5 higher education innovators weigh in on how to build a more equitable future

For the higher education industry, going back to the pre-pandemic “normal” may feel comfortable, but learners are unlikely to allow a complete regression to what higher education was before the onset of Covid-19. Rather than reinstating legacy teaching methodology and policies that have proven exclusionary and inequitable, we need to take this opportunity and all that we have learned from the past year of online learning to innovate. At WCET’s May 2021 Summit, Guild’s Lisa McIntyre-Hite and a panel of experts in the future of education and equity shared tangible strategies that educators can begin to implement today to build a better future for all. 

Here are key takeaways from each panelist that you can add to your to-do list for the remainder of 2021.

1. Create content that can be manipulated and customized for every type of learner. Teach to the whole human.

Dr. Robbie Melton, Associate Vice President, SMART Global Technology Innovation Center and Dean, Graduate School, Tennessee State University

2. Commit resources to help instructors innovate and adapt their instructional approaches. If done thoughtfully rather than relying on technology as a one-size fits all solution, we can create high quality, learning experiences  that are  engaging, effective and accessible.

Bryan Alexander, Futurist and Consultant, The Future of Education Observatory

3. Focus on doing what is right for students and get rid of everything else. Identify the programs and policies that you didn’t need this year, cut them and reinvest in what will better serve the learners.

John Opper, Executive Director, Distance Learning and Student Services, Florida Virtual Campus

4. Focus on the holistic needs of students – and be focused and intentional on supporting these holistic needs. Remove the barriers that currently exist in front of our students – they have overcome so much to be here.  We must remove these barriers and frictions in the student experience if we’re going to make true our aspirations to increase equitable success in postsecondary education.

– Rahim Rajan, Deputy Director, Postsecondary Success, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

5. Provide learners the skills they need today while simultaneously helping them plan for multiple futures. Higher education cannot meet the demand for access and equity if it is either/or, it needs to be a both/and solution for learners.

Lisa McIntyre-Hite, PhD, Senior Principal, Learning Solutions, Guild Education

For more, check out the event recording here.

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