Five seasons ago, shortly after doing a three-hour stand-up session together for the trustees at Bellevue University in Nebraska, Jeff Selingo and I launched our Future U. podcast.
Over 99 episodes, we’ve interviewed university presidents and former presidents, as well as other higher ed leaders, faculty, entrepreneurs, policymakers, journalists, and authors, among others, to help unpack the future of higher education. Throughout it all, we hope we’ve helped each of our listeners learn something about their own learning journey as well.
In our 100th episode, Jeff and I stepped back to reflect on some themes from our first five seasons.
Despite the prodding, I resisted making predictions about colleges closing.
Instead I focused on small colleges that are facing threats and what lessons we’ve learned for them from past guests on the show—namely the presidents at Simmons University, Morehouse College, Paul Quinn College, Trinity Washington University, Dickinson College, Davidson College, Dominican University of California, and Southern New Hampshire University.
Jeff reflected on how higher education thinks about—or all too often doesn’t think about—the talent development of its leadership and staff.
In the second half of the show, we invited guests back from our first season—Michael Crow of Arizona State University, Pat McGuire of Trinity Washington University, and Michael Sorrell of Paul Quinn College—to make predictions about the next five years of higher education. Interestingly, without prodding from us, they all focused on the same dynamic around adult learners.
And finally, we invited predictions from our listeners—and received some really interesting ones.
You can check it all out at here or wherever you listen to your podcasts.
As readers know, I have a new book coming out in July titled From Reopen to Reinvent: (Re)creating School for Every Child. For those who pre-order the book, I’m offering a limited-time opportunity that expires July 13th when the book launches. If you’re interested in having me speak to a group (virtually or in-person), get in touch, as I’m discounting my usual speaker fees for those who make larger pre-order purchases. Whether you want to buy 15 books and have me join a virtual book club at your school or several hundred and have me join you in-person for a speech and meetings, send me a note and let’s talk. You can pre-order the book from Amazon, from Barnes & Noble, or from Indiebound. And thank you.
Meritocracy and College for All
In our latest episode of Class Disrupted, Diane Tavenner and I wrapped up our mini-series on meritocracy and education by describing the rethinking that has gone on in education around the college-for-all movement. We conclude by suggesting a path forward that learns from the past and empowers students to decide for themselves whether college is their right next step.
In the New York Sun, I also tackled the topic of exam schools—and suggested that in the fights presently occurring over them, both sides are genuinely concerned about excluding people based on race. Just this past week the Supreme Court took action to keep Thomas Jefferson’s historical admissions policy in place while lower courts consider a lawsuit claiming that the Fairfax County School Board’s actions to alter the school’s admissions process discriminated against Asian Americans.
But in the piece I argue that there is a better way forward that neither side is discussing. This other path would benefit all students. Read the piece, “A Golden Opportunity Amid the Fire and Fury Over Exam Schools” here.
MasterClass and Outlier.org Founder On Active Learning and Engagement
Finally, I hosted Aaron Rasmussen, the cofounder of MasterClass and founder of Outlier.org, on my YouTube and LinkedIn Live channels to talk about his own journey to founding Outlier.org, which offers the first two years of college general education courses for $400 for each three-credit course. It was a fascinating conversation that shed light on how he’s thinking about creating a platform that doesn’t just offer great production value, but also actively engages learners and creates an online community to support them. You can watch the conversation here or listen to it here.
As always, thanks for reading, writing, and listening.