While contemplating this month’s Focus theme, much of last month’s content is still lingering. As we noted last month, no question these are trying times that so often diminish positive thinking for so many. The lingering uncertainty about the future of higher ed that is often skewed by a variety of political perspectives, the continuing delay of the “new” FAFSA, the decline in the number of high school graduates, and numerous fiscal challenges all impact people’s desire to stay positive about the future of higher education and its inherent value. But now is the time to engage in self-reflection, put things in perspective, and stay positive about today and the future.
Ironically, AGB’s new executive vice president Mary Papazian opened her article called “Rethinking Our Needs for a New Era” in AGB’s Trusteeship magazine with a quote from novelist Charles Dickens: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.” And as she then noted, “I am sure these words resonate for many of us in higher education today.”
This is the new reality for most colleges and universities, and definitely a catalyst to be more edupreneurial for the future. As Papazian observed in her article, “Yet challenging times also can—indeed must—become moments for innovation and a renewed commitment to mission, particularly around student success, even if some of our practices might require fundamental redesign.”
As we have always noted, it does take a village to come together to accomplish success. People support what they help create, and if each institution commits to involving students, faculty, staff, cabinet, board members, alumni, partners, and friends, then viable solutions that are innovative and relevant today will further enhance the authentic value of a college degree. So as we approach the holiday season, stay positive, embrace innovation, and best wishes for an edupreneurial 2024 that will solidify your institution’s legacy.