Page 29 - BusinessWest May 13, 2024
P. 29

Colleges Adapt to Non-traditional Realities
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At the recent ceremony that officially installed him as chancellor of UMass Amherst, Javier Reyes noted that atti- tudes about higher education are changing, while rapid advancements in technology, with artificial intelligence at the center, are forcing colleges and universities to find new ways to meet their obligations.
“Today’s graduates will have, on average, seven careers — not seven jobs, but seven careers. That’s why we’re really committed to the concept of lifelong learning.”
   “How does higher education respond to
these challenges?” he asked. “How do we
meet the needs of today’s students — students
who are increasingly mobile and more agile?
How do we meet the needs of a changing
society? How do we remain nimble and adapt so that our students are prepared to be active and engaged members of their communities today, tomorrow, and for decades to come?”
That’s a lot to unpack, but UMass will focus on six key areas, Reyes explained: education, research and creative activity, translation and knowledge transfer, engagement, inclusivity and wellness, and financial and operational viability.
Then, importantly, he added, “it is important to stress that these are not six independent areas. Rather, they are six interconnected areas that must work in synergy with each other to achieve our goals.”
It’s a theme of connectivity that ... well, connects Reyes’ thoughts with the conversations BusinessWest had with three other area higher-education leaders as they considered how academia has changed over the years — and where it’s going next.
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