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Future Reference

July/August 2016

By Preeti Vasishtha

Notes to guide higher education leaders in preparing their institutions for impending change and advancement.


As present-day trends continue to unfold and throw challenges to the narrative of colleges and universities, what steps can higher education leaders take to ensure that their institutions evolve and innovate to move forward?

NACUBO’s just-released 2016 National Profile of Higher Education Business Officers reinforces the fact that churn in top leadership continues, with 44 percent of current CBOs indicating that their next professional step is retirement. Yet, 37 percent of CBOs report that no succession plan is in place for their positions. Further, 49 percent believe that there is only an informal succession plan in place at their institutions. The article, “Who’s Up Next?” starting on page 90 looks at what this trend means for the future of institutions.

And as the current debate continues to rage over the value and utility of higher education in an era defined by resource scarcity, young—and not-so-young—alumni, fortunately, find tremendous value in their college degrees. “Individual Impact” beginning on page 97 shows how the best measure of the value of higher education may be through the perspectives of student experience.

Lastly, on page 105, is a collection of three essays, “The Next Chapter,” in which a university president, a former president, and a futurist, put their minds to speculating about what’s next in higher education. Reflecting on the current challenges, they present ideas on how institutions can ensure their future relevance and economic sustainability.

PREETI VASISHTHA is deputy editor of Business Officer.

Credit: Iowa State University/Christopher Gannon