The keynote speaker at the Ottawa con­fer­ence was Joseph Aoun, pres­i­dent of North­eastern Uni­ver­sity. The change he focused on – per­haps the most rad­ical of all – is the shift away from the tra­di­tional, full-​​time, campus-​​based model of education.

In a country iden­ti­fied by big-​​name pri­vate and state schools, Aoun said only 15 per cent of Amer­ican under­grad­uate stu­dents today get their edu­ca­tion from that exclu­sive, extremely expen­sive model asso­ci­ated with col­le­giate sports and Norman Rock­well images of res­i­den­tial campuses.

The vast majority are now part-​​timers, older stu­dents, working adults seeking to upgrade their edu­ca­tion and indi­vid­uals whose loca­tion and cir­cum­stances make dis­tance edu­ca­tion their only option, said Aoun, whose uni­ver­sity spe­cial­izes in such learners, and in pro­viding work expe­ri­ence – often over­seas – as part of the package.

He calls this trans­for­ma­tion “the rise of the rest,” and said the needs and expec­ta­tions of this non-​​traditional cohort do not fit with a model that never par­tic­u­larly wor­ried about how things turned out for grad­u­ates in later life.

Read the article at Edmonton Journal →