A little less conversation


It’s an emotionally charged word in higher education, if not a dirty one.  And it’s been the war cry here at TargetX since day one.

When I joined the company back in 2005, I was quickly immersed into a culture of higher ed professionals trumpeting the need for industry change.  Defects from a world of cushy benefits and questionable accountability, they struck out on their own to become a voice of change in an industry sliding desperately into denial.

Together the team here wrote blog posts and email newsletters outlining how colleges needed to engage a new generation and operate more efficiently.   We spent years speaking at conferences about the impending shifts in technology, generations, demographics and more.  We even created our own events to educate our peers about the “perfect storm” of challenges we saw barreling straight for us.

Fast forward now to 2012.  It’s been seven years since I started here.  And we’re still talking about the same stuff.

This week, presidents and provosts from liberal arts schools across the country gathered on campus at Lafayette College to discuss the issues at hand.

Daniel H. Weiss, president of Lafayette, gave what Eric Hoover at The Chronicle called “a sobering talk about the challenges facing institutions.”  I won’t tell the whole story — trust me, Eric does a much better job of that — but I will point out that, yet again, we seem to be talking about the same old stuff.

Higher ed’s woes ring like a familiar chorus to me now: affordability, skepticism about the value of a college degree, changing demographics, and of course, how to deal with a generation that interacts with technology like the air that they breathe (plus how to deal with their parents).  Sounds exactly like what we’ve been speaking, writing, sharing, posting, tweeting, tagging, and generally yammering on about for the better part of a decade.

Make no mistake, this is not meant to say “I told you so” or point to TargetX as the only soothsayers in our midst.  After all, talking about these problems is an important first step towards fixing them.  Just seems to me that higher ed could use a little less conversation, a little more action.

I’m currently in the midst of planning TargetX’s Xpert Summit conference, our annual gathering of clients, friends, subscribers and some of the most innovative, thought-provoking industry minds around.

I hope you’ll consider joining us in Las Vegas for this unique event.  And yes, you can bet we’ll still be talking about the same old stuff.

Read Eric Hoover’s “A President Surveys the Future of Liberal-Arts Colleges

View the complete schedule and register for TargetX’s Xpert Summit conference in Las Vegas, July 9-10.

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