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------------------------------------------------------------| | | HEIRAlliance Executive Strategies Report #7 | | | | EXECUTIVE OUTLOOK on | | ...

the Transformation of Higher Education | | | | July 1996 | ------------------------------------------------------------| from the | | Higher Education Information Resources Alliance | | of ARL, CAUSE, and EDUCOM | ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The debates are growing more intense and public about higher education's ability to respond to the needs of modern society--about its financial and physical accessibility, and the relevance of its programs in an information age. Demands for learning are expected to soar in coming decades, while educational resources available under traditional models remain fairly stable. Despite the proliferation of technology-based innovation in instructional programs, administrative procedures, and executive information systems in response to these pressures, the authors of two recent publications point to an urgent need for higher education institutions to thoughtfully define the overarching shape of their purpose in a knowledge-intensive world. Consultants Michael G. Dolence and Donald M. Norris, in Transforming Higher Education: A Vision for Learning in the 21st Century, express this challenge with particular force. Examining U.S. and world estimates about the ongoing educational needs of future workforces, they conjecture that demands in the U.S. alone can translate into the full-time equivalent enrollment of one-seventh of the workforce at any point in time. To meet the full potential demand by the year 2010, Dolence and Norris estimate, a new campus would have to be opened every eight days. The solution they see will not be more college campuses but a variety of providers and new types of facilitators, learning agents, and intermediaries-with far greater competition and choice. Two educators, William F. Massy and Robert Zemsky, sketch a similar challenge for higher education in Using Information Technology to Enhance Academic Productivity. They observe that the demand for technology-based teaching and learning programs will grow over the next decade as an economical means of providing continuous education, and that information technology will change the teaching enterprise profoundly. Further, they caution, "if traditional colleges and universities do not exploit the new technologies, other nontraditional providers of education will be quick to do so" [p 2]. REQUIREMENTS FOR THE FUTURE The demands of the information age are having a profound impact on fundamental patterns and cadences of learning.

Dolence and Norris point out that the very nature of information and scholarship is changing, challenging institutions to provide students and teachers with access to the variety of networked resources available to them, challenging teachers to offer integrated views of what traditionally have been selected specialties and to expand their connections with other experts. The work world in a fast-changing information age demands workers who can continually self-correct and adapt to new directions. The needs of individual learners now go far beyond familiar "start-up" curricula within specific disciplines. Higher education today can think in terms of a wide variety of market niches: a basic liberal arts approach to perpetual learning; high-level (graduate) experience in collaboration with faculty, researchers, and problem solvers in particular areas of interest; transitions in employment responsibilities; daily enrichment of knowledge worker teams. Retrenchment, reorganization, restructuring, and reallocation may not be sufficient preparation for an era that calls for transformation. In an era of more questions than answers, leaders of educational institutions are particularly challenged. To what extent can any one institution expect to meet a multiplicity of needs? How can we reconcile the disparate and often contentious views of those who treasure a measured, contemplative academic tradition and those eager to embrace a whirlwind of innovation? What are the intellectual, social, and even political ramifications of incorporating technologybased programs into postsecondary teaching methods? How can financially strapped higher education institutions pay for this new way of conducting their business? How might we change our assumptions about, and measurement of, productivity? If technology--expensive, protean, ubiquitous, unpredictable--helped foster this information-rich, fastpaced world, in what ways can it help us survive in it? These two publications do not provide formal models, strategies, or metrics, nor do they differentiate among the variety of higher education experiences. They do set some signposts which might help us into a new era, key coordinates from which to extrapolate the shape of the institution-to-be. FUNDAMENTAL ORGANIZATIONAL PRINCIPLE: THE NETWORK For all 21st century enterprises, the fundamental organizational principle is the network: intranets and internets, networked information and people, networked competition. Dolence and Norris stress that institutions must develop infrastructure and support mechanisms to encourage adaptation of network practices: "Operating an educational institution in the 21st century that is not a facile participant in network learning will be analogous to operating an Industrial Age institution of higher education without lecture halls, classrooms, libraries, or research labs" [p 35]. Among the many implications of this fact is that higher education will compete for learners with commercial firms and other learning intermediaries--which will stimulate rethinking of all degree programs and

