It’s hard to believe that it has been eight months since we first launched Higher Ed Connects. In that time, we have provided content on a variety of topics from our most recent newsletter on ethics to diversity, to enrollment and many other issues that are important to higher ed administrators. We launched our first course, Higher Education Administration 101, with rave reviews.
Looking forward, we are excited to be working with a new learning management system (LMS), Absorb, that will allow us to broaden our course offerings and manage our content in ways that will allow us to provide even more value to our subscribers. We are examining ways to provide better access to data for our members, and support for faculty who are thinking about taking on administrative duties.
We are developing collaborations with organizations including; OneHE that is supporting innovation in teaching; the Peer Review Portal, a cloud-based review management system which is accessible, affordable and easy to use; OpenScholar whose mission is to provide a direct conduit between creators and consumers of knowledge, through simple and easy-to-use publishing technology which helps universities highlight the work of their faculty and create websites which are accessible to the world; and AdAstra, whose approach is to discover, design, and deliver efficient, effective, and optimized schedules to graduate more students, faster. These collaborations are with mission driven organizations that are committed to the success of institutions of higher education, finding ways to make improvements that are scalable.
Our mission is clear — we want to empower higher education leaders so that they can be successful managers, innovators, and informed consumers of educational technology. People talk a lot about the fact that higher education is facing a crisis, but we truly believe in the promise of higher education. As a former provost and first-generation college goer, I believe that access to higher education is critical to the future of this country. Colleges that are prepared to implement the innovations (not all technological) that are improving teaching, admitting students who will benefit from their curriculum, and preparing their students to be successful graduates and employees, are leading the way to a future where more students will be able to take advantage of higher education.
As we move into the third decade of the 21st century, it is imperative that we all examine the ways that we finance education, the ways that we admit students, and how we work with the students on our campuses. The low graduation rates (the national average is 33% after four years and 57% after six years) for most institutions in this country are unsustainable. We need to get more students from all backgrounds into college, and we need to ensure that they finish. It may be that we put more emphasis on micro-credentials. A student who completes two years of a four-year degree shouldn’t walk away empty handed. Our model of a traditional, residence-based education is in the process of change.
Although the numbers of students coming out of high school may be declining, it is clear that more students need to be educated. The majority of colleges in this country will need to adjust to a changing landscape. We are here to help with that process. As part of our commitment to providing informative content to all, as of January 15th, we will be providing free access to much of our content. Paid subscribers will benefit from free online courses, additional premium content, in-depth guides, and access to other courses at a reduced cost. We will be launching our mentoring program, providing a discussion forum for those taking courses and those looking to make connections with other leaders.
We need your support to make all of this happen. Help us spread the word, talk to your administrators about getting an institutional subscription, let your colleagues know about the resources we are providing, and support our mission with a monetary gift. With your help, we can expand our offerings to support graduate students and junior faculty and aspiring administrators who need to know more about the infrastructure of higher education.
Here’s the link to our introductory newsletter from March 2019.