Do you want to play a vital role in shaping the future of higher education? In these uncertain times, new leaders capable of elevating their academic communities are in high demand, but it takes the right combination of passion, experience and education for leaders to succeed.
Pursuing a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Higher Education at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) can give you the skills needed to help transform the advanced education community. In as few as 12 months, you could complete the program and embark on your desired career.
In addition to pursuing an advanced degree, here are six steps you can take to create a positive change in the world of higher education.
Step 1: Connect with students in a way that works best for them.
The days of the traditional teenage college student dominating the higher education landscape are largely gone. Slightly older students who take classes part time, have their own children, or classify as adult learners are increasingly common in today’s world. Therefore, universities must adapt how they curate the higher education experience.
According to the CIO and VP of the University of California System, Tom Andriola, “students that come to us today are digital natives and mobile-first. Universities today have to become more student-centric. We have to meet the students where they are and design our services and interactions in a way they’re accustomed to. That means a lot of personalization and the ability to do things with their mobile devices in the palm of their hand.”
Step 2: Consider the cloud.
Considering the change in student demographics and the shift to a hybrid learning model during the COVID-19 pandemic, universities must consider implementing cloud technology. Utilizing a shared location to store information allows both students and faculty to participate in the learning environment from wherever they want. It can create a more innovative, comfortable learning space, and it is cost effective by allowing students and faculty to use their own personal technology.
Step 3: Create options for lifelong learners.
The technology and skills needed to be successful in the workplace change rapidly. To truly serve students, universities need to create opportunities for individuals in the workforce to add new job skills or relevant certifications. Additionally, adult learners need an affordable option to earn degrees while they continue to work. Fully online programs offering multiple start dates, like the M.A. in Education with a concentration in Higher Education program at FGCU, are the perfect option for anyone in need of a career upgrade.
Step 4: Embrace the online experience.
The COVID-19 pandemic may have forced universities to adapt to an online model much more rapidly than anticipated. As the pandemic recedes, higher education administrators shouldn’t be in a hurry to revert to a more traditional classroom model. Many traditional students find online courses more convenient, and adult learners are drawn to an online degree’s value and flexibility. This isn’t to say that universities should permanently shift to a fully online curriculum but offering a hybrid system will appeal to students who want to customize their academic plan.
Step 5: Prepare students for careers.
Far too often, students do not have a concrete idea of how their academic studies prepare them for professional careers. Savvy administrators should consistently monitor the job market and emphasize adding experiential components to the curriculum.
Consider the example of Mashea Ashton, the founder and CEO of Digital Pioneers Academy. This unique charter school teaches students how to code while preparing them for college and a future career. While her students are middle schoolers and not in college, Ashton uses the innovation that higher education leaders need, as her students “will be able to access high-quality education and jobs through their computer skills and be equipped to form and create in the digital economy.”
Step 6: Get the right education.
While all of these listed steps are excellent ways to reshape the world of higher education, they will not happen without highly trained leaders who understand how to bring positive change to their academic communities. An online M.A. in Educational Leadership with a Higher Education concentration offers great value for your tuition dollars. Each year’s multiple start dates make it ideal for working professionals who want to improve their career prospects.