We are very excited to have Brian Fleming, Executive Director of the Sandbox ColLABorative at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) as a moderator at our Summit on Closing the Global Skills Gap. (Disclosure: SNHU is also a Saylor Academy Credit Transfer Partner.) The Sandbox ColLABorative is an innovative space and consultancy where he and his colleagues help bring innovative higher education concepts and ideas to fruition at SNHU. Mr. Fleming is an expert strategist, consultant, and higher education administrator, among many other roles.
Jacqueline Arnold, Director of Strategic Relationships and Communications at Saylor Academy: How should higher education participate in global skills development? Are international development/sustainable development issues of importance to higher education administrators? Why or why not?
Brian Fleming: Higher education is a critical player in helping societies address skills gaps and in driving global competency development to meet our most pressing challenges. In my experience, these issues are very important to higher education administrators and there is already so much great work being done in advancing global learning. SNHU’s work with refugees in Rwanda is one example, but there are so many others. I am optimistic about the way online learning platforms have scaled globally and the myriad of other ways higher education is addressing these issues through digital learning.
JA: What, do you think, is the future of the degree, particularly as global economies need quick ways to upskill?
BF: I am not yet convinced degrees are going away anytime soon, nor do I think they should. They key is going to be innovation around the degree by way of improved outcomes and alignment with employment, cost reduction, and access, to name a few. That’s not to say there are not alternatives to degrees, because there are plenty. We should not see these as replacements but rather as additional opportunities to learn.
JA: How can higher education pivot to accommodate lifelong learning? What are the barriers students currently face to becoming lifelong learners?
BF: Higher education needs to consider the affordances to digital technology as a way to drive both academic and business model innovation. Barriers are largely due to a lack of adaptability and alignment with workforce, but even this is driven not so much by a lack of tools but rather a lack of appreciation on the part of many colleges and universities for the value of work in people’s lives and of the role education plays in helping individuals and communities flourish. To really get lifelong learning, higher education needs to do a better job of understanding all aspects of “life that demand “learning,” and adapt around that.
“To really get lifelong learning, higher education needs to do a better job of understanding all aspects of “life” that demand “learning,” and adapt around that.”Brain Fleming, Executive Director of Sandbox ColLABorative
The Saylor Academy Summit: Closing the Global Skills Gap taking place on November 14-15, 2019 in Washington, DC. Register today and join us!
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