Managing Issues on the Horizon
By James L. Morrison

Proceedings of the Fourth Global Change International Higher Education Strategic Management Seminar

Sponsored by
On the Horizon
H+E Associates
Saint Andrews University

28 July - 1 August 1994
New Hall, Saint Andrews University


This proceedings is organized in a series of appendices reflecting the results of the several exercises conducted in the seminar.

The first exercise was to identify the assumptions, the paradigms, upon which higher education in the developed world is based (see Chapter 7, Challenging Assumptions). For this exercise, participants formed into two groups. The product of this exercise for both groups is given in Appendix A.

The second exercise was to identify the issues that would challenge these assumptions as we move into the future (see Chapter 6, Establishing a STIS). Participants were divided into three groups and instructed to use the nominal group technique to develop their responses to the question. In essence, this small-group technique requires that the chair give group members several minutes to think about the question and to write their responses on a sheet of paper. Then, without discussion, in round robin fashion, the chair solicits each participant to nominate one response to the question in turn, which the flip chart recorder writes on a flip chart. Only after all nominations are recorded on the flip chart is there discussion for clarification, agreement, etc. The combined responses of all three groups are recorded in Appendix B.

The third exercise was the issues vulnerability audit (see Chapter 8, Issues Vulnerability Audit). For this and for succeeding exercises, participants formed three groups, one simulating the planning team of Ramapo College, one the College of Commerce, and one from Saint Andrews University planning for a possible branch campus at Motherwell. There was time only for one category of underpinnings: the strengths and vulnerabilities of the societal needs and wants served by each of the organizations. Appendices C and D contain the products of these exercises.

The next exercise was to prioritize the vulnerabilities and rewrite the most critical ones as event statements in order to estimate the probability of occurrence and impact. The product of this exercise is recorded in Appendix E. Event statements are simply written, containing only one idea (which follows the criteria for questionnaire items in survey research). They do not include causality (which would provide two ideas in the statement).

After a brief presentation on issues managment (see Chapter 2, The Field of Issues Managment), issues life-cycle (see Chapter 4, The Issues Life-Cycle), and the Anticipatory Issues Management (AIM) Model (see Chapter 5, The AIM Model), participants selected one of the most critical issues facing their organization and conducted a situational assessment (see Chapter 11, The 10 Step AIM Process, and Appendix A, A Guide to Analyzing Issues for Strategic Action), including writing an issue brief (see Chapter 9, Issue Briefs). The results of the situational assessments and the issue briefs are given in Appendix F.

Appendix A: Assumptions Underlying Higher Education

Group 1

    1. Colleges are "good" things.
    2. Higher education is for: society, social mobility, learning, getting a job, personal growth, meeting a mate, perpetuating a cultural system, keeping youth off the street, a quest for truth.
    3. Learning is: continuous, lifelong, logical, segmented, progressive, interactive, self-defeating, meaningful, international, important, inevitable, painful, expensive, fun, teacher-motivated, professor-evaluated, open to everyone, dangerous, challenging, useful, good in itself, regurgitating, receptive, remembered, liberating, fulfilling.
    4. There will always be conflict and jealousy, student residences, negotiations, grades, research, service, community involvement, and relationships with business, industry, and government.
    5. Knowledge is divided into disciplines.
    6. Sciences are of one lot; humanities are of another.
    7. The whole student is worth educating.
    8. Staff/faculty have the knowledge, as do libraries.
    9. There will always be departments.
    10. Academic freedom is valuable.
    11. There will always be alumni, books, parking disputes, examinations, student unions, food fights in the cafeteria, graduation, suicides, love affairs, social life, fund raising appeals, new sources of funding, whining, vice-chancellors, teaching (of inadequate quality), hierarchies.
    12. Universities will always be there as institutions, systems, buildings and campuses, professors and lecturers, students, a business, free-standing, government agencies, an accolade, a gateway, as a source of privilege, a source of opportunity, based on Socratic tradition.
    13. A degree will get you a job.
    14. Faculty/staff are professionals.
    15. Pecking orders exist within institutions; students are at the bottom.

