Last week, #TeamHenderson made our way to Seattle, WA for the SCUP 2019 Annual Conference with some of higher education’s finest college and professional planners. Together, we discussed key trends and lessons learned – basically, all things higher ed. In case you missed it, here are some themes we took away:
Evaluate, Formulate, Implement
Learning environments are constantly adapting to the ever-evolving needs of today’s students and teaching methods – shifting from being resource-centric to discipline and learner-centric. Building on this mindset and taking it to the next level by focusing on what’s called “humanics,” universities are starting to concentrate on opportunities where students can “retool, learn new skills, upscale, and upgrade” their education. Essentially, as new technologies surpass workforce skills, learners must have the opportunity to gain new skills to continue to bring value only they can bring. That way, in a world where technology is woven into everything we touch, they’re equipped with skills and tools that machines and artificial intelligence can’t comprehend. The integration of this literacy can be categorized into three areas:
For students to master these skills, educators are using Experiential Education, giving students the tools they need to be successful through creativity, innovation, and collaboration.
Demographics, Equity, and Everything in Between
Continuing the theme of adapting for today’s students, we’re in the midst a demographic shift. In a way, it’s the moment of truth for planners in the realm of higher education. Many universities are only focused on traditional learners, who account for approximately 26% of students. However, the remaining 74% are typically non-traditional lifelong learners. These universities are at a crossroads and need to move towards meeting the needs of lifelong learners.
A lot of companies don’t offer incentive programs for lifelong learning, which means higher education institutions have an opportunity to step in. By embracing lifelong learning and developing programs to manage to support the ongoing pursuit of knowledge, colleges and universities can provide a solution to the inequity across multiple demographics.
There’s also an opportunity for companies and universities to work together towards empowering lifelong learners. An example highlighted in one of the conference presentations explored integrating business districts into a university campus. Essentially creating a unique mixed-use development that bridges the gap between the classroom and real world. This approach offers post-secondary credentials with labor market value, not necessarily a four-year degree, and can help break the open-ended cycles of inequity.
The Future of Higher Education
What does all of this mean for those of us on the building design side of things?
For more information on how we bring innovative building systems design to campuses across the nation, click here.