Kevin Kruger, the president of NASPA, shared his thoughts this week on the road ahead for the student affairs profession in 2016. The list of thoughts and predictions is a necessary read for anyone who works in higher education.
Higher education in 2015 has set the stage for an intense 2016. Here is Kruger's list with my thoughts on each issue:
- State Action regarding sexual assault will increase. This is a good thing. Campuses can no longer be hunting grounds.
- State action regarding guns on campus will also increase. Having more guns on campus will never make for safer environments.
- Gun violence on college campuses will continue to be a frightening reality. I hope that this won't be true, but the sad reality is that gun violence is tightly woven into the cultural fabric of the U.S.
- Sexual assault, gender-based violence, and the ways in which colleges and universities manage this complex issue will continue to be a top issue for student affairs and higher education. Partnerships and collaborative efforts between campus law enforcement departments and student affairs have never been more necessary.
- #BlackLivesMatter will continue to move from a national protest to a local protest on many campuses across the country. This is a good thing. #BlackLivesMatter is a necessary movement.
- Activism around social justice, broadly defined, will continue to increase. Remember when a football team used their status as moneymakers for a university to amplify a social justice effort? I look forward to more of those types of efforts. That was powerful stuff.
- Greek Life will continue to be a key focus area for many four-year institutions. Do the benefits of Greek Life really counter all of the negative aspects of fraternity and sorority life?
- The use of predictive analytics and “big data” will increase in student affairs. It's always a good thing when student affairs gets a bit more tech savvy. We need to be tactical, strategic, and proactive with the technologies of 2016 and beyond.
- Documenting learning and employer-prized competencies in extended transcript/records will be a major priority for 2016. Portfolios that showcase learning, literacy, and skills are extremely valuable...just make sure that a student can take their work out of a walled garden...or better yet, build up a collection of artifacts/synthesis via WordPress.com and showcase a record of lifelong learning.
- Closing the achievement gap for low-income and first-generation students will continue to be a critical priority. It's time for education for all. Political candidates who offer up free tuition for all as a solution to combat educational inequality might be seen as being too radical right now, but I guarantee that someday their efforts will be seen as lighting the path to a better world.
What would you add to this list of predictions/thoughts for higher education in 2016.
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