Few would argue that higher education is at an inflection point. We hear repeatedly about the industry’s failed business models, skepticism with regard to its value, and the emergence of a multi-tiered system which reproduces and exacerbates inequality. We have witnessed incremental gains to be sure. The college completion movement – once a minority interest – is now in full swing. It is logging a gradual uptick in degree completions (though not equitably distributed across all student populations), showing increasing concern with what happens to students after they graduate, illuminating progress of a small number (sadly, too small) of “positive deviants” who are vastly outpacing the performance gains showing up across the industry. Given the extent and immediacy of our national need for a better educated workforce and for sturdier more reliable pathways into the middle class, we need to ask ourselves whether and how we can hypercharge and accelerate the changes we are seeing in the industry. To this end, the panel provides an opportunity to learn from four innovators who, with a sense of urgency, are implementing or thinking about wholly new approaches to higher education approaches that are transformational, scale-able, and developed in the national interest.
Moderator: Dan Greenstein, Senior Strategy Advisor; Education, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
John Katzman, CEO, The Noodle Companies
Nivine Megahed, President, National Louis University
Michael Sorrell, President, Paul Quinn College
Paul Vallas, CAO, Chicago State University, former CEO of Chicago Public Schools