Group 2

    1. There will always be degree sequence/certification.
    2. Learning is measured by a time scale.
    3. Higher educatio reflects the intellectualism of the population.
    4. Purpose: job training.
    5. Education is a life-long process.
    6. The educational system results in entry control of upper classes to upper classes.
    7. All citizens have right of access to higher education.
    8. Learning requires segregation.
    9. Education is an arduous process.
    10. Education is centralized.
    11. Quality and failure go hand in hand.
    12. There is a balance between research and teaching.
    13. Professors are the fountain of all knowledge.
    14. Education is an individual process rather than a group process.
    15. Teachers are super persons.
    16. Reward system removes teachers from teaching.
    17. Reward system rewards researchers.
    18. Professors can be managed.
    19. Students can be taught (the check is in the mail).
    20. Education will make people more civilized (reasonable, rational).
    21. Education is inherently valuable.
    22. Rank equals teaching competence.
    23. Conducting research makes professors better teachers.
    24. Education serves the public good.
    25. The closer an institution is to the traditional model of higher education, the greater its quality.
    26. Colleges are the creative centers of the state.
    27. Liberal arts education is superior to vocational education.
    28. Needed resources are available for higher education.
    29. Education requires long vacations.
    30. Learning can be divided into time frames (semester, quarter, etc.).
    31. Colleges facilitate upward mobility.
    32. We can measure how much education a person has.
    33. Colleges have a ceremonial role (traditions/elite club).
    34. Tenure if fundamentally important.
    35. Academic freedom is fundamentally important.
    36. Education requires constant expansion.
    37. Universities are isolated.
    38. Education is an economic investment.

Appendix B: Issues Higher Education Must Address in the Coming Decade


    • Protection of intellectual property is needed in the age of telecommunications.
    • Developments in and increasing use of telecommunications, videodisks, and CD ROMs will affect (transform?) the current delivery system (faculty role, teaching methods, curriculum) of higher education.


    • Third world competition will offer "good deals" in seeking to attract Western students.
    • Competition exists among institutions for philanthropic and research dollars.
    • Competition exists between public and private sectors of education.

Role of Higher Education

    • Society questions role of higher education.
    • There is confusion of transmission of information with learning.
    • In the questions of education vs. training, does the curriculum support personal development or training for jobs?
    • Incongruity exists between the following elements--what students need to know for citizenship and careers (knowledge, skills, values) as expressed by opinion leaders; what institutions say in their mission statements (often phrased as one size fits all); and the criteria by which faculty are hired and rewarded.
    • Accreditation relying on quality control through states, voluntary associations.
    • Non-traditional partnerships occurring between colleges and businesses.
    • Curriculum is distorted to meet job market demands.
    • Professional schools dominating campuses.


    • Increasing constraints exists on funding.
    • Financial needs of education surpass funding capabilities.
    • Radical cuts and restructuring are occurring.
    • Cost of education continues to rise higher than inflation.
    • Priority of public funding for higher education is falling.
    • Larger numbers are going to higher education (mass education); there is a smaller (or no) increase in funding.
    • Institutional costs for student financial aid are increasing; Federal/state support is decreasing.
    • There is crumbling of government funding sources (state legislatures do not take responsibility to protect educational institutions in the face of referendums that cut off funding for higher education; Congress has cut back on student aid because of pressure of special interest groups).

