Accessible, Affordable and Applicable: The Future of Higher Education

Georgia Tech held a discussion in NYC with reporters and higher education community about what colleges must do to guarantee student success.

One of the challenges colleges face is how to best prepare students for the career pathways that exist today and will be created in the future.  

To meet students’ needs colleges must look at how and where they operate, as well as who they serve and who is left out. 

These were just a few of the topics discussed Thursday during a media roundtable discussion Georgia Tech organized in New York City with peers in higher education, corporate leaders and foundations looking into this issue.

“Higher Education is going to change. It’s going to have to change,” President G.P. “Bud” Peterson said. “What is that new model of higher education going to look like?”

Peterson noted three possibilities at the conclusion of the discussion. First, education will move away from a calendar-driven model to a knowledge-based one. Second, student success will need new definitions beyond attending college for four years to earn a bachelor’s degree. And third, knowledge isn’t just held by teachers. Students are teaching and learning from one another as well.  

Provost Rafael L. Bras also participated in the discussion, which included reporters from The New York TimesThe Wall Street JournalInside Higher Ed and other media outlets.

The other panelists were: 

  • Anant Agarwal, CEO, edX
  • Ángel Cabrera, President, George Mason University
  • Mitch Daniels, President, Purdue University
  • Earl Lewis, President Emeritus, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and director of Center for Social Solutions at the University of Michigan
  • Jamie Merisotis, President and CEO, Lumina Foundation
  • Jason Oliver, Vice President of University Operations, AT&T
  • Christine Ortiz, Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Founder, Station1
  • Laura Sparks, President, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
  • Peter Stokes, managing director of Huron’s Higher Education Strategy & Operations group. 
  • Chris Yates, General Manager of Learning & Development at Microsoft 

Georgia Tech organized the event following the release of its report, Deliberate Innovation, Lifetime Education, which looks at how colleges must change to meet the evolving needs of students and employers. 

Using the year 2040 as a vantage point, the report envisions a university that provides an educational experience that can be personalized as professional interests and needs shift throughout a person’s lifetime. It looks at ways to improve advising, how to use artificial intelligence to personalize education, and what new products and services will make it possible to meet demand as learners’ professional and personal needs change.