The Future of Higher Education: Tighten Your Belt

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On October 28th at the University of Utah, President Young will be talking about the future of higher education.  I'm not sure what he will talk about, but I thought I would mention what I found out looking at the current state of affairs in higher education (particularly with state funded schools).  Essentially, the future is to tighten your belt.  What does this mean?  This means that the current economic climate has put funding into a lockdown.  You have whole states that are looking at huge deficits across the country, and as such they need to start cutting funding somewhere to bring themselves into a less bright color of red (if not in the black).  Traditionally, in periods of economic stress, the first areas to go are education and parks.So educational facilities are generally asked to be more judicious in their spending.  Some schools are asked to cut as much as 15% from their overall budgets, which generally means that people are let go and departments are consolidated.  I lived through that at the Salt Lake Community College, where my department was essentially wiped out, and people were leaving (or asked to leave) in order to come under budget.  Outsourcing becomes the new standard for many services for which the school couldn't or wouldn't pay.Currently, from what I have heard through the grape vine, that will not be happening at the University of Utah.  But budgets will still need to be tightened, and costs slashed for all divisions.  Running lean and mean is something that needs to happen in order to better service the student and offer the right programs at the right time to the right people.  One way to save in the costs of doing business is to develop curriculum in house.  This means creating a class environment from scratch, including all the teaching materials.  I wouldn't do this with Certification courses, such as Linux, Mac, or CCNA (after all, they are specifically designed already, and high income classes), but all of our one-day classes could be redesigned.  So what is the benefit of curriculum development over purchasing external course materials?  One is your control of the course.  Students are given a guided list of skill sets that are most important for them to know and/or build upon to get to the next level.  It means utilizing the ADDIE process extensively.  I've blogged about this before, and now I'm going to be spending a lot of significant time focusing on these steps as I redesign some of my courses away from expensive books.  For those of you working in higher education, what have you seen as the future?  Do you see a lot of belt tightening, or are your programs well funded and see no decline?  How about those in private institutions vs. State institutions?  How many of you develop your own course materials in lieu of mainstream published materials?