“University of the Future” a Global Survey of Students


Laureate International Universities is the world’s largest network of higher education institutions with 75 members located in 29 countries and enrolling more than 850,000 students worldwide. In an effort to look forward and develop a vision for the future of their members over the next 15 years they commissioned a large scale survey of their students.

They commissioned Zogby Analytics to survey their students and 20,876 learners responded. The survey asked students about their vision of the optimum university  model 15 years in the future.

  • 52 percent of students who participated said most courses would be offered any time of day or night and 44 percent said most courses would have no fixed schedule
  • 41 percent of respondents said students would be able to earn specialized certificates to allow them to manage the pace of their academic career, rather than concentrating it into a two- or four-year span with a degree at the end
  • 54 percent said that collaborative courses focused on group projects will be offered, and 61 percent said that most courses will be designed by industry experts
  • 64 percent said courses will be offered in multiple languages Students will be able to access personalized instruction or tutoring online, according to 43 percent of those surveyed
  • 71 percent of survey respondents told researchers they think “career-oriented skills (not just subject matter) will be taught in future universities,” according to a summary of the findings
  • 43 percent of surveyed students said “their courses will include free content on the Internet to unlimited numbers of students,” according to the survey summary. That number increased slightly among students aged 18-24 and those in developing countries, to 45 and 44 percent, respectively
  • 55 percent saying that changes to how students take courses will benefit them, Asian students were both the most likely to tell researchers that future universities will be dominated by online content, and to say they think that’s a good thing
  • 44 percent of respondents said they think future instructors will be “part-time industry experts instead of full-time instructors,” according to the summary
  • 21 of respondents said they believe that grades will be based purely on academic performance and 64 percent said they would reflect a combination of academic performance and how much students contributed to teams

This is a must read. The study can be retrieved here.

An interview with John Zogby, Pollster and Founder, Zogby Analytics; Jonathan Zogby, President and CEO, Zogby Analytics; and Doug Becker, Chairman and CEO, Laureate Education, Inc. (Washington, DC June 9, 2014).


New Study pinpoints hands not gaze as the object of parents’ and toddlers’ attention

IU cognitive scientists identify new mechanism at heart of early childhood learning and social behavior. Google Glass-like eye-tracking technology pinpoints hands rather than gaze as the object of parents’ and toddlers’ attention

Previous research involving joint visual attention between parents and toddlers has focused exclusively on the ability of each partner to follow the gaze of the other. In “Joint Attention Without Gaze Following: Human Infants and Their Parents Coordinate Visual Attention to Objects Through Eye-Hand Coordination,” published in the online journal PLOS ONE, the researchers demonstrate how hand-eye coordination is much more common, and the parent and toddler interact as equals, rather than one or the other taking the lead.

Early childhood education: Children can tell when a teacher commits “sins of omission.”

Laura Schulz, a primary investigator in the Early Childhood Cognition Lab in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT led a series of studies on building trust in early childhood education. She reports,

Children learn a great deal about the world from their own exploration, but they also rely on what adults tell them. Studies have shown that children can figure out when someone is lying to them, but cognitive scientists from MIT recently tackled a subtler question: Can children tell when adults are telling them the truth, but not the whole truth?

In the most recent explorations

“This shows that children are not just sensitive to who’s right or wrong,” Gweon says. “Children can also evaluate others based on who’s providing information that is enough or not enough for accurate inference. They can also adjust how they learn from a teacher in the future, depending on whether the teacher has previously committed a sin of omission or not.”

Melissa Koenig, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota Institute of Childhood Development who was not part of the research team, commented

“The study shows yet another set of criteria that children bring to their evaluation of other speakers, beyond things like accuracy, confidence, or knowledgeability,”

Try, try again? Study says no

MIT reports:

In a new study, a team of neuroscientists and psychologists led by Amy Finn, a postdoc at MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research, has found evidence for another factor that contributes to adults’ language difficulties: When learning certain elements of language, adults’ more highly developed cognitive skills actually get in the way. The researchers discovered that the harder adults tried to learn an artificial language, the worse they were at deciphering the language’s morphology — the structure and deployment of linguistic units such as root words, suffixes, and prefixes.



“It’s the Curriculum Stupid”: Part 1


This is the first post in the series on Academic Strategic Enrollment Management.

