The Chronicle of Higher Education article, “The View From the Top, What Presidents Think About Financial Sustainability, Student Outcomes, and the Future of Higher Education”, gives a great snapshot of the perceptions and concerns of 400 public and private college Presidents.
Among their beliefs:
- Roughly one-half of all college courses will be delivered online by 2019
- 50% of recent graduates are underemployed
- Three-quarters of college leaders believe career prep is the job of the university
- Presidents agree the #1 criteria for school ratings should be completion
An extensive survey of college and university presidents, conducted by The Chronicle of Higher Education in January 2015, EXECUTIVE SUMMARY found that two-thirds of them feel that American higher education is going in the wrong direction, with public college leaders worried about the decline of state financial support and leaders of private institutions most concerned with the intense competition for students.
Traditional colleges, particularly the many that are in the middle of the pack but charge high prices, will lose out to nimbler, cheaper competitors offering degrees on flexible timelines, either in hybrid format (in-person and online) or fully online.
private institutions see new graduate programs as potentially lucrative while public universities view online programs as a source for new cash.
Presidents remain optimistic about the value of a college degree, much more than employers do. A majority of college presidents believe the four- year bachelor’s degree is worth more in today’s job market than it was five years ago (see Figure 9). Meanwhile, surveys of employers by The Chronicle and other organizations in recent years have consistently found those who hire college graduates more neutral on the value of a degree. In a Chronicle survey of employers, for instance, 39 percent said a bachelor’s degree was worth the same as five years ago, and 26 percent said it was worth less.
College leaders and employers often don’t see eye-to-eye on what today’s graduates most need to succeed in the workplace. While companies seek recent college graduates with real-world experience, presidents continue to emphasize the value of academics over experience among their graduates. Indeed, compared to a similar survey of presidents conducted by The Chronicle in 2013, campus executives are even more in favor now of emphasizing academics over real-world experience (see Figure 10).
When it comes to getting students ready for the job market, presidents are not always in agreement with employers and parents on what role the institution should play in the process. A majority of college leaders believe it’s their job to offer experiential learning, such as internships, as part of the curriculum as well as offer career preparation in programs and offices across the campus, both in formal and informal settings. But presidents are more divided about whether colleges should provide a broad education or specific training, and one- third of them don’t want to be held accountable for the career outcomes of their students (see Figure 11).