Author’s Series – Jeffrey Selingo: There is Life After College

Jeff Selingo, who has written about higher education for two decades, discusses his third book, There is Life After College. After making observations about the evolution of higher education in the context of demographics, technology, the launch of massive open online courses (MOOCs) and more recent shifts in the job market, he identifies types of students (sprinters, wanderers and stragglers) and their methods of navigation. When asked about the influence of policy, Jeff was clear to say current policies lag behind as they are focused primarily on traditional students and would be more useful if they supported multiple pathways to and through college. Such pathways acknowledge needs for apprenticeships (as another after high school option), remediation, access to aid for those who, for one reason or another, have delayed degree completion, and accommodations for access to higher education in shorter time periods (not all at once). The final suggestion aligns with Radio Higher Ed contributor Tony Carnevale’s ideas about the need for flexibility in the credentialing system. Jeff also concurs with contributors Arum and Roksa that more rigors are necessary and suggests that students need more advising support. He has revised his ideas on the value of unbundling based on an advanced understanding of the economies (pedagogical and fiscal) of the current system and proposes restructuring staffing, to allow for more flexibility. Ideas for reducing costs of higher education include using technology in new ways; reducing access to amenities (climbing walls, sports programs, etc.) and changing tenure. His future focus will be on advances in artificial intelligence, workforce automation and the gig economy.

Individual Questions:
How higher education has evolved: key influences (1:45)
Pathways into the economy: students as sprinters, wanderers and stragglers (1:11)
Multiple pathways and lifelong learning (2:35)
The need for greater academic rigor and help for students in navigating college (3:29)
Thoughts about reducing the cost of higher education: unbundling, technology and tenure. (6:16)
The magic wand: addressing the challenges of higher education today. (3:36)
Teaching, service and research: sustaining the creation of knowledge (2:15)
On the horizon: what’s next for Jeff’s work? (1:41)

Podcast Intro and Exit music by Won (FLT RSK) / CC BY-NC 3.0 Produced in conjunction with the Average Guy Podcast Network

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