Social Expectations

    • Revolt against science and rationality
    • Shifts from standards-based to social-based admissions
    • Demand for equity and social equality
    • Higher education is demanded as a human right
    • Increasing demand for outcomes assessment
    • Accountability increasing; autonomy decreasing
    • Decline of the public trust in higher education
    • Increasing demand for holistic learning (interdisciplinary programs)
    • Affirmative action/reverse discrimination
    • Revolts of taxpayers and consumers; refusal to support social/educational programs


    • Incoming students underprepared
    • Increased diversity of students
    • More students with personal problems
    • Increased demands by students for choice (modality--learning styles, media, teaching styles, pace, place of study, modules)
    • Increased service demands (students demanding more for their money)


    • Faculty trying to keep pace with rapid changes in educational technology
    • Demands increasing for faculty accountability and productivity
    • Faculty roles changing from dispenser of knowledge to facilitator of student learning
    • Measuring faculty productivity
    • Professoriate aging


    • Growth of underclass
    • Increasing gap between rich, poor; squeezing out of middle class
    • Power shift to information brokers
    • Corporate restructuring (layoffs, take-overs, mergers--releasing people for reeducation, retraining)
    • Politicization of educational decisions (politicians making decisions on basis of pressure groups)


    • Change from content- to process-based curriculum
    • Increase of distance education and re-engineering of higher education
    • Demise of the residential college

Appendix C: Needs and Wants Served--Strengths


    • Has recent history of innovation
    • Offers values-oriented education
    • Seeks balanced source of funding
    • Shows staff commitment
    • Has outreach serving specialized niche services
    • Serves as cultural resource
    • Provides educational service with new technologies
    • Is in close proximity to large corporate community
    • Thinks small is beautiful--makes quick, flexible decisions about programs for the community
    • Seeks international orientation
    • Is flexible but inexpensive
    • Uses imaginative response to problem solving
    • Has visualized a strategy
    • Provides access to underprivileged
    • Has experienced presidential leadership
    • Is experienced in handling of volatile issues of student service
    • Has diverse sources of funding
    • Is innovative
    • Is skilled at balancing finances
    • Has a fund of experience in dealing with internal and external affairs
    • Has a diversity of offerings (educational and connections with society and community)
    • Has an international dimension
    • Is opportunist

School of Commerce

    • Is cash cow to University
    • Provides education of business leaders
    • Is a source of entry level persons
    • Financially supports other University activities/programs
    • Provides consulting support to business community
    • Supports other majors in University
    • Is "career shift" facilitator to mid-career folks
    • Enhances reputation of the University
    • Is source of graduate education for mid-career people
    • Provides access to professional world to underserved (i.e., women, minorities)
    • Provides support/resources for new program development
    • Provides resources for interdisciplinary teams
    • Provides non-degree programs/courses for continuing education needs of the professions
    • Provides context for "professional ethics" as part of programs
    • Provides students with competencies for economic and social benefit
    • Provides broader access through off-campus satellite initiatives
    • Provides fund-raising for the University
    • Provides international educational networking

Proposed Motherwell Campus of St. Andrews University

    • Makes good use of an alternative site
    • Attracts new investment in community: provides employment, an economic stimulus, increased finances, thus reviving the community
    • Provides increased capacity for human development: cultural resource, training and advanced education (credit and non-credit)
    • Serves interregional co-operation
    • Confirms and advances St. Andrews viability as a leading university

Appendix D: Needs and Wants: Vulnerabilities


    • Corporate community's needs change
    • Competitive pricing policies of other institutions
    • Society's devaluing of the liberal arts
    • Race riot on campus
    • Disorder in Asia
    • Less committed staff
    • State funding cut to 10% of current budget
    • Default by a large corporate partner
    • Students demand targeted services
    • Another Wall Street crash
    • Invasion of a new breed of mutant fiber-optic-cable-eating mice
    • Nation becomes more ethnocentric
    • International student market is taken over by Singapore and Australia
    • Values taught at Ramapo (diversity, teamwork, involvement in the community, concern for the environment) attacked by (not supported by) community (staff)
    • Inability to meet external requirements (accreditation board special requirement)
    • Gambling curtailed by state

