By Nancy Salzman, Esq
Throughout this past year and looking forward to the next, Brandman University’s School of Extended Education has witnessed major disruptions and innovations in higher education. These changes have led to shifting expectations of our extended education staff, students and industry partners.
One of the more notable changes in 2013 has been an influx of veterans and active military personnel who are returning from Afghanistan and Iraq—and returning to school. We don’t expect this trend to slow down; rather, it may re-double as more troops are expected to return in 2014. Our team is now considering the best ways to meet the needs of this growing populace, without ignoring the needs or hindering the success of others.
The federal government has called for more accessibility, and to address this we have been moving in the direction of competency-based learning. We’re currently developing new delivery models, which allow students to move at their own pace while mastering concepts and learning new material. It’s an exciting time to be in higher education—at the forefront of developing new learning models that make higher education convenient for and accessible to a diverse and growing student population.
With the development of these new delivery methods and program areas, we’re identifying numerous new avenues for growth. As we move into the new year, we’re looking for creative ways to address the needs of the current labor market—solutions that can increase affordability and better match skill sets for those seeking to advance their careers or transition from one career path to another.
One of our top goals for 2014 is to focus on growing leadership skills internally in order to capitalize on individual strengths and better develop programs for the future. In higher education, it’s too late to look at creating the best programs for today; rather, it’s critical for us to think ahead to what makes the most sense for a future student, our stakeholders and industry partners. We have a unique opportunity to be more innovative in extended education to create fast-break executions that quickly and nimbly address the needs of tomorrow’s students.