Edited by David W. Breneman and Paul J. Yakoboski
Chapter 5: Higher Education’s Mandate: Planning for a New Generation
Eduardo J. Padrón THE CONTEXT FOR PLANNING One decade into the twenty first century, higher education is facing an abundance of challenges. Many concern our own house but more profoundly, the tremors in the greater society continue to shake that house, right to the foundations in many cases. Planning, particularly long-range planning, and our decision-making have become increasingly difficult given the deep changes that continue to occur on so many fronts. With the economy impinging on every element of society today, the notion of organizational effectiveness looms large for higher education. While the federal government has opened its coffers to assist all levels of education, rigorous performance standards to justify the expense are common practice, as well they should be. And states across the nation, while struggling to adequately support the various tiers of education, have nonetheless demanded an increasing level of accountability. But before we make across the board cuts, delete entire programs or initiate any other major cost saving plans, the context for decision-making and planning needs to be reconsidered. We sit at the helm of missiondriven institutions, dedicated to student learning, research for the good of society, a ready workforce and strong communities. Revenue and expense may constantly occupy our minds but nevertheless, our eyes must scan the horizon. Never before have we been confronted with the promise, or rather the certainty, of such volatile change that is sure to challenge our understanding and affect the learning environment. Who enters and who does not enter that...
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