Welcome To Our First Issue
by James L. Morrison

[Note: This is a re-formatted manuscript that was originally published in On the Horizon, 1992, Summer, 1-2. It is posted here with permission from Jossey Bass Publishers.]

We live in turbulent times. During the startling developments in the former Soviet Union last year, David Brinkley stated that "each day seems to bring the dawn of a new era." Certainly the fall of the Berlin wall, the unification of Germany, the breakup of the Warsaw Pact, and the breakup of the Soviet Union, have transformed our world.

On the horizon is the possibility that the European Community may include Eastern Europe in the largest free trade zone the world has yet seen. In response, other free trade zones are in the making (e.g., the North American Free Trade Treaty between Canada, the United States and Mexico; Australia and New Zealand, and several South American countries). Are these signals of another momentous event--international free trade with concomitant dislocations of workforces and industries? If so, what are the implications for continuing education and for the globalization of the curriculum?

On the Horizon alerts members of the higher education community to driving forces and potential developments in the macroenvironment that constitute threats or opportunities to colleges and universities. We intend to live up to our title, On the Horizon, and even to our ever-so-faint subtitle on the masthead, Beyond the Horizon. To do so, we have asked a number of individuals to serve as consulting and contributing editors--some prominent in higher education, others prominent within the futures field. From time to time they will contribute pieces on developments they see on (or perhaps beyond) the horizon that could affect your work and future in higher education. They will also speculate on the implications these developments have for colleges and universities. You may not always agree with what they say, but we hope you will agree that the material stimulates your thinking.

In this preview edition we categorize our news into social, technological, economic, environmental, and political (STEEP) sectors, and seek to include developments in these areas at the local and global arenas. In subsequent editions we will add four other sections. One, Issues, is an ongoing Delphi process focusing on issues facing higher education. Each edition will relate your views of these issues, their importance, where they are headed, and their implications for colleges and universities. Another, Tools, is a look at both new and proven planning tools from inside and outside the educational establishment. These tools will include software, new data acquisition technologies, standardized instruments, and planning techniques, such as group process and conference management innovations. Another, Using Scanning Information, will illustrate how some colleges and universities use scanning information in academic or institutional planning. And finally, Letters to the Editor, a section in which you may respond directly to items and their implications in case you disagree with our assessments or wish to add to them.

You are invited to participate in all sections of this newsletter. In fact, the sections on Issues, Letters, and Using Scanning Information depend upon your input. We welcome items that serve as signals of change in any of the STEEP sectors. Please also provide a statement of the implications of these signals for higher education. If we use your contribution, we will give you credit for its submission. This has to be one of the easiest ways to get your name in print that we know!

We hope that you enjoy this issue and those to come.

All material within the HORIZON site, unless otherwise noted, may be distributed freely for educational purposes. If you do redistribute any of this material, it must retain this copyright notice and you must use appropriate citation including the URL. Also, we would appreciate your sending James L. Morrison a note as to how you are using it. HTML and design by Noel Fiser, ©2006. Page last modified: 7/3/2003 9:24:44 PM. 8713 visitors since February 2000.