The only thing that’s constant is change.
Rising tuition costs. Shrinking population of 18-year old students. Increased attention from the federal government. An unsustainable business model. You don’t have to look very far to find a reason why higher education has got to change.
You would think that we would be primed for it. After all, we’re in the business of change. Education — especially in a small, liberal arts college — is about exploration, and transformation. Aka, change. It’s about learning how to learn, and how to apply universally-applicable skills like writing and critical thinking to whatever challenges (job and otherwise) we are presented with in the future. We teach our students to be lifelong learners. And, understanding that the world is constantly changing, prepare them for jobs that have not even been created yet.
And yet we, as institutions and as individuals who work in them, do not seem to want to change. We hang onto our traditions, our structures, our processes…dare I say *afraid* to let go? We are challenged to separate WHAT we do, and the value that it provides, from HOW we do it. We accept change as a given in our personal lives — maybe begrudgingly, but who among us still listens to 8-tracks, wears bell bottoms, or has a “brick” cell phone? So why do we expect (insist, even) that our work — from administrative processes to classroom technology — will remain completely unchanged?
How can we remain credible to our students if we cannot ourselves be lifelong learners? How can we remain relevant to our time if we cannot prepare ourselves for education models that have not yet been created? And why, oh why, are we so resistant to change?