College of Commerce, DePaul University

    • Alternative suppliers (local and distance)
    • Fluctuations in student demand
    • Loss of relative standing within the University
    • Corporations change reimbursement policy
    • Cut-throat competition from other universities
    • In-house corporate certification
    • Diminished employment opportunities for graduates (recession, downsizing)
    • Market demand changes (for degree or specialty)
    • Unfavorable government policy (tax laws) and regulations
    • In-house cannibalization of faculty for other programs
    • Rapid changes in market demand coupled with slow University response
    • Changing societal values (devaluation of the MBA)
    • Deterioration of environment around campus
    • Litigious environment
    • Decreasing financial aid (internal and external)
    • Increased competition for fund raising
    • Greater percentage of students from smaller firms
    • Lesser percentage of students from large corporations

Proposed Motherwell Campus of St. Andrews University

    • Failure to attract investment, students, and staff
    • Change in government support
    • Difficulty in controlling building and staffing costs
    • Suitability of site and site preparation
    • Change in community interest
    • Change in government support
    • Drain in central University finances
    • Less available transportation
    • Change in strategic vision detracts from historical mission
    • Loss of support from alumni and staff
    • Increase in competing educational and training institutions
    • Poor match of programs and community needs

Appendix E: Event Statements


    1. University president has nervous breakdown.
    2. Two month faculty strike occurs at Ramapo.
    3. State mandates new career oriented curriculum.
    4. Japanese satellite corporation broadcasts low rental, higher education channel world-wide.
    5. Merged Rutgers and AT&T provide educational programs.

College of Commerce

    1. A decrease of 10% occurs in the number of applicants from the previous year.
    2. A new low-cost MBA program is offered by University of Illinois at Chicago Circle Graduate School.
    3. A decrease of 5% occurs in undergraduate College of Commerce student financial aid per year for five consecutive years.
    4. Keller Graduate School secures 10% of DePaul's market share.
    5. Keller Graduate School develops a successful TV MBA program.

Proposed Motherwell Campus of St. Andrews University

    1. Local unemployment in Motherwell increases from 10% in July 1994 to 15% in January 1995.
    2. There is a withdrawal of tax privileges for Motherwell industry.
    3. Real interest rates rise 3-5 percentage points annually.
    4. SHEFC withdraws capital funding for project.
    5. Cost of environmental cleanup exceeds estimate by 50%.
    6. University faculty vote "no confidence" in principal.

Appendix F: Situational Assessment and Issue Briefs


The issue being evaluated is the prospect of a merger between a large telecommunications corporation with a major institution of higher education. The merged organization will offer competitive, low cost, for credit, academic programs via telecommunications.

This merger is of concern because of the financial risk to Ramapo's profit center. On the life-cycle of issues chart, the issue is in the emerging stage; our team evaluated it as having an 80% probability of occurrence within five years, with moderate impact on Ramapo.

The short term potential impacts are loss of revenue; long term impacts are organizational cuts.

Adversaries include entrepreneurial higher education institutions and information brokers. Friends are Ramapo alumni, Bergen Police and Fire Department, KPMG, and local politicians. Public opinion, judging by the "Bradford experiment," is likely to be favorable. (Bradford experiment occurred in GB where an information broker cabled entertainment [music, video, current affairs] into subscribers' homes; the experimental group liked the program--lower cost, greater choice.

Legal implications: for credit standards and for degrees. There are formal legitimation activities that an institution goes through for credits and degrees. How were the new programs of Ramapo's competitor going to be accredited? And for intellectual property protection--who owns the intellectual property being beamed down by the information provider? The information provider? What happens to patent rights? We doubt that the corporation and institution can patent their delivery technology because it is in the public domain. There are problems concerning "intellectual territory." Can Ramapo protect its catchment area? Probably not.

What are the significant dimensions of the issue? We at Ramapo doubt that this corporate raid can be stopped. Whatever response we make must be quick, within six months, if it does occur. The competitors will offer ease of access, but will probably concentrate on the mass market (e.g., large classes, popular courses of study).

