The most pressing issue in higher education today

What is the most pressing issue in higher education today?

Many of us have discussed this issue thorughout the course of this class, but I believe the most pressing issue in higher education now is the COVID-19 pandemic. Institutions of higher learning have seen a significant shit in how they educate students and how they go about the daily business of running a college/university. No one was prepared for this pandemic, and the subsequent responses really showed that at an alarming rate.

In the short term, many colleges and universities had to deal with their students having to move off campus, shutting administrative offices, and moving all classes to the online format. Higher education was also hit hard financially as a result of the pandemic. For example, many schools had to issue pro-rated refunds for students that had already paid for room and board. “The University of Wisconsin system, which includes 13 campuses, estimates that it will issue about $78 million in refunds” (Smalley, 2020, p.1). Needless to say, the landscape of education has been changed and many don’t if/when it will return to pre-pandemic operations.

Addressing the issue:

Moving forward, colleges and universities should develop a plan that addresses a pandemic.

  1. Put together a committee of professionals (stakeholders) from within and outside the university.
  2. Email a survey to parents, students, and faculty/staff and get their thoughts regarding future action if another pandemic occurs.
  3. Develop a plan that addresses school and on-campus housing closure, technology (especially for those students that don’t have access to personal devices). The plan should also financials and the plan for issuing refunds, if applicable.
  4. Develop a plan that addresses the reopening of campuses.

References

Smalley, A. (2020). Higher education responses to coronavirus (COVID-19). Retrieved from https://www.ncsl.org/research/education/higher-education-responses-to-coronavirus-covid-19.aspx

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