Innovation Imperative Series

Northeastern's thought leadership series on the future of higher education and its relationship to the global economy.

Previous Surveys and Event Highlights

Innovation Imperative: Enhancing the Talent Pipeline

April 29, 2014
Boston, MA

2013 Innovation Survey Infographic

At a time of great debate over the value of college degree, a new national survey reveals a concern among U.S. business leaders about the pipeline of talent produced by American colleges and universities. While most executives express support for the American system of higher education, they also believe the U.S. is falling behind global competitors and inadequately preparing graduates to succeed in the modern workforce.

The new survey, the third in a series by Northeastern University, presents the views of C-suite executives, with particular focus on global competitiveness, the employee skills gap, employer workforce investments, andopportunities for policy reform.

Announcement of the findings

Full survey results

Summary of key survey findings

Presentation of the findings

Video of the event


Innovation Imperative: Enhancing Higher Education Outcomes

September 17, 2013
National Press Club
Washington, DC

2013 Innovation Survey Infographic

Northeastern released the findings of its second national opinion survey on critical issues facing higher education. The 2013 survey asked the Amer­ican public and hiring decision-​​makers on where they believe inno­va­tion in higher edu­ca­tion is headed and what it will take to better pre­pare grad­u­ates for a global work­force. Among the findings, nearly two-​​thirds of Amer­i­cans and almost three-​​quarters of hiring decision-​​makers believe that being well-​​rounded with a range of knowl­edge is more impor­tant than pos­sessing industry-​​specific skills.

The release of the findings was the centerpiece of discussion among higher education thought-leaders, industry leaders and policy makers, titled Innovation Imperative: Enhancing Higher Education Outcomes. Panelists included James Kvaal, deputy director for domestic policy at the White House; Mitchell Daniels, pres­i­dent of Purdue Uni­ver­sity and former gov­ernor of Indiana; Jeff Wilcox, cor­po­rate vice pres­i­dent for engi­neering at Lock­heed Martin Cor­po­ra­tion and Deb­orah L. Wince-​​​​Smith, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Council on Competitiveness. The dis­cus­sion was mod­er­ated by Catherine Ram­pell, eco­nomics reporter of The New York Times.

Announcement of the findings

Full survey results

Summary of key survey findings

Presentation of the findings

Event at the National Press Club (Story)

Event at the National Press Club (Full video)

Innovation Imperative: The Future of Higher Education

November 27, 2012
Brookings Institution
Washington, DC

Innovation Survey Infographic 2012

Northeastern launched a series of national opinion surveys on critical issues facing higher education. The inaugural survey found that although a majority of Americans - particularly those under 30 - believes higher education remains critical to the nation’s competitiveness and the best way for individuals to achieve the American Dream, 83 percent say that higher education must innovate for the U.S. to maintain its global leadership.

The release of the findings coincided with a discussion among thought-leaders from industry, academia and government, including Prateek Tandon, an economist at the World Bank; Daphne Koller, co-​​founder of Coursera; U.S. Congressman George Miller, senior Democratic member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee; John Sexton, president of New York University; Michael Horn, co-​​founder of Innosight Institute and Molly Broad, president of the American Council on Education. The discussion was moderated by David Leonhardt, the Washington bureau chief of The New York Times.

Announcement of the findings

Full survey results

Summary of key survey findings

Presentation of the findings

Event at the Brookings Institution (Story)

Event at the Brookings Institution (Video of highlights)

Event at the Brookings Institution (Full video)

“These findings are a wake-​​up call for those of us in higher education to renew the social compact we have always had with Americans by innovating across multiple dimensions,” said Northeastern University President, Joseph E. Aoun.

In the press

Commending Northeastern University for its Second Annual Higher Education Innovation Public Survey Congressional Record 10.11.13

More Americans feel graduates unprepared after college CNN Money 9.19.13

Is an Education in the Liberal Arts Important? Huffington Post 9.19.13

Employers and Public Favor Graduates Who Can Communicate, Survey Finds Chronicle of Higher Education 9.18.13

Broad Education vs. Industry-Specific Skills Inside Higher Ed 9.18.13

Survey: Colleges aren't preparing graduates for jobsHechinger Report 9.17.13

Northeastern Survey: Colleges Not Prepping Students For Workforce WGBH 09.17.13

Are You Experienced? Employers Hope So Wall Street Journal 9.17.13

Infographic: To Get A Degree Or Not To Get A Degree? Here Is An Answer Wired Academic 1.31.13

How Americans Think About College Washington Monthly 12.3.13

Northeastern University Study Tells Us What We Already Know Boston Magazine 11.30.2012

Survey Shows Younger Americans More Accepting of Online Education U.S. News 11.29.12

Northeastern University survey finds only 4 in 10 Americans feel college is a good value 11.27.12

Americans Are Proud of U.S. Colleges but Not of Their Direction The Chronicle of Higher Education 11.27.12

Survey: U.S. higher education must change to remain globally competitive The Hechinger Report 11.27.12

Future of conservatism, global inequality, Russian awakening and more [Daybook] Washington Post 11.27.12