One of the great quotes in contemporary American politics:

“It’s the Economy Stupid”
– James Carville (circa 1992 serving as chief campaign strategist) during the first Clinton campaign for President.

I often think back to that campaign and the impact those few words had on the outcome of the election. It brings to mind a nagging malaise among a number of client institutions who wish to energize their recruitment and retention success. An initial strategic enrollment management engagement often centers around any number of descriptive observations by client constituents: not enough students, too many students, too many here not enough there, students not the academic quality we want, the list continues with various emphasis and causal inference. Inevitably someone blames the economy, the web site, the enrollment management system, or admissions, or the president, or marketing. While any and all of these may be contributing to a problem the real heart of any educational, organizational success is the curriculum.

Before a hailstorm of negative reactions explodes in social media from anyone believing I am faculty bashing here, nothing can be further from the truth. I am well aware of hypersensitivity over control of curriculum by academic communities. I am painfully aware that nonacademics walk on eggs around the issue of the curriculum. An academic culture that lacks open, constructive dialog is not healthy for enrollment, or the curriculum or the institution’s future. I have conducted postmortems on more than 100 institutions who either closed or were forced into a merger because they drove themselves to financial inviability. Volatility and obstinacy were common characteristics among campus constituents found within the documents, and written interchanges reviewed in the postmortems. By the way, another common characteristic among the closed/merged postmortems was the board of trustees failing their fiduciary responsibility, is examined in a future series.

Academic Foundations of Strategic Enrollment Management

So where do we begin discussing the foundations of Academic Strategic Enrollment Management? Carvilleian logic guides us to “It’s the Curriculum Stupid,” and we would respond appropriately and say well of course it is, at least in an ideal world. We might follow with the question, “But what is it about the curriculum and the academic enterprise that frames the principles and practices of Strategic Enrollment Management?”

Academic Strategic Enrollment Management Principle 1: Primacy

Curriculum drives enrollment, enrollment drives revenue, revenues drive everything else.
– Michael G. Dolence

The curriculum drives enrollment, enrollment drives revenue, revenue drives everything else.

This statement, I have used for years, perfectly defines the reality of the relationship between the academic and enrollment management functions facing institutions today. Why does enrollment exist at all, because learners seek credentials via curriculum. That said, the implications are very serious for both the academic community and the enrollment management community. Let’s examine some of those implications.

Academic Strategic Enrollment Management Principle 2: Alignment

Curriculum must achieve a critical level of alignment with enrollment markets in order to secure a healthy recruitment and retention yield. Enrollments are driven by forces inherent in the learning marketplace. The forces such as affordability, real and perceived value, convenience, performance, placement after graduation, and academic reputation have significant influence in the pre-search phase of college search. The very dramatic paradigm shift to a global digital learning environment (covered in a parallel blog series “Prototype Strategic Plan”) portends disruptive future changes in the global learning marketplace.

There are deep academic issues that can be addressed immediately to strengthen enrollment management success. The following illustrative issues:

Commoditization of the Undergraduate Program

Over the past four decades there has been a perception developing among families looking for higher education opportunities for their children driven by marketing strategies used across higher education. Contributing vernacular includes statements like:
“Doesn’t matter where you get your undergraduate degree it is the graduate credential that matters”
“First two years are the same everywhere so pick the cheapest and save your dollars for a top notch (expensive) school to finish your undergraduate education.”
“Go where you get the biggest discount, best deal, most money…” there are hundred ways this is perpetuated.
I won’t belabor the point here but as these messages reverberate around families, advisers, and influencers they become ‘common knowledge’ even when untrue and that hurts the value equation of all of higher education.

A move from commoditization to differentiation strengthens the academic strategic enrollment management position.

Curriculum Cloning and À La Carte Menu Program Development

Academic management practices in higher education have fostered a practice of curriculum as a kit of parts. Find a trending program name, examine the course titles, select a similar set from your master course list, check them against academic policy, and launch. Such an approach is not prototyping a curriculum but rather cloning. It rapidly floods the market with seemingly equal curriculum diluting the market share and driving the quality of all to the level of a commodity.

Using outcomes, skills, and value based design to frame curriculum rather than selecting from a list of existing courses then writing marketing messages to link the course to the value equation strengthens the academic enrollment portfolio.

