Higher ed leaders forecast top 2017 trends

Decision-makers share thoughts on student success, technology and social media

Paul Drayton 


President, Rowan College at Burlington County (N.J.)

“College is more important than ever for career success, yet too expensive for far too many students. 3+1 provides all the benefits of both community colleges and four-year universities while lowering the tuition and debt burden on students and increasing our capacity to serve more students at both community colleges and universities. This is the future model of college affordability.”

Stacy McAfee

Associate vice president for external relations, University of the Pacific (Calif.)

“The gig economy is substantially transforming jobs and is a primary driver of the innovation economy. Universities can effectively prepare students for this emerging trend through strategic partnerships where students have experiential opportunities to reframe their thinking and assumptions.”

Trey Arrington

Executive director of IT, Spartanburg Methodist College (S.C.)

“Microdegrees will continue to grow in popularity due to the way students are learning outside of their normal educational courses. Microdegrees are not a threat to two- or four-year institutions, but should be embraced as a way to supplement a student’s degree work and make the student and the institution more marketable.”

Bill Hall

Graduate dean, Asbury University (Ky.)

“Personalized learning on steroids: College-level learning will be highly customized down to the student level. Technology will assess students’ current knowledge and create a customized path towards new desired knowledge, creating a more expedient path towards certificates and degrees. Time is no longer the determiner for achievement. Auto-scaffolding will be built in to learn additional knowledge and skills.”

Lisle Waldron

Manager of multimedia and audio visual services, The University of Trinidad and Tobago

“The physical classroom will be extended to the virtual space via synchronous and asynchronous technologies to maximize the cost/benefit equation for instruction. There are already institutions that have a ‘record all teaching’ policy and others that have a ‘students can come in remotely’ policy. The natural extension to this is the near ubiquitous acceptance of students via “distance” in classes being taught in the physical space as more and more of the resources used to enhance engagement and student success already allow for this transition. The member of faculty is already budgeted for, the hardware is already in place, and the backend lecture capture and video conference technology is already integrated into the teaching process. The natural extension is a hybrid space where enrollment is increased and students co-exist in the hybrid space.”

Jordee Justice


Fnancial literacy coordinator, Southern Illinois University

“The term “Financial Literacy/Financial Wellness” is just now starting creating a buzz. Students need to learn how to understand their finances to be successful during and after college. Financial Literacy is a life skill that will ultimately help aid in recruitment and retention for Universities nation-wide.”

Sandra Warner

Deputy CIO, Johnson County Community College (Kan.)

“LinkedIn learning will create a comprehensive just-in-time training and badge system that will threaten the classroom techniques currently in place.”

Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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