Higher education TomorrowThe Higher Education Tomorrow academic blog is devoted to the systematic research-based analysis of global higher education and its future

Towards higher education in service of humanity

Towards higher education in service of humanity Patrick Blessinger and Mandla Makhanya St. John's University (NYC), USA and University of South Africa The growing importance of education at all levels and the inclusion of more stakeholders in the educational enterprise has sparked debate about the fundamental nature and purpose of higher education (that is, what type of good is education?). Traditionally, viewed from an economic perspective, higher education has been treated largely as a public good. Since the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948, this public good view has been reinforced by the view that education is also a human right. These factors, together with the increased demand for higher education to meet the economic development needs of the post-World War II economies, resulted in a huge increase in government support for higher education. This factor further solidified the notion of higher education as a public good. However,...

Higher education’s social responsibility to refugees

Higher education’s social responsibility to refugees Patrick Blessinger and Enakshi Sengupta St. John's University (NYC), USA and American University of Kurdistan The number of displaced people around the world has reached unprecedented levels. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, estimates that more than 65 million people worldwide have been forcibly displaced from their homes due to extreme violence, war, persecution and similar factors.  Currently, people are being displaced at a rate of about 20 people per minute. Particularly disturbing is that most of the growth in displaced people has occurred over the past five years. About one-third of the 65 million displaced people are classified as refugees. Over 50% of all refugees are children. The UNHCR defines a refugee as a person who is forced to leave her or his home country to escape extreme violence, war, persecution and man-made disasters and is granted asylum in another country.  Most displaced people come...

Inclusive higher education for the benefit of all

Inclusive higher education for the benefit of all Patrick Blessinger, Jaimie Hoffman and Mandla Makhanya St John’s University (NYC), University of Wisconsin at La Crosse, University of South Africa Broadly defined, institutions of higher education are social structures that fulfil a common social purpose of creating an educated citizenry. They achieve this through policies, rules, customs, symbols and traditions. As such, institutions exemplify structures for social order, creating the norms and expectations for human behaviour.  As such, educational institutions have an implicit social responsibility to ensure that these practices work for the benefit of all students. Throughout the nearly one thousand-year history of higher education, higher education institutions, or HEIs, have demonstrated remarkable resilience in the face of continual political, social, economic and technological change.  HEIs have remained remarkably stable in their missions, structures and practices over the past millennium, even in the face of revolutions, innovations and other forms of...

Globalisation requires us to foster global citizens

Globalisation requires us to foster global citizens Patrick Blessinger and Enakshi Sengupta St. John's University (NYC), USA and American University of Kurdistan Education and lifelong learning hold the key to addressing many of the world’s problems. Of course, education alone is not a sufficient condition for resolving these problems, but it is a necessary one, for it is within the fertile soil of humanistic education, grounded in democratic principles and universal human rights, that the seeds of political, economic, social and technological development can take root and grow. Authentic humanistic education provides the catalyst for summoning forth the best about humans – their innate drive to learn and create, their capacity for empathy and compassion towards others and their remarkable ability to come together to put in place humane policies and rules by which to govern society and relations between nations.  In short, education and lifelong learning provide hope in...

The case for internationalisation of higher education

The case for internationalisation of higher education Patrick Blessinger and Barbara Cozza St. John's University (NYC), USA Not only has globalisation had a tremendous impact on the development of the world, but its impact on the internationalisation of higher education over the past few decades has been equally remarkable. Many different theories, perspectives and conceptions of globalisation exist to help explain its impact on political, economic and socio-cultural development at different levels. Although the history of globalisation is one of continual ebb and flow, the trajectory has been, nonetheless, a steady move towards greater interconnectedness and interdependence. It is difficult to predict what long-term effects the Great Recession (2008-10) and the current upswing of isolationist sentiments will have on international higher education in the coming years. Regardless, it is more important now than ever that students learn how to develop as global citizens. Given the uncertainty around globalisation’s impact on higher education, educational institutions are looking...

Reaching hard to reach students through student learning communities

Reaching hard to reach students through student learning communities Patrick Blessinger St John’s University, New York City Introduction A student learning community (SLC) is a curricular-based program and learning-centered social network that moves learning beyond the confines of the classroom. In a SLC, a cohort of students is enrolled in a common set of courses which they take together as a group. Most SLCs are tailored for first-year college students but SLCs may be created for any grade level. SLC courses are integrated and linked in some meaningful way in order to give students a common curricular experience and allow them to make more effective curricular connections across those courses. A core purpose of SLCs is to make learning more personally meaningful by addressing not just the intellectual needs of students but also their emotional and social needs. As such, the core aims of SLCs may provide an effective mechanism...

Redirecting 21st century student success

Redirecting 21st century student success Elena Garcia Ansani College Access, Equity, Student Success Consultant   A recent Pew Research Center report indicated high school drop-out rates for Hispanic/Latino students in the U.S. were at a record low of 12% (Krogstad, 2016). It also indicated 34% of Hispanics/Latinos between the ages of 18 to 24 are enrolled in higher education institutions. This increased enrollment rate set a new precedent for Hispanics/Latinos seeking degree attainment in America. Nationwide, college completion rates for Hispanics/Latinos are reported to be at 15%. Complete College America determined college completion rates for Latinos in Illinois, which boasts the fifth largest Latino growing population in the U.S., to be 7% for Latinos in comparison to 74% for white students. These gaps have been persistent for decades. They are societal dilemmas that have become challenges for social entrepreneurs from public and private sectors who are working effectively to develop 21st...

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