Former chancellor Reed says universities must evolve
From the News Service of Florida:
Former university system Chancellor Charles B. Reed said the university of the future will be completely different - with a new way of delivering information, a new type of student and new requirements for teachers in world where information is readily accessible, but must be translated into learning.
In a speech to the Economic Club of Florida on Friday Reed said technology will completely alter higher education and that nearly all colleges and universities would be forced to adapt.
"For university leaders, presidents and chancellors, 'steady as she goes' is doomed to fail," Reed said. "Knowledge is ubiquitous now. You can go online and get any amount of knowledge you want…It's the faculty members who bring life to that knowledge is what the competition is going to be."
"There's a transformation going on," said Reed, who retired last year after 14 years as chancellor of the California State University system, where he went after leaving Florida. "These students that are coming to these institutions have a completely different expectation of how they're going to be educated."
He compared the change to the revolution in the newspaper business with the advent of the Internet. He predicted online courses will provide greater access for students and greater capacity for institutions of higher learning.
Reed also said the now global economy demands a new kind of student: those able to learn and re-learn throughout their careers, use and fix technology, work together in teams, speak more than one language and start work the day after they graduate.
"[Employers] want employees who can invent other jobs," he said.
Reed is known to Floridians as chancellor of the state university system from 1986 to 1998 and chief of staff to then-Gov. Bob Graham in 1984-85. He earned praise in California for steering the state universities through the economic downturn despite rising enrollment.
He cited a recently released Milken Institute study that found adding one year of college to the average education of a workforce would cause a region's GDP per capita to rise by 17.4 percent.
"The race in the world is who has the best human capital," he said.
Reed also said financial aid should be strictly need-based and slammed Florida's merit-based Bright Futures scholarships as "just morally wrong" for giving money to students who don't need it.
"The big beneficiaries of Bright Futures are the car dealers, because if you go around these campuses, you see the exotic cars parked all around," he said.
He predicted the Florida Legislature would continue shrinking the program, "as they should."
Reed said the best states for higher education – he cited North Carolina, Wisconsin and Texas as well as California – are those whose public universities are part of a centralized whole.
"Those states that have the best systems are governed by a board that has a plan and that they look out for what is best for the whole state," he said. "Now, I'll get slammed for saying that. But I believe it, I have lived it, and I have watched the other states and what they have been able to accomplish."
He praised Florida's legislative leaders, however, for their current efforts to "re-invest" in higher education with a substantial budget increase.
"The single best thing a state can do is provide access to higher education and to keep the pressure on these institutions from an accountability standpoint to have these students graduate," he said.
During Reed's tenure in California, he was known for his strong outreach to K-12 and incoming college students. He led the creation of a program to provide early warning on students' readiness for college, using testing in the 11th grade to give students a chance to correct weaknesses during their senior year.
"Making it up in the 12th grade is a lot easier than making it up on a college campus," Reed said.
The Commission on the Future of Higher Education cited California's Early Assessment Program as "one of the best national models of how higher-education and K–12 officials can collaborate to help students."