Ramapo's key strengths are that it has already established experience in niche markets, which, although not financially remunerative, were successful. Ramapo has visionary leadership that will build on contracts with existing niche clients. And Ramapo has pedagogic excellence.

What can Ramapo do? Form strategic partnerships and coalitions with business firms that would form new niches. We will reassure existing core stakeholders including liberal arts faculty and students.

Special actions could include having Ramapo staff and faculty enroll in our competitor's courses to see what we are up against. Also, we should look at parallel systems (e.g., the electronic university). We could appoint a "spy" to coordinate this industrial intelligence gathering enterprise.

Our goal at Ramapo is to establish a firm market position for the electronic delivery of courses in anticipation of the arrival of this strong, new competition.

Action Plan

    • appoint a senior administrator (as opposed to bringing someone in)
    • create a business plan that would survey the market, make budget and cash flow projections, etc.
    • establish strategic partnerships (with those already in pilot stage)
    • conduct a market survey
    • review existing and projected technology
    • establish action group that would include the VP of finance and would have expertise in distance education, media services and computer services
    • draw on expertise of marketing and facilities people in the college
Time Table
    • Month 1: establish action group, conduct internal communication to faculty and staff about project, investigate funding sources (reallocation of existing resources plus external fund raising, including special grants from the state of New Jersey)
    • Month 2: develop business plan, conduct market survey, pursue funding
    • Month 3: acquire or design programs
    • Month 4: obtain funding
    • Month 5: install equipment (reverify design of program)
    • Month 6: go public
Performance Indicators
    • enrollment
    • attrition rate
    • test scores
    • financial target attainment
    • attitude surveys
Incentives for faculty
    • job continuance
    • merit pay

Issue Brief


There is great likelihood that a merger between a telecommunications company and a higher education institution will occur to create a new industry force offering a competitive curriculum--low cost, electronic, for credit , quality programs (tele-cottaging).


Higher education has made relatively slow advances in using telecommunication/communication technology to advance the teaching process over the last two decades.

This contrasts with

    • dramatic advances in technology and application in the telecommunications industry over the same period.
    • major restructuring including takeovers and mergers in that industry.

Given the importance of the "learning industry," it seems increasingly likely that there will soon be a new dynamic player, the result of a mutation between a leading higher education provider and an international telecommunications provider. This new entity will create a new dynamic and focus on mass markets with low development costs and the prospect of high returns.

Given Ramapo's mission as an educational innovator and our experience base in distance learning, this potential development requires careful consideration.

Driving Forces

The major imperatives include:

    • continuing downward pressures on educational costs, partly associated with the increasing participation rate
    • new populations entering the education market for the first time
    • widespread acceptance of computing technology to the point where it is driving institutional and now educational behavior and responses
    • the increasing acceptance of life-long learning, which requires institutional adjustments.

These imperatives are creating a new dynamic in communications and now in learning. In this respect it is interesting to note that the publications and music industries have also been subject to some of the same forces; both have seen major restructuring, the emergence of new forms of delivery and a reduction in the number of players with a small number of large players, a number of small niche players, and the removal of almost all the middle players who used to be quite numerous and significant.

Future Prospects

The learning industry therefore faces the prospect of

    • marked changes in the form and nature of higher educational institutions
    • massive restructuring, including massive collaboration of major providers with new entrants into the industry bringing commercial communication expertise, probably concentrating on mass markets
    • a reduction in the number of institutions
    • many institutions trying to establish or confirm niche markets, using new technology
    • a re-emphasis on elite institutions with high cost fees and very limited entry.


Ramapo has been something of an innovator in cooperative and distance teaching. These operations are however still somewhat marginal to our main business and certainly not profitable in the usual sense of that word. This cannot be sustained. They will therefore probably have to be quickly converted into fully commercial operations and broadened to the point where they are clearly part of our central business. If this is not done Ramapo's future will be bleak.

