ReportOUT Shines Harsh Light on Reality of the American College Experience, Expectations, and Outcomes

Falling enrollments during the pandemic revealed a looming crisis for America’s colleges and universities. Faith in the value of higher education is suffering the greatest decline in recent history. An accelerating pace of change promises this trend will come to a head sooner rather than later, driven by the mega factors of technology and economics.
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Articles reveal “dirty little secrets” of higher education, highlights how some professionals consider being a dropout as a ‘badge of honor’

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., July 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — SynED, a national non-profit focused on education, today released ReportOUT, a quarterly publication that highlights innovative educational initiatives that promise different perspectives and lasting changes, with its latest edition entitled Crossing the Chasm: Can Higher Ed Deliver What is Needed.”

ReportOUT includes insights from across the economic, education, and political world, bringing a diverse array of viewpoints and analysis on how to approach education differently and how corporate training is serving as a catalyst for tectonic changes in higher ed. 

“Falling enrollments during the pandemic revealed a looming crisis for America’s colleges and universities,” said Guