Category Archives: Workforce

Chapter One: We Need MORE English Majors!

So, the story goes, my wise and imaginative grandmother said my first word was “more.” I cling to this story as evidence to support my drive to continually connect with more people, raise more money to advance more mission-driven nonprofits, and stay focused, always, on waking up each morning to bring more opportunity to the workplace and more goodness to the world

However, as I look for answers and solutions to more challenges in our communities, organizations, and politics, nowadays, I’m left scratching my head, crossing my eyes, and feeling like Herb Morrison reporting on the Hindenburg disaster, but this time on the glorified STEM fiasco and exclaiming, “Oh, the humanities!” followed by a rush of Juliet Capulet asking, “Wherefore art thou?

With all due respect to my scientist friends, neighbors, colleagues, it has become exhausting for the last baker’s dozen years hearing that we need more students in the STEM fields. The STEM rhetoric has reached saturation. Sure, we need to continually develop a pool of individuals who will dedicate themselves to advancing science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine. Yet, too many college students are being pushed toward a false sense of security in STEM majors. And, at the expense of the humanities?

We need generations of students who graduate with passion, curiosity, empathy, and their own American dreams.

Oh, the humanities! Wherefore art thou?

Our companies, societies, nation, minds, and hearts are desperately in need of a fervent return of students from the humanities. Let’s invest more in Art, Language, and Philosophy and infuse and inspire today’s youthful minds with the curiosity for learning instilled in me, you, and many contemporary leaders and CEOs. Let’s get lost in histories and religions, and bring back passion for critical thinking, communication, cultural perspective, and civic care.

Oh, the humanities! Wherefore art thou?

On this beautiful February day, an unseasonably warm, comfortable, superb morning with a brilliant sun. The kind of day you want to last forever. Flower buds tricked and doing their business in winter. Creeks slowly thawing and moving along the fields, emptying into the larger, magnificent pools of water. Just a cloud in the sky, a rare day reaching the height of a perfect winter moment, I chant,

“We need MORE English majors!”

Mighty Edu’s $7.3 Billion SWO Economic Impact

In 2009, I wrote my first ever blog post for Richard Florida’s Creative Class Group on Mighty Edu: higher ed’s positive impacts on economies, communities, and people.  I wrote this post as our nation descended in its second greatest economic depression. Living through that period reinforced my Might Edu mantra as I watched higher ed’s value and importance increase during this period. Pivotal to emerging from the depression, higher education helped, first, stabilize and, second, grow local economies by re-tooling America’s workforce with advanced degrees and certificates, and research and commercialization. It’s impact on economies continues to grow.

Recently,  SOCHE released its report on the Economic and Fiscal Impacts of its member colleges and universities in southwest Ohio. The collective impact for fiscal year 2016 amounted to over $7 billion, including $3.8 billion in new monies brought to the region from tuition, sponsored research, and alumni giving.

This sustained level of spending and revenue generation ripples through our region, driving the success of other sectors that directly and indirectly support higher education through specific goods and services. The wage and tax revenue contributes amounts that help sustain local government services, and the job creation is over 70,000 making higher education once of the largest employment sectors.

More importantly, as region’s become more competitive for talent, last year, SOCHE member colleges and universities awarded over 31,000 students with degrees and certificates, providing an ample supply of talent for the workforce.

Even better news is that this data reflects only the southwest region of the state. Ohio is rich in higher education and the combined and cumulative impact of its over 80 colleges and universities, I would wager, more than quadruples SOCHE’s impact findings.

Now, imagine if Ohio invested in higher education and increased the education levels of its population to the point where, instead of less than 20 percent of people older than 25 have only a high school diploma, 80 percent had college degrees. What if?

 

 

 

 

 

 

A College President for the Public Good

Harry Boyte’s latest profile in the Huffington Post is on my bow-tie sporting colleague/mentor Paul Pribbenow, president of Augsburg College in Minneapolis. Paul exemplifies a college president who carries with him the vision of leading for the public good. One would think, as Paul notes, that the majority of college presidents are driven by this same notion, carrying the torch of American higher education that contributes to realizing significant public ends.