Ramapo fortunately has an exciting opportunity to confirm its position as an innovator, collaborator, facilitator and provider. In seeking to do this we need to consider the following factors:

    • Ramapo currently occupies the "middle ground" because of its traditional liberal arts role. This is likely to be very vulnerable and may well not be sustainable given the expected industry change.
    • Long term strategic partnerships--with industry, telecommunications companies and other institutions--may well become more if not absolutely crucial to our future image, operations and indeed survival.
    • More market niches where Ramapo has strong credibility could help to reduce our vulnerability.
    • Demand for student residential accommodation will reduce even further.

College of Commerce, DePaul University

[Editor's Note: This group combined the situational assessment activity with developing an issue brief. Note that they also developed a new and effective presentation form Their innovation illuminates the point that you should regard the forms and procedures described in the handbook not as gospel, but as a draft to consider as you work with others to meet the challenges in your own organization.]

Issue Focus

Given the joint venture between the University of Illinois and Ameritech to offer high quality business programs on a world-wide basis and at a low cost, the College of Commerce at DePaul fears additional competition for its programs (i.e., a loss of students and a decrease in revenue).

Basic Strategy

Instead of attempting to compete directly by offering a similar program in partnership with another high tech communications company, the College of Commerce should develop a strategy highlighting its uniqueness and strengths. To do this, the College must identify and sharpen its niche.

Action Steps

1. Focus groups of different stakeholders (alumni, students, advisory council, faculty, Board of Trustees, donors) are to identify the strengths of DePaul's business programs. The hands-on, interactive character of DePaul education with small classes and seminars provides an educational experience and degrees of notable quality. It is anticipated this will continue to hold wide appeal. This educational style and quality should be enhanced by a pedagogical reform in which the most relevant forms of information technology are used without sacrificing the interpersonal aspects of small classes. About 40 of De Paul's 120 faculty members in the College of Commerce have already been trained to use current information and communication technologies in teaching. The program for pedagogical reform entails:

a. the appointment of a Director, with release time to develop and implement a program of faculty training
b. a plan to improve teaching equipment at a projected cost of $1,500,000
c. a plan to provide release time for faculty for both instructional training and course revision and development, along with stipends.

This training program must be implemented within three years (i.e., 2/3s of the faculty must be retrained within three years). The training program is expected to become a permanent feature of the college, thus keeping faculty abreast of new information technologies.

2. An advertising program, directed to the local market, should highlight the uniqueness and strengths of DePaul's programs. TV advertisements should highlight the lively interaction between students and faculty in modern classrooms equipped with current technologies. Other advertisements should feature successful and well-known graduates attesting to the importance of faculty-student interaction in business education, and especially in the development of analytical ability, judgment and interpersonal communication.

Proposed Motherwell Campus of St. Andrews University


The government is pressing to increase the number of students and access to higher education in Great Britain.


There is conflict between the philosophy and traditions of the University and the pragmatic need to survive economically. This issue is in the pre-policy agenda stage of the management response life-cycle.


Internal stakeholders are the faculty, current students, and the administration. External stakeholders are the alumni, community, future students, industry/business organizations, the government, other institutions.

Short and Long-Term Implications

In the short term, developing the campus at Motherwell will be income draining, offer programmatic growth and change, may result in some questioning of our reputation, lessening of our enrollment growth, and internal conflict and stress. In the long term, developing the campus will be income generating, change the character of the institution, change our reputation, and change the student body mix.

General Assessment

This issue is specific to the institution. The adversaries are those who cling to the status quo and those who seek change, an internal philosophical split. Those stakeholders supporting the branch extension are government leaders, businesses, community leaders, and internal advocates. Public opinion is strong and divided. The public is being informed via local public forums. Faculty and staff have been kept informed. The significant dimension of the issue is the philosophical split between essentialism and reconstructionism. Our key strength is 500 years of a successfully balanced operation in response to societal needs.

