It’s Time to Wake the F*** Up
A Personal Plea to Higher Education
It’s simply time to take our collective heads out of the proverbial sand. Higher education is not what it used to be, and those who think it is are in for a rude awakening much too soon. I’m writing this as I prepare to speak (in about 2 hours) with the CIO and AVP of student affairs at Metropolitan State University of Denver; an institution I’ve been involved with for well over a decade. It took a few months, but I finally secured a 1-on-1 with a leader I truly respect; something I knew was necessary given my ever-devolving state of mental unease.
I work as a Senior Instructional Designer for the Education Technology Center; a unit within the university responsible for classroom support, course administration, course design, and project management for a variety of ad hoc needs and initiatives. Over the past year, as I’ve become more familiar with the institutional perception of our collective work, it has become painfully obvious that the institution (at the broadest level) is (and historically has been) ignorant of the impending shift towards online and alternative education. What was once a premonition, is now a full fledged conclusion about where we’re inevitably headed.
The romantic “tradition” of education has been deeply engrained in those with the greatest influence and political power. Somehow, the supply and demand reality of our current landscape still eludes even the most rational and well-intentioned minds. The writing on the wall, which is as legible as it has ever been, still seems to be perpetually ignored by the only leaders who really need to read it.
I view this meeting as a moment of truth (in the most authentic use of the phrase). What are our leaders willing to admit to? How much of our habituated ego are we willing to part ways with? My intention is not to simply rub elbows with high-status or initiate an illusion of interest. I intend to ask difficult questions, unmask inescapable truths, and dig deeply into my own future. I have no interest in withering away on a vine when I can see the shadows being cast on nearby gardens. For those working in higher education, it’s time to push the bullshit aside and work towards a future we all know is coming.