Unfortunately, many college leaders have lost touch with higher ed’s foundational roots of providing students with the civic knowledge and skills to become engaged citizens. Paul is not one of those leaders, obviously. He belongs to a group of outlier presidents who remain steadfast in their commitment to creating a learning environment that teaches how to contribute to the civic health of our society and democracy. Paul is committed to graduating the “citizen professional” – a mindset that values leadership for the public good and rebuilding the civic life of communities.

Paul Pribbenow’s profile is one in a series in the Huffington Post by Harry Boyte on college presidential leadership for the Kettering Foundation’s College Presidents and the Civic Purposes of Higher Education Project. Read more profiles and other musings by Harry.

 

Cin-Day Cyber

A multi-stakeholder alliance is emerging in our region of the country under the name of Cin-Day Cyber. The alliance brings together K-12, higher education, industry, and government in a strategic effort to establish/enhance Cincinnati-Dayton’s reputation as a national leader in cybersecurity education, research and private and public partnerships. SOCHE is at the center of the alliance, providing administrative infrastructure to help Cin-Day Cyber reach its goals. From our vantage point, we are again witnessing firsthand how collaborative thinking emerges and forms based on the pull of workforce demand. Congrats to all the partners!

Higher Education 2067

SOCHE will turn 100 in 2067 and we are posing the question to our members: what will higher education look like in 52 years?

a) No Title IX incidents
b) No student debt
c) Unlimited federal and state support for instruction
d) Low tuition, room/board, and fees
e) Big market share of high school graduates
f)  No difference between traditional and non-traditional students
g) 85-95% retention and completion rates
h) Abundance of classroom space and human capital to handle higher enrollments
i) Perfect balance of part-time practitioners and full-time scholars
j) No developmental education required
k) International student population assimilated on campuses
l) Globalized curriculum
m) Crisis on campus minimized
n) Choice of pathways that align with specific industry needs, prepare you for effective citizenship and leadership, or educate you to build your community.
o)  College educated workforce above 67 percent
p) Role of MOOCs and its resistance to commodification
q) For-profit higher education sector bankrupt
r) Higher Learning Commission EZ forms available to most campuses
s) Return on investment of a college degree reaches new peak
t) Public proud of public dollars spent on higher education
u) Resources abundant for technology upgrades
v) Safety on campuses reaches new peak
w) Affordable Health Care Act creates budget relief for campuses
x) Administrative and academic leadership pool strong for future growth
y) New facilities and infrastructure on campuses designed for student success
z) Fill in the blank ___________________________

These are just 26 ideas…and we know that higher collaboration will be at the nucleus for even these few advances. “Together, we are an ocean.”

Contemporary Challenges to the System (Part I)

Higher education is increasingly faced with challenges that are not easily surmounted. These are contemporary challenges with no simple answers or quick solutions. While the list below could be ten times longer based on who you talk to, several contemporary challenges include, in no particular order:

a) Increase in Title IX incidents
b) Rise in student debt
c) Decline in federal and state support for instruction
d) Rise in tuition, room/board, and fees
e) Competition for market share of decreasing high school graduates
f) Change in student profile from traditional to non-traditional students
g) Pressure to increase retention and completion
h) Shortage of classroom space and human capital to handle higher enrollments
i) Decrease in tenure track positions and continued rise in adjunct model of teaching
j) Increase in number of students needing developmental education
k) Challenges associated with serving a growing international population
l) Pressure to prepare graduates to work in the era of globalization
m) Increase in plagiarism among students and faculty
n) Pressure to align programs, certificates, degrees with industry needs
o) Pressure to increase college educated workforce to 60 percent
p) Role of MOOCs and its resistance to commodification
q) Growth of for-profit higher education sector
r) Increase in accountability by Higher Learning Commission and DOE
s) Question about the return on investment of a college degree
t) Increase in scrutiny by the media on how public dollars are spent
u) Demand on resources created by ongoing technology upgrades
v) Challenge to provide increased security on campuses
w) Impact of Affordable Health Care Act on budgets
x) Looming retirements of administrative and academic leadership
y) Aging facilities and infrastructure on campuses
z) Fill in the blank ___________________________

Again, this list is far from complete. Most of the challenges identified are from the perspective of what might keep higher education leaders awake at night. We could list an entirely different data set by spending time in the trenches, where we would discover additional challenges with campus infrastructure, student behavior, and personnel that would make our heads spin. Or we could conduct an inquiry with faculty and the list would grow even more. Garnering the student perspective would reveal unique challenges that we never knew existed, and let us not forget to include the challenges seen by the external community partners. The list of contemporary challenges would grow exponentially. Furthermore, these challenges are escalating, and creating pressure on a higher education system that was not initially designed with them in mind. These challenges need to be resolved or they will remain an ongoing distraction that pulls and pushes the educational economic, and civic mission of higher education off course, or simply prevents it from maturing. Where do we go from here? Part II will focus on solutions.