structures. FACILITATION, NOT BARRIERS Colleges and universities currently emphasize prerequisites and conditions, screening and control. Dolence and Norris sketch a more open design model for the information age which emphasizes mechanisms to facilitate open access to a network of experts in both traditional and hybridized disciplines, using just-in-time learning and providing perpetual learning, facilitated by automated or "fused" learning systems, and offering a la carte learning experiences based on learner needs. Instead of our existing segmented groupings (elementary, secondary, apprenticeship, baccalaureate, graduate, postgraduate, continuing education) they envision a system based on knowledge and demonstrated mastery, where the same learning tools and "learningware" can be used at different stages and revisited for refreshing and reskilling. LEARNER FOCUS A key presupposition of both works is the importance of thinking in terms of learner needs, not teaching franchises. Currently, most teaching and course credits and degrees are bundled together seamlessly in accredited institutions, with credentialed faculty, controlled by various combinations of accrediting associations and government agencies. A learning franchise, on the other hand, provides access to powerful learning systems, information and knowledge bases, scholarly exchange networks, with customizable learning modules and systems open to anyone who needs them and can compensate the provider. Measurement and certification are important for many but not all learners. Students can pay for as little or as much mentoring as they choose. UNBUNDLING OF SERVICES Breaking offerings and services into their components serves two purposes: it allows flexible response to individual learner needs, and enables new ways of administering service and defining productivity. Massy and Zemsky point out that technology allows education providers to separate some key functions traditionally bundled together. Compelling lecturers, for example, may reach a broad audience beyond the campus via networks, while different faculty may be involved in helping learners design and navigate programs of study, or in mentoring and certifying. Learning and certification of mastery are currently combined structurally, through grading and degree programs. Separation of these elements would have interesting consequences. Learners (and society) would be able to decide for what purposes demonstration of mastery is required, and could pay for certification of that mastery. Society could also decide what types of learning need no certification--refreshment of job knowledge, for instance. Or the certification might go to a group rather than an individual in cases where an employer

needs a team capable of specialized work. INTEGRATION OF ACADEMIC AND ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEMS Under this open scenario, faculty and support staff will require new kinds of software tools to facilitate and manage learning, linking financial and demographic records, learning progress, and other records contained in the institution's databases, smart cards, and external sources. They will need new kinds of secure, point-of-access pay plans. They will have to be able to track online learning diagnostics and remediation programs, certification, modular curricula, online consultation, use of virtual laboratories. The new frontier, Dolence and Norris say, is learningware, "applications for the facilitation and management of learning," which will be the focus of software support systems for the information age. Administrators in this environment will serve as general contractors, developers, and systems operators and auditors. Such roles will require great imagination and sensitivity to customer service to compete with alternative learning providers and intermediaries. PRODUCTIVITY Old concepts of productivity, based on throughput and seattime products such as credit hours and degrees, must give way to learning outcomes and client satisfaction: variety, quality, timeliness, responsiveness. Much of this transition will be enabled by networked information technology, which eludes easy cost-benefit analysis. Within higher education, for example, most departments have little knowledge about the costs of specific learning and teaching activities, and cost trade-offs between technology-based strategies and traditional processes are almost impossible to assess. Massy and Zemsky have developed an activity-based costing model encompassing teaching-related faculty time, support staff and teaching assistants, facilities, and, where applicable, information technology, to allow cost analysis and "what if" scenarios. In a hypothetical comparison of a traditional lecture course and one which incorporates a technology-based studio element, the same total cost represents 96 percent labor in the former, 84 percent labor and the cost of the technology in the latter--plus increased learning time for the student [pp 8-12]. Other productivity analyses require similar creative breakdowns of established patterns. The ultimate challenge to higher education leaders, these authors agree, is not more money but genuine strategic thinking: about the future needs of learners and the potential use of networked technology to serve those learners and reap new sources of revenue. Dolence and Norris portray a scenario in which transformative strategic thinking generates a shared learning vision of compelling power, which "pulls" the campus forward and empowers strategic planning. The focus must be on an enabling learning infrastructure, not technology projects, with learning synergies as its essence