Non-institutional resources include chambers of commerce, employers, professional associations, appropriate government departments in the Scottish office, job centers, employment agencies, and unions. There are opportunities for a coalition approach. Our allies would be the development corporation, chamber of commerce, employers' association, the local council, appropriate unions, local high schools, and environmental and other groups. We could use additional open forums. Other initiatives could be the joint use of the development site with local community groups.

Our most persuasive spokespersons on this issue are university, local government, and community leaders. We can improve understanding of the issue by sponsoring additional discussions between stakeholders and University leaders. Specific action steps we recommend are:

    • constant updating of information to faculty, departments, units, with appropriate visual materials
    • developing a feedback mechanism
    • holding open forums with University staff and with the local Saint Andrews community.

Our timetable is 6 months to one year to deal with the issue. This is an issue the University can influence and should influence. It is imperative, however, that all stakeholders have an opportunity to participate in the resolution of the issue, and that they come to a consensus.

The issue brief that summarizes the issue follows.

Issue Brief: Strategic vision vs. traditional mission

Issue focus

The proposal to open a branch campus of St. Andrews University at a former industrial site in Motherwell has raised the issue of strategic vision vs. the historic mission of the university. Strategic vision sees the new campus as an opportunity to serve more students and generate additional income. Historically, however, the mission of the university has been to offer a traditional academic education to a selective student body. The Anticipatory Issues Management Task Force sees this issue as having both internal and external implications.


The town of Motherwell has chosen St. Andrews among those responding to its request for proposals to make university programs available on the site of a former steel mill. The town has made a commitment to clear the site of pollution before programs begin, a process expected to take several years. Before making its own commitment the university must consider its full implications.

Driving Forces

Internally, the university faculty and administration and the current students have based their association with St. Andrews on its historic mission of offering a traditional academic education. The reputation of the university is built on its excellence in fulfilling this mission in the "Oxbridge" tradition. Externally, the city of St. Andrews shares the prestige of the university and benefits economically (employment, visitors, supplies). These internal and external constituencies benefit from the university's present mission and status.

On the other hand, the British government has established increased educational access as a priority, the town of Motherwell is eager to increase educational opportunities for its citizens and is willing to clear away pollution from the former industrial site for this purpose, and local businesses and industry are in need of trained employees. These external constituencies would benefit from a branch of St. Andrews in Motherwell.

The internal appeal for the university , as stated above, is the potential for increased revenue and broader service.

Future prospects

Government policies in the U.K. reflect current world-wide pressures to provide broad access to higher education. Universities are now asked to open enrollment to new constituencies and offer programs of practical preparation for employment as well as instruction in traditional academic fields. Response to this perceived need is recognized in the reward system.

A declining economy has made apparent also the human and societal need for increased educational opportunities. Unemployed workers require retraining to qualify for new jobs. The growth of technology requires the retraining of employees.

Expansion to meet these needs must and will take place either within the university system or by other means, such as non-degree granting tertiary institutions or industrial programs.


Universities today are faced with a choice between responding to the need for expansion and resting on tradition.

Tradition is important to the academic community and its constituencies, internal and external. To a great extent academic prestige is based on excellence in the traditional disciplines and on an intellectually elite student body, admitted to the university only after meeting rigorous entrance qualifications. The university mission is often perceived as the guardian of this tradition.

Universities, however, like other organizations, are subject to financial and social pressures. They must meet a payroll and provide sophisticated facilities for teaching and research. They are economically significant to the communities where they are located; these will suffer if their universities lack the resources to survive and prosper. A commitment to tradition so great as to compromise funding may bring financial disaster as well as deny educational need.

Even the most traditional mission statement encompasses the concept of service. Is the extension of this service to new areas and new constituencies a violation of mission or a realization of its potential in contemporary society?

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