The most important stakeholders of the campus of the future will be the students of the future. To understand who these people will be, we must know two things: who are the students of today, and what — if any — are the changes occurring in their demographics?
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Research shows that the pathway from high school to college for a student of today is more complicated than it was a generation ago. The stereotypical view of a new college student – young, fresh out of high school, and focused on obtaining a four-year degree – is no longer the only reality of students today. In fact, only 70% of high school graduates immediately attend college, and of those who do go to a four-year college, 40% will not receive a bachelor’s degree within six years of initial enrollment, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Students of today are also more diverse, with increases in the populations of LGBTQ+, older adults, ethnic groups, and first-generation students, to name a few. How can the university campus enhance the experiences of these growing populations?
Economic and Technology Shifts
Students of today are also dealing with major implications around the hike in tuitions rates, and the associated debt that comes from student loans. They are more apt to expect a tangible return on investment and proof that their investment in a four-year degree will set them up for success. Providing a reputable education is the primary mission of universities, and many are exploring new educational models, new areas of study, new ways of learning, and new tools to continue to provide quality education.
There are also changing expectations around connectivity, innovation, and access to new technologies that contribute greatly the experiences students have on campus. Evolving technologies, such as 5G, IoT initiatives, BIM, Analytics, Augmented Reality, Robotics, and more are examples of technologies that are changing how students – as well as faculty, staff, and the surrounding community – can interact with the campus.
Stakeholders of a Campus of the Future
So, how does a university move toward ensuring they can continue to provide innovative and quality experiences for students? Many universities are taking a step back and evaluating who their stakeholders are and are expanding their view to the surrounding communities. These emerging stakeholders can include people, companies, and governments who are engaged with students, graduates, faculty, and staff during and after their campus experiences. For example, future employers have a direct interest in the education of their prospective employees. Many universities are also looking into Public-Private Partnerships (P3) to partner with the public and private sectors for funding for new facilities and initiatives on campus that are mutually beneficial.
Here are some major stakeholders and growing constituencies around the Campus of the Future:
One thing is certain. Students expect that the universities they attend will provide them with networking opportunities and pathways to collaboration with other students, universities, local communities, and employers. There are numerous opportunities for universities to make new connections and partnerships enhance the experiences and educations they provide.
If you would like to read more about the campus of the future, you can access an extensive report around this topic that was recently conducted by Planon with a group of distinguished higher education professionals.