Sweeping changes taking place in late 20th and early 21st century American society have caused the public, policy makers, college and university governing boards, and educators to think anew about the nature and role of higher education. Perhaps the most profound of these changes, in terms of their impact on higher education, are the advent of the worldwide web,
and the demand of the workplace for continuous professional re-training and lifelong learning. As you can see in our new strategic plan, available at www.antiochne.edu/president, Antioch University New England is responding to these trends as it charts a roadmap for its growth and development over the next five years.
We are now in the era of the mobile worker, for whom loyalty to a particular company, or indeed even a particular industry, is no longer part of the employment equation. Employers, of course, reciprocate and today have employment practices that do not reward loyal, long-term
employees. This trend is further accentuated by the rapid advance of knowledge in most
professions. The “shelf-life” of a degree in electrical engineering, for example, is said to be less than three years before substantial re-training is needed. Today’s twenty-year-old will have seven or eight different jobs and, in fact, two or three entirely different careers, during his or her adult working life.
These trends are driven by the power of the Internet to connect everyone to everything instantaneously. Over the course of human history, there have been three previous revolutionary changes in the “information technology” used for teaching and learning: the advent of speech; writing; and the printing press and portable book. Each information technology revolution created massive changes in the way human society passes knowledge from one generation to the next. In fact, writing and then the portable book led directly to the creation of what we today call higher education. The fourth information technology revolution, the Internet, is already having effects on higher education that are as powerful as the previous three, even though the
first generation to grow-up with the World Wide Web always in their lives is only 14 years old today.
Antioch University New England has been staying abreast of these changes with several new programs that deploy online learning in a low residency format. We have also recently implemented an online library document delivery service, across all of Antioch University. We will soon deploy Sakai, a state-of-the-art, open source online learning management system to facilitate faculty and student engagement anytime and anywhere. In our new strategic plan, we commit to developing more online, distance learning degree, and certificate programs. Our goal is to offer AUNE’s unique and powerful graduate programs to those from around the country, and the world, who could never relocate to Keene.
It has been said that the best way to predict the future is to invent it. AUNE’s strategic
direction over the next five years is designed to do just that. We will lean proactively into
the future, rather than let the future happen to us, and in doing so, enhance and broaden
the impact of our core mission of addressing pressing societal needs. I know that our current
faculty, staff, and students are excited about AUNE’s future. We invite and encourage all of
our alumni and friends to join us with your support in any way you can. Together we will
achieve amazing things.