and all campus constituencies participating as shareholders in the action. The choice in this closing decade of the 20th century is not between innovation and tradition, but between adaptation and stagnation. It should be the focus of debate on every campus. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ "Higher education's core values will be at risk if more and more undergraduate education shifts to nontraditional providers. By traditional values we do not mean a 'canon' of treasured works but rather an investment in areas of inquiry that a corporate or for-profit market may not deem profitable." -- Massy and Zemsky, 16 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ REDEFINING AND ENHANCING PRODUCTIVITY * Cost savings, down-sizing/rightsizing, and restructuring have all missed the point--enhancing productivity is the end game. * Learner needs must drive our concept of productivity. * Variety, quality, timeliness, and responsiveness are important aspects of information age productivity. * Higher education will enhance its productivity or pay the consequences. -- Dolence and Norris, 68 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ EXAMPLES OF KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS 20th Century * Administrative cost per FTE student * Average class rank, incoming freshmen * Average GPA, incoming freshmen * Average test scores, incoming freshmen * Campus crime rate * Four-year graduation rate * Number of degrees awarded * Number of open access PCs * Number of parking spaces * Number of students in each major * Student/faculty ratio * Tuition dependence * Tuition rate * Tuition revenue 21st Century * Ability to communicate one-on-one with faculty * Access to global information network * Access to unlimited library collections * Free text search capability * Demonstrated value of program * Flexible curriculum * Flexible schedule

* * * * * * *

Lifelong learning support Mastery of subject material Network access from dorm room/home Number of students with PCs Personal attention from faculty/mentors Personalized learning systems Available simulation capability -- Dolence and Norris, 76-77

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Transforming Higher Education: A Vision for Learning in the 21st Century was written by Michael G. Dolence, president of Michael G. Dolence & Associates in Claremont, California, and Donald M. Norris, president of Strategic Initiatives, Inc., in Herndon, Virginia. Published in 1995 by the Society for College and University Planning, ISBN 0-9601608-0-9. Contact: SCUP, 313-998-7832,, Using Information Technology to Enhance Academic Productivity, by William F. Massy, professor of education and business administration at Stanford University and founding director of the Stanford Institute for Higher Education Research, and Robert Zemsky, professor of education at the University of Pennsylvania and director of the Institute for Research on Higher Education. It draws on discussions of an 18-member roundtable convened by Educom in June 1995. Published by Educom's National Learning Infrastructure Initiative (NLII). Contact: Educom, 202-872-4200, ------------------------------------------------------------The Executive Strategies Reports are published by the Higher Education Information Resources Alliance (HEIRAlliance), a vehicle for cooperative projects between the Association of Research Libraries, CAUSE, and Educom. Reports in this series inform campus leaders about critical and timely issues related to information technologies. Focus issues are identified by the executive officers of the three sponsoring associations: Duane Webster, Executive Director, Association of Research Libraries; Jane N. Ryland, President, CAUSE; Robert C. Heterick, Jr., President, Educom. Copyright (C) 1996 by HEIRA. Material from this report reproduced for noncommercial purposes with appropriate to the HEIRAlliance. Executive Editor Karen J. McBride CAUSE, 4840 Pearl East Circle, Suite 302E, Boulder, CO 303-939-0313, may be credit at 80301;

------------------------------------------------------------Additional print copies of this Executive Strategies Report are available from CAUSE at $5.00 each: 303-939-0310, Electronic text is available at no charge on the CAUSE Web server at

or send e-mail to with the message: GET HEIRA.ES7 Previous Executive Strategies Reports, also available electronically at the above URL, cover the integration of information technologies on campus, the future of university libraries, the impact of networking, the payoff on the IT investment, the AAU action agenda for university libraries, and guidelines for evaluating institutional information resources. ------------------------------------------------------------ARL, the Association of Research Libraries, is an organization of 119 major research libraries in the U.S. and Canada whose mission is to shape and influence forces affecting the future of research libraries in the process of scholarly communication. 202-296-2296, CAUSE, the association for managing and using information resources in higher education, is a nonprofit association which focuses on enabling transformation in higher education through effective management and use of information resources. 303-449-4430, Educom is a nonprofit consortium of leading colleges and universities seeking to transform education through the use of information technology. Its programs focus primarily on networking and integrating computing into the curriculum. 202-872-4200, -------------------------------------------------------------