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College Conferences

This past fall I attended two conferences, one in Indiana and the other in Florida, where I was able to sit in on seminars full of hot topics. From financial aid, generational differences, social media, LD issues and Higher Ed, my head was spinning!

While on these trips I was able to visit schools in the area: in Indiana I saw Butler, Rose-Hulman, Purdue, DePauw and Earlham and in Florida I saw Eckerd, University of Tampa, and Florida Southern College. I saw firsthand how schools are working to keep their curriculum fresh and pertinent and how they are working towards building and measuring programs that manifest into outcomes for their graduates. Here are some of the takeaways confirming what I have been observing while on the road visiting colleges and universities and professional development seminars.

1. Education = look at Career Framework => who are you => what are your academic options =>career options

My observation is as higher education changes and becomes increasingly expensive, it is critical for colleges and universities to provide value and outcomes for their students and their families.

Today’s parents want to know what the outcomes are. Will they get a job? How do you measure success in this area? Schools paying attention to trends of thought are ahead of the game as they build college/career planning side by side for each student.

2. Silos of thought or disciplines are going away. Cross pollination is evolving into an integrative approach to higher education. While STEM has been on everyone’s mind, it really is now STEAM, STEM +ART, creating innovation and creative, thoughtful problem solving.

3. We will be seeing more Interdisciplinary Incubators - innovation and growth stimulated by multiple areas of thought coming together and working toward a common goal.

4. Hot College Majors

a. Biomedical engineering

b. Robotics

c. Big data

d. Sustainability

e. Public policy

f. Forensic science

5. Other markets with nonlinear pathways

a. Green design – city planning, landscape

b. Energy and water systems maanagement

c. Sustainability management

d. Policy opportunities

e. Engineering – need to ask questions not just solve problem

f. GIS – Geographic Information Systems

6. It is not about problem solving anymore, it is about asking the right questions!

7. In order for colleges to be competitive for students they must adapt to the new climate

a. Schools are increasingly adding 4 year career counseling into their curriculum

b. Experiential learning

c. Internships

d. Jobs

8. While a college education is our hope for our students, it would be remiss for me not to mention that not every student is meant for a 4 year college curriculum. Currently the Trades and other middle skill jobs are suffering from attrition due to workers hitting retirement and empty pipelines to replenish these skilled laborers. These middle skill jobs include, but are not limited too:

a. Coders

b. Financial service sales agents

c. Insurance and Real estate brokers

d. Technical salese. Machinists, tool-and-die makers

f. The Trades – electricians, welders, plumbers, mechanics

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