The Education Revolution Is Here Right Now — Don’t Miss It

Career College Central Summary:

  • In this second interview Henry Doss and Rick Beyers discuss innovation challenges and opportunities that are common to both private enterprise and institutions of higher education.  
  • Rick is uniquely qualified to speak to these challenges:  In addition to his current role as an investment professional, he also happens to be a former college President and a former technology CEO.  His current research is in the areas of “unbundling” the college degree, the high cost (price) of education, and the role of education — especially the humanities and liberal arts — in vocational staying power.  
  • Following are some highlights of that conversation.

    • Henry Doss: Over your career, you have worked in three large verticals, all of which experienced significant change.   The similarities might be instructive, so talk to me about common challenges you see between higher education, transportation and telecommunication.
    • Rick Beyer: Well, it’s interesting and I think instructive to look at the macro challenges that all of those have in common.   In all three, highly disruptive innovations emerged which changed these sectors in very dramatic ways, over very short time frames.   Many organizations found it difficult to respond, and found it difficult to implement change;  I think that usually this was driven by cultural factors.  Resistance to change came primarily from those organizations who thought they had the most to lose. But over time disruptive innovations coupled with changing consumer behavior actually shaped the future of these industries.  And that happened whether the organizations were willing participants in the change or not.   The disruption came from new market entrants, and rarely from within organizations.  This is definitely the consistent theme.  New entrants could see more possibilities, and generally did not have the inertia of an existing economic model, or a rigid organizational culture, or major downside risks.  And when I say that, I can’t help but think of the parallels to our existing system of higher education.
    • Doss: So, given these parallels you see, and the inevitability of disruptive change, what do you see happening with educational institutions, and what changes should they expect in the future?
    • Beyer:     Consumers of education are changing their purchasing habits.   As we noted earlier, this is due to a combination of cost, and a growing concern about student’s and family’s return on investment, specifically related to skill sets, jobs, and debt.  There is an imbalance between what a “college education” is sold as, and what it actually does — it’s a disconnect in the “college story,” if you will.  That conflict or imbalance in the education value proposition, is tricky, so let’s try it this way:  If non-profit colleges, who make up more than 80% of the market, want their value proposition to be sustainable, then by necessity, they are going to have to place an ever-increasing emphasis on both delivering and measuring their institution’s effectiveness in job placement.

Click through to read the full interview.


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