Speak Your Mind: Challenges Facing Higher Education


“Speak Your Mind” is a PAR webpage feature that allows you to offer insights about big questions in public administration. The responses serve as a community forum for discussion of specific editorial contributions, and the format provides a platform for exchange of different ideas about how we think of public administration as a professional and scholarly enterprise.


Colleges and universities are critical social enterprises that have operated largely unchanged for centuries.  In recent years, however, the traditional models of higher education have struggled to respond to the demands of new consumer groups, rapidly evolving demands of existing stakeholders, and emerging technologies that fundamentally change historic assumptions about how, when, why and what people learn. Accordingly, higher education is undergoing widespread industrial transformation. While the challenges facing higher education may be new to this specific domain of social enterprise, they are generally familiar to public administration scholars and practitioners.

Accordingly, the latest issue of PAR includes a symposium that examines critical challenges in higher education from decidedly public administrative lenses. This is also the focus on ASPA’s upcoming event next week in Washington DC.

With the symposium and upcoming event in mind, we would appreciate your thoughts on how perspectives from public administration can help us better understand and shape a positive future for higher education.  For example, what can public administration perspectives tell us about the challenges of measuring performance in complex public organizations, designing new and innovative organizational models and the downfall of flawed models such as many for-profit colleges and universities? We hope to feature some of your comments in the panel discussions on October 4th.

Click on the links here to read the related PAR contributions of symposium participants: Michael Crow (here and here), H. George Frederickson (here), Geoff Cox (here), Robert Shireman (here), and Derrick Anderson (here and here).

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