A Crystal Ball into the Future of Higher Ed

PAEA’s CEO Timi Agar Barwick recently participated on the “Trends in Higher Ed: Challenges and Opportunities” panel at the 2018 Liaison International User Conference. She represented PA education in a thought-provoking discussion between industry leaders and higher education media as they explored how 2018’s challenges and 2019’s solutions will change the course of education. Other speakers on the panel were:

  • Scott Jaschik, Editor and Co-Founder, Inside Higher Ed
  • Dr. Jenny Rickard, President and CEO, The Common Application
  • George Haddad, Founder and CEO, Liaison

Topics ranged from admissions equity, to the role of technology in admissions, to the future of standardized tests, to rapidly changing demographics.

Jaschik called on higher education to rethink the role holistic admissions can play in diversifying tomorrow’s classroom. He noted that changes in the Supreme Court are already impacting admissions policies and practices, saying that these changes could be a warm-up for the coming years.

Rickard added in addition to the macro policy changes, higher education needs to look at the opportunity transfer students and those re-entering or retooling for new roles can play. Historically, the number of those in this demographic has been low, but that number is rapidly increasing. Liaison is working with The Common App to develop tools to track this demographic. And, as Barwick noted, for professions like PAs that value second-career applicants, the new analytics available in admissions could be a game changer in terms of educational access, increasing educational equity.

At the conclusion of the session, panelists were asked what they thought the future of standardized tests (SAT and GRE, specifically) would be on a 10-year time horizon. While responses varied, the overall opinion of the panelists was that these tests would not have the prominence in admissions that they enjoy today — potentially contributing to a more level playing field for applicants.