Buchanan 010There was thought-provoking discussion at this year’s BOG Retreat about the complexion of modern higher education—today, and in the future for which we must plan. 

What is “the university experience” for 21s  century students?  How does MOSO provide a meaningful “university experience” for traditional, non-traditional, residential, commuter and distance-learning students? 

How do we preserve the values of time-honored university offerings while meeting the demands of today’s economy and workplace?  How do we accommodate the expectations and learning styles of modern students?

When we take advantage of technological innovations that facilitate distance-learning and hybrid courses, we risk the loss of personal relationships, a treasure of higher education.  So, how do we use the technology to increase efficiency, and perhaps even learning outcomes, without sacrificing the relationships?

How do we assure that students graduate with competencies in liberal arts core areas while also prepared for demanding, often narrowly-focused careers?  The pressure is on to produce graduates who already have impressive competencies in career areas such as health care, computer science or business, leaving less time to focus on the arts, literature, citizenship, proper use of language, social skills and other aspects of being  well-educated.

How do we answer the call to award degrees in shorter time, reducing costs to students and launching them sooner into tax-paying productivity?  Are certifications becoming more important than degrees?  If employers are more interested in narrow competencies than in degrees, how do we convince students of the value of a well-rounded education?

How do we assure that resources are appropriately applied to all elements of  a “university experience” and that we meet the needs of all our students:  academics,  the arts, athletics, residence life, student services, amenities for commuters , distance-learning options, global exposure? And how do we do this when state support is shrinking? 

I left the Retreat with my head spinning about these challenges!  But MOSO has multitudes of people addressing these issues, seeking these answers. Your BOG thanks you!  It evolves, but the “university experience” remains your invaluable gift to students and to our society!