The Business of Higher Education versus Higher Education as a Business

Even though higher education is not a business in the classic sense the business of higher education has never been more important. Academic leaders and enrollment managers must deeply understand the principles of financially sustainable curriculum and enrollment management.

The Value Equation

It is paradoxical that we use individuals earning potential with a college degree to place value and therefore a claim on the investments made by the public and learners and then vilify the call to articulate the linkage between programs and economic opportunity for graduates. It makes no sense to policy makers, learners and their families or for the most part most professionals in higher education. We must make it clear that the liberal arts are also the earning arts playing an integral part in the development of a lifetime employability strategy.

Academic Strategic Enrollment Management opens a new pathway to institutional and curricular revitalization. It requires a new level of interaction, analysis, and openness. It requires a willingness to systematically examine, recalibrate and refine the foundations of curriculum and enrollment management and set them on a strategic course to the future. The very important lesson learned from examining the experience of closed and merged institutions is:

“The learning marketplace is a harsh teacher.”

Curriculum Architecture: Part 2

Academic SEM Series

Why Don’t Students Like School?: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom

This book by Daniel T. Willingham who earned his Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Harvard University in 1990 and currently is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia. A bit more about the author from Amazon “Until 2000, his research focused solely on the brain basis of learning and memory. Today, all of his research concerns the application of cognitive psychology to K-12 education. He writes the “Ask the Cognitive Scientist” column for American Educator magazine, and is an Associate Editor of Mind, Brain, and Education. He is also the author of Why Don’t Students Like School? (Jossey-Bass) and When Can You Trust the Experts? (Jossey-Bass). His writing on education has been translated into ten languages.”

I am not going to actually publish my review of the book here, today but rather steer you to a review on Amazon written by Ben Babcock. This thoughtful reflection by an individual entering teaching as a profession is a great introduction to Willingham’s book and to the field of cognitive science.


Handbook of Research on Learning and Instruction

Editors Mayer and Alexander have compiled 22 chapters synthesizing research in Learning (Part I) and Instruction (Part II). Readers must remember that this is a compiled compendium of meta analysis in 22 selected topics, 11 in Learning and 11 in Instruction. I believe it is a must own and read for every graduate student, faculty in any field of education. I also believe it is a must read for all academic administrators. The Handbook provides a cogent summary and balanced view of the subjects covered although it may not do justice to conflicts in certain areas and disciplines as pointed out in the opinion of another reviewer. I do not believe this diminishes the vale of the Editors and Contributors work.I have recommended this book to numerous clients with very favorable results and consistent votes of among the most valuable in recent reads.
– Michael G. Dolence


From the jacket

During the past twenty years researchers have made exciting progress in the science of learning (i.e., how people learn) and the science of instruction (i.e., how to help people learn). This Handbook examines learning and instruction in a variety of classroom and non-classroom environments and with a variety of learners, both K-16 students and adult learners. The chapters are written by leading researchers from around the world, all of whom are highly regarded experts on their particular topics.

The book is divided into two sections: learning and instruction. The learning section consists of chapters on how people learn in reading, writing, mathematics, science, history, second languages, and physical education, as well as learning to think critically, learning to self-monitor, and learning with motivation. The instruction section consists of chapters on effective instructional methods – feedback, examples, self-explanation, peer interaction, cooperative learning, inquiry, discussion, tutoring, visualizations, and computer simulations. Each chapter reviews empirical research in a specific domain and is structured as follows:

  • Introduction – Defines key constructs and provides illustrative examples or cases.
  • Historical Overview – Summarizes the historical context for the topic or domain.
  • Theoretical Framework – Summarizes major models or theories related to the topic or domain.
  • Current Trends and Issues – Synthesizes the research literature and highlights key findings or conclusions.
  • Practical Implications – Suggests relevance of the research for educational practice.
  • Future Directions – Considers next steps or stages needed for future research

Academic Strategic Enrollment Management Series

Academic Strategic Enrollment Management Series Introduction

About the Series

The Series on Academic Strategic Enrollment Management begins with establishing the curriculum as the primary reason for enrollment then builds an understanding of Curriculum Architecture and how it determines an institution’s strategic position in the global learning marketplace. From exploring curriculum architecture, the blog moves to a Learner-Centered Curriculum Framework. Next we will discuss the emergence of digital learning and service environments required introducing a full spectrum of the agents of change transforming the learning landscape. Then tackle key concepts in Strategic Enrollment Management. These concepts will include defining terms, introducing a basic Strategic Enrollment Management Matrix and then delve into the concept of vectors in developing a unifying market view that integrates with the institutions curriculum architecture. I plan to complete the series with some examples of academic strategic enrollment management strategies and case studies.