The Entrepreneurial University

In order to shape and sustain its future, higher education must become deliberate about establishing new connections, building new partnerships, and evolving itself into a collaborative enterprise. Many creative examples can be found in the publication The Innovative and Entrepreneurial University. As you will read, the entrepreneurial university takes a pro-active stance in putting knowledge to use and in creating new knowledge. Often the government acts as a public entrepreneur and venture capitalist. The entrepreneurial university provides students with new ideas, skills and talentStudents are not only the new generations of professionals in various scientific disciplines, business, culture, but they can also be trained and encouraged to become entrepreneurs and firm founders, contributing to economic growth and job creation. Entrepreneurial universities also have an enhanced capacity to generate technology. Rather than only serving as a source of new ideas for existing firms, universities are combining their research and teaching capabilities in new formats to become a source of new business development.

While not every campus is in a position to create a Triple Helix partnership, at a minimum, strengthening an institution’s innovative, entrepreneurial, and/or collaborative foundation will increase its overall value proposition. And, simply, a campus that builds a culture of innovation and collaboration will, consequently, catalyze solutions to pressing contemporary–educational, economic, and societal–challenges.

entrepreneurial

UD-GE Aviation Partnership as Leadership

The formal partnership between the University of Dayton and GE Aviation is a major collaborative practice and example of visionary leadership. As a result, GE Aviation built a $54 million research-and-development center on UD’s campus, creating space and opportunity for faculty and students researchers to work together with GE Aviation scientists and engineers on developing new advanced technologies. Further, the partnership created a talent pipeline from UD directly into GE Aviation and its core industries, beginning with internships and co-ops, and, ultimately will lead to full-time employment of UD graduates. These are initial good results, yet the longterm benefits will be transformative for both entities.

Creating this particular university-industry partnership requires mature, collaborative thinking. Hence, UD’s and GE Aviation’s leadership needs to be studied deeply, as this type of higher collaboration is the future.

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Synergistic Collaboration

Synergy is a key indicator for measuring effective and ineffective collaboration. This indicator emerged in my research that contributed to the scholarship on community partners. The research deepened our understanding of what community partners look for and expect in successful civic partnerships with higher education. The “effective” and “ineffective” descriptors provide helpful, measurable criteria to keep in mind when establishing, monitoring, and evaluating a collaborative partnership.

Effective

  • Acknowledges that both partners are better off working together than separately, creating a mutuality that results in higher productivity and progress toward desired outcomes
  • Recognizes the community partner adds value to student education by providing practical experience and that students receive real-world lessons in servant leadership
  • Demonstrates that faculty gain more experience in the areas of practice and direct service
  • Creates feeling of pleasure from collaboration
  • Produces happiness with results of the partnership
  • Believes parties’ constituencies mutually benefit from the relationship

Ineffective

  • Permits patronizing attitude toward community partner on the part of faculty and administrators
  • Exhibits academic arrogance on part of tenured faculty who are disconnected from direct-service providers
  • Views practice as inferior to theory
  • Places students in the awkward situation of brokering the relationship between faculty and community partner, making them the glue that holds the partnership together

Many other descriptors could be added to this initial list, but it does give us a place to start when entering into collaboration. The full list of indicators can be found at Community Partners Indicators of Engagement: An Action Research Study on Campus-Community Partnership.

Tongue and Cheek Collaboration

TEDxDayton 2014 had many rich talks throughout the day. This tongue and cheek talk on collaboration by Stephen and Joel Levinson gives us a personal look into collaboration and not-collaboration. Keeping the content lighthearted and, as a result, definitely engaging, the Levinson brothers share good tips we can employ when we are in the messiness of our collaborative work.

levison