How Do You Imagine the University of the Future?
Higher education must prepare for tomorrow’s realities
I believe that the university of the future will take an integrated approach that attends to the whole student, including impactful liberal-arts-based pedagogies in the classroom and innovative cocurricular activities outside the classroom. We will address comprehensive student health and wellness, including mental, nutritional, spiritual, physical, and financial health—overall, we’ll recognize how comprehensive health undergirds academic success. Finally, we will acknowledge, appreciate, and address quality of life as an essential aspect of a healthy work environment for faculty and staff.
In leading Minerva University, I envision a future for higher education in which a college degree is not an end goal in and of itself but rather one important step in students’ journeys to their desired impact on society. Higher education needs to teach practical skills and knowledge using principles from the science of learning to promote active engagement in every class. By combining an effective pedagogical approach with an interdisciplinary and project-based curriculum, we can empower students from around the world to collaborate across differences and develop creative solutions to the world’s most complex global problems.
The university of the future will be rooted in love and implement it as a leadership strategy. We will use love for knowledge, for students, and for communities as the basis for operating from a people-centered approach that challenges the dominant cultures of our institutions. This love will be collective, collaborative, and life-giving. We will honor the humanity and dignity of our community members. We will live out our value of equity by supporting engaged scholarship, by adjusting policies to support our diverse students and workforce, and by recognizing and rectifying our reputations of harm with the communities we are part of and connected to.
Carnegie Elective Classifications, American Council on Education
What will campuses look like a decade from now? Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our research into evolving university architecture has focused on how the physical environment affects students’ educational experiences and the pedagogical approach of professors. Both groups seek places that provide engagement, community, connectedness, and ultimately a sense of belonging. Many academic institutions are currently exploring how to achieve this—through both physical and virtual spaces—and how to attain digital equity in hybrid classrooms. In particular, the pandemic was the death knell for large tiered lecture halls. In our research surveys, students indicated that a desire for hands-on activities and small class sizes are the main reasons to return to in-person learning on campus.
Gensler, architecture firm