Past Event

Global Collaboratory Seminar: The Future of Higher Education

April 13, 2021
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Online (Tunis/NY)

Join us next Tuesday at 3:00 PM (Tunis) for the Global @Columbia Collaboratory about the Future of Higher Education.

Technological disruptions, social and economic consequences of globalization, and competing geopolitical factors have contributed to a recalibration of the twentieth century paradigms that undergirded major US research universities. Has the pandemic accelerated these trends, and what new opportunities and challenges has it created? Other questions the discussion will address include:

Will US universities remain a magnet for international students?

What are the limits and opportunities of technology to bridge educational gaps, expand access, and help educators and students thrive and connect?

In the face of anti-globalization and the collapse of systems of global cooperation, what is the role of the university?

Higher Education is a world in constant evolution, a world where major discoveries and milestones of human progress were made, a world that chronicles the past and builds for the future. New sciences and disciplines continue to emerge every now and then and the space for creation seems infinite. The university as we know it today is the product of centuries of changes and additions. Globalization and transatlantic flights have contributed to this transformation, bypassing political and economic obstacles, and by early 2020 it seemed as if world universities were interconnected and that the years ahead would lead to more interconnectedness. Then COVID came.

Universities had their structural issues, of course, and calls for more reforms and swifter adaptation to the technologically advanced world were legion in the first quarter of the 21st century. However, the pandemic intensified the challenges: school closures and remote instruction, protests around inequality and inequity, political divisions and discourse, etc. In response to this, universities have moved quickly, re-evaluating how education is conducted over time and space, building new university-wide connections to better support the teaching and learning and, for the most innovative ones, switched to either an online or a hybrid form of education. Building on the lessons and practices of this most uncommon year, education leaders are imagining the next five to ten years and beyond, by focusing on how higher education can adapt to a new global normal, how to address the broader needs of the student body in a global context, how to motivate lifelong learning and widen access, how to marry the best of a liberal arts education with new models for teaching and learning spawned by new developments in science and technology, and more.

By looking back and looking at the future, this conversation will investigate how the education landscape is being reshaped, and how universities adapt -in their operations and academic models- to social, economic, technological, and political trends. The main question our panelists will respond to is: what is the future of higher education?