In the future will American colleges need to educate more students, make greater use of technology, or come up with new funding strategies? All of the above? According to an article by Joyce Jones in Diverse Issues in Higher Education, it looks like all issues are up for consideration:

Speaking at a forum titled “Reinventing the American University,” sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI)… last week, [the University of Southern California’s] Dominic Brewer said those challenges include demographic shifts, a changing economy, and a declining public funding base.

Population growth, he explained, will lead to restrictions on the number of people attending college if schools cannot accommodate them. In addition, the demographic groups that will show the greatest growth are those that have traditionally been underserved by post-secondary institutions, thus posing a challenge to institutions to expand access.

Colleges aren’t really prepared to become the radically different institutions the United States apparently needs. Other forum attendees discussed funding, online delivery, the increasing use of adjunct faculty, and the trouble with school accreditation.

This is all very entertaining, the conference on the future of higher education. But if you’ve got a good idea, Traditional U, just implement it. No one ever solved a problem through conferences.

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Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer