Here’s my presentation from this morning’s La Universidad en México en el año 2030: imaginando futuros conference at UNAM in Mexico City.
This paper introduces how the convergence of globalization, emergence of the knowledge society and accelerating change contribute to what might be best termed a New Paradigm of knowledge production in higher education. The New Paradigm reflects the emerging shifts in thought, beliefs, priorities and practice in regard to education in society. These new patterns of thought and belief are forming to harness and manage the chaos, indeterminacy, and complex relationships of the postmodern.
This paper then presents a comparative summary of a study of the future of higher education in Minnesota, USA. The study utilized a future-oriented, multiple-methods approach to identify potential futures for higher education and their related implications, consequences and policy actions in regard to the New Paradigm of knowledge production.
Data generated from a comprehensive review of the literature were developed into a set of statements and inputted into a Delphi questionnaire instrument. An expert group of 20 Minnesota college and university presidents (or their designates) comprised the study’s Delphi panel, which determined the level of importance, level of acceptability and possibility of occurrence for each item identified. Following the quantitative analysis of these three measurements for each questionnaire item, where group consensus emerged, each Delphi panelist was asked to provide qualitative statements on implications for their institution, policy actions, how to improve the likelihood of preferred futures, and the potential for competing institutions to lead in least preferred futures. Content analysis revealed ten thematic categories for implications and policy actions for higher education given the futures identified and evaluated. The findings suggest higher education leaders need to integrate the concept of accelerating change of the New Paradigm into their thinking and leadership practices and further align their activities to succeed in an era of accelerating change, chaos and ambiguity.