Drivers of Change in Higher Education

This series is produced by the American Council on Education and KnowledgeWorks for senior leaders of colleges and universities. It explains five drivers of change in higher education. Each video introduces a driver of change in higher education to support futures thinking and strategic planning. They future understand that future of education, future of higher education, and future of colleges and universities. 

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Accelerating Brains: Playing with Cognition

As new technologies and scientific discoveries change what we understand about our brains and how they learn, higher education leaders must stay attentive to the long-term health and well-being of their campus community. They also need to consider carefully how they might implement or respond to powerful and increasingly ubiquitous brain-shaping developments—even when students are using them independently and outside of institutional offerings. 

Automating Choices: Leveraging New Technologies and Mitigating the Risks 

Smart digital tool--using artificial intelligence (AI), analytics, and AI--that can support personalization and efficiency in education are on the rise, though leaders must consider whether and how they might be used in ways that do not sacrifice student and educator agency or deepen inequity. 

Civic Superpowers: New Tools for Flexing Civic Muscles

As more people and organizations become involved in the civic sphere and engage directly with higher education institutions or on issues that affect those institutions, leaders must consider their own processes, structures, and values for engaging authentically in ways that serve the needs of students and society. New civic technologies, social media, and crowdsourcing tools play an important role. 

Remaking Geographies: A New Sense of Place Amidst Deep Changes

Communities are transforming in fundamental ways. Those changes can at times be inspiring and exciting and at other times be painful and uncertain. As stakeholders of all kinds engage in the process of remaking geographies and of responding to external forces, they can seek partnerships and interdependence where they can rely on one another to navigate uncertainty and change and count on one another to do what is best for the entire community. Community engagement will take new forms. ​

Toxic Narratives: Reimagining Success

Higher education leaders, faculty, and staff have a critical role to play in cultivating new beliefs about why higher education matters, who it is for, and what meaningful learning can be. Narratives and metrics of success can be deep-seated and cultural. However, they are also upheld by individuals and institutions that have the power to shift them. We must attend to wellness and inclusiveness as we plan assessment, accountibility, and teaching and learning. ​