Posts in this series:

Academic Strategic Enrollment Management Series - About the Series The Series on Academic Strategic Enrollment Management begins with establishing the curriculum as the primary reason for enrollment then builds an understanding of Curriculum Architecture and how it determines an institution’s strategic position in the global learning marketplace. From exploring curriculum architecture, the blog moves to a Learner-Centered Curriculum Framework. Next we … Continue reading Academic Strategic Enrollment Management Series
The curriculum drives enrollment, enrollment drives revenue, revenue drives everything else. “It’s the Curriculum Stupid”: Part 1 - This is the first post in the series on Academic Strategic Enrollment Management. One of the great quotes in contemporary American politics: “It’s the Economy Stupid” – James Carville (circa 1992 serving as chief campaign strategist) during the first Clinton campaign for President. I often think back to that campaign and the impact those few … Continue reading “It’s the Curriculum Stupid”: Part 1
Curriculum Architecture Schematic Curriculum Architecture: Part 2 - An institution’s curriculum architecture defines the essential components of its curricular system; maps the interrelationships between the components and the environment, and specifies the system’s intended learning and award outcomes.
Diagram of the Learner-Centered Curriculum Framework Learner-Centered Curriculum Framework: Part 3 - This is the third post in the series on Academic Strategic Enrollment Management. What is the Learner Centered Curriculum Framework? “There’s this idea that if we just tell the story better, we will get more students,” he says. That thinking, he argues, misunderstands enrollment management and the plight of small colleges in the postrecession economy. … Continue reading Learner-Centered Curriculum Framework: Part 3
SEM Matrix Strategic Enrollment Management Matrix: Part 4 - This is the fourth post in the series on Academic Strategic Enrollment Management. The Strategic Enrollment Management Matrix is a powerful tool in the Academic Strategic Enrollment Management toolbox. The  Strategic Enrollment Management Matrix provides a comprehensive process framework for developing or evaluating strategies, capacities and operational initiatives. The fundamental purpose of Academic SEM is to achieve and maintain … Continue reading Strategic Enrollment Management Matrix: Part 4
Programs of Study: Part 5 - The Program of Study is the primary way by which students enroll and revenues flow to the institution. It is also a primary determinant of the costs to operate the curriculum.
Proficiency Based Curriculum Model: Part 6 - One of the most profound developments in Academic SEM is the emergence of a Proficiency-Based Curriculum Architecture Model (PBCAM). Its development and continued evolution are the results of a synthesis by a number of scholars, communities of practice and higher education associations.
Strategic Position Diagram Achieving Strategic Position in the Global Learning Marketplace: Part 7 - This is the seventh post in the series on Academic Strategic Enrollment Management. No one can achieve and sustain long-term enrollment and fiscal health with mandates or short-term, reactive, quick fix initiatives. Strategic Position Strategic Position is defined as the sum of the competitive characteristics an institution or program possesses when compared to other institutions … Continue reading Achieving Strategic Position in the Global Learning Marketplace: Part 7
Academic/SEM Cycles Framed Enrollment ‘Crisis’ Management: Managing Academic and SEM Cycles & Workflows : Part 8 - We all know timing is everything. Some of the first strategic elements an enrollment crisis disrupts are the Academic and SEM Cycles & Workflows. In fact, it is one the biggest challenges an institution faces in an enrollment crisis, to stay focused on performing SEM cyclical activities and developing strategies. Suddenly, a shortfall in enrollments … Continue reading Enrollment ‘Crisis’ Management: Managing Academic and SEM Cycles & Workflows : Part 8
Academic SEM Strategy: The iMBA at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign College of Business - The UIUC iMBA is expected to launch in 2016, and be priced at $20,000 or so. The digital curriculum architecture is designed to serve learners in a MBA degree program of study, as well as, individuals seeking advanced practice standing in seven contemporary business communities of practice. [Coursera iMBA page] Using a strategy of interweaving Coursera MOOC courses … Continue reading Academic SEM Strategy: The iMBA at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign College of Business