Higher education continues its evolution, but towards what new reality? Shifting student demographics, changing demands from the labor market, emerging educational technologies, growing national demands for accountability and quality assurance, and declining public funding, are among the global trends that are requiring colleges and universities to respond by transforming longstanding processes, and by questioning long held assumptions.
Higher education leaders called upon to navigate these tempests are increasingly expected to be futurists and strategists, among other roles. As futurists, higher education leaders must anticipate forces that may drive change over the next one, five, ten, or more years. As strategists, the same leaders must prepare their institutions to respond and innovate in preparation for likely events. Either of these roles presumes reasonably steady change; there may be the occasional disruption, such as economic challenges that strain resources, but the previously identified trends will reassert themselves, eventually.