pieces of the degree being bought elsewhere.  Disruption and content unbundling in the newspaper and publishing industries
  18. 18. Key takeaways • Faculty, administrators, and trustees need to understand how their institutions are not immune from strategic imperatives of competitive forces that challenge key assumptions upon which their business models are formed. • Responsible stewardship requires adjusting and adapting by challenging fundamental assumptions and values, regardless of who is upset. • Educating stakeholders to embrace rather than resist • Difference between “failure is not an option” versus “failure cannot happen”
  19. 19.  Embracing the potential of technology, collaboration, and internationalization not as threats but as ways to grow the business model of liberal arts colleges  We’ve worked our way through many types of crisis before. Secret now is to not shy away from core threats or treat them with old strategies, but embrace new thinking and approaches.
  20. 20. LIBERAL EDUCATION’S DEMOCRATIC DILEMMA? MARK RUSH Successful Internationalization
  21. 21. The Liberal Ed - Liberal Dem Connection  "The approach to higher learning that best serves individuals, our globally engaged democracy and an innovating economy is liberal education." —AAC&U Board of Directors, 2002  AACU “What is a 21stCenturyLiberalEducation?”
  22. 22. The Challenge of Internationalization  We have opened our doors…  but to Which Democratic Values?  What Happens when Liberal Education leaves the symbiotic confines of Liberal Democracy?
  23. 23. Successes: U.S. Branch Campuses Abroad, 2015 Freedom House Score Count Perce nt Free 37 45.1 Partially Free 17 20.7 Not Free 28 34.1 Total 82 Sources: Freedom House; SUNY Albany’s Global Higher Education http ://
  24. 24. Success: Internationalization Trends  974,926 international students attend US universities 2014/15 (, Open Doors)  304, 467 US Students abroad 2013/14  Delaware, 2014: 935,614 (  1 congressman and 2 senators  =1.5 Vermonts, btw…
  25. 25. An Increasingly Illiberal World  Freedom House 2015: 54% of countries  are partially  or not free.  Law and Versteeg (2013): Steady, consistent decline of U.S. Constitutional values around the world since 1946. (David S. Law and Mila Versteeg, “The Declining Influence of the United States Constitution” New York University Law Review 87 (2012): 762)  See also Fareed Zakaria, Illiberal Democracy (and subsequent writings).
  26. 26. History Did Not End: Democracy Evolves  Apologies to Francis Fukuyama (The End of History and the Last Man)  cf.  Robert Kaplan: “Was Democracy Just a Moment?” (1997)
  27. 27. Global Challenges I  “The assumption is that you can only be a great educational and research power if you do it the American way. I think you could be proved very wrong and it may be too late when you find out.”  Ian Gow, 2009 Ian Gow, principal and chief executive of the Sino-British College in Shanghai and former provost of the University of Nottingham’s campus in Ningbo.
  28. 28. Global Challenges II  Yale-NUS cannot simply be a “carbon copy” of Yale’s American campus. Instead, the university “needs a curriculum and a college ethos that respond to the regional context of Asia.”  Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (2015).  http://
  29. 29. Global Challenges III  “Singapore's Venture With  Yale to Limit Protests” ( http:// )
  30. 30. Global Challenges IV  Turkey academics held for criticism of army  offensive (BBC 16  January 2016)
  31. 31. Global Challenge V  The Flag that did not fly over the US Consulate in Dubai, June, 2013 (U.S. v. Windsor)
  32. 32. Challenges at Home: Speech?  University of Illinois  censured for pulling  professor's job offer over  anti­Israel tweets  (USAToday 18 June 2015)
  33. 33. Challenges at Home: Integrity  In one study, the University of Windsor in the Canadian province of Ontario tracked how many foreign students were being cited for academic  dishonesty compared with their Canadian classmates. It found that one in 53 international students had been charged versus one in 1,122 Canadians. ( 6 Oct 2011)
  34. 34. Barbarianization of Liberal Ed?  What will the American Model look like in a generation?  Liberal values in an increasingly illiberal marketplace?  Which version of Yale will survive?  Accreditation concerns? Odoacer, 476-493 A.D.
  35. 35. The Technology Challenge  On to Bryan
  36. 36. The open movement and liberal education AAC&U annual conference Snowpocalypse 2016
  37. 37. Liberal education and openLiberal education and open My thesis: open education has developed to a sufficient level where liberal arts institutions can - and should - participate.
  38. 38. The open revolutionThe open revolution  Open education  Open access scholarship  Open source software
  39. 39. DefinitionsDefinitions “Open education is about sharing, reducing barriers and increasing access in education. It includes free and open access to platforms, tools and resources in education (such as learning materials, course materials, videos of lectures, assessment tools, research, study groups, textbooks, etc.)…”
  40. 40. “…Open education seeks to create a world in which the desire to learn is fully met by the opportunity to do so, where everyone, everywhere is able to access affordable, educationally and culturally appropriate opportunities to gain whatever knowledge or training they desire.” “About Open Education,” Open Education Week, February 2012,
  41. 41. Open…Open…  educational resources (OER)  Courseware (OCW)  Courses (MOOC)  teaching
  42. 42. Open…Open…  learning tools (Moodle)  Assessment (badges)  access scholarly communication  learners  universities
  43. 43. Why open?Why open?  Cost and flexibility  Improving content, learning  Outreach and visibility  Participate in innovation
  44. 44. Open and liberal educationOpen and liberal education  Early adopter phase  Ex: OA - Trinity, Oberlin, Bucknell, Hope  Why not mainstream? › Awareness › Less cost pressure › Wrong scale
  45. 45. Research on 2013Research on 2013 “We are in baby steps.”  NITLE Network queried  32 campus leaders › Chief Information Officers › Academic computing leaders › Library directors › IT managers
  46. 46. Why is your institution not pursuing open education at this time?  My institution lacks awareness of open education  My institution does not see open education as being in its strategic interest  Open education is best pursued at the faculty level, not the institution-level
  47. 47. Why no LA engagement until now?Why no LA engagement until now? Usage  Awareness  Quality concerns  Inertia  Specific OER  Etextbooks Production  IP concerns  Sustainability  Faculty time
  48. 48. So why now?So why now? • Technologies all mature • Growing concerns about equity • “ “ “ globalization
  49. 49. Student cultureStudent culture  Desire for open content  Experience of open content  Financial pressure of post- 2008 world
  50. 50. Liberal education casesLiberal education cases
  51. 51. CyropaediaCyropaedia, Southwestern, Southwestern
  52. 52. AnalyticalAnalytical ChemistryChemistry DepauwDepauw
  53. 53. MicrobewikiMicrobewiki, Kenyon, Kenyon
  54. 54. OA mandatesOA mandates  Trinity University led the way - 40%+ adoption
  55. 55. The open revolutionThe open revolution  Open source software  Example: CLAMP ( https://cme.clamp-it.or )
  56. 56. RecommendationsRecommendations  Strategic rationale  Multiple campus populations  Upper-level institutional support  Awareness
  57. 57. RecommendationsRecommendations  Rewards and incentives  Pilots  Experiment pedagogically  Explore sustainability models
  58. 58. The library role • Informing the community • Maintaining repository • Helping faculty find appropriate, high quality materials • Advocating for open access
  59. 59. Open source hardware? RepRap • Open source hardware • Can serve as a recycler • ( /)
  60. 60. One huge implication Artificial intelligence has open education to draw upon
  61. 61. http://bryanalexander.org

Editor's Notes

  • Sources: Freedom House; SUNY Albany’s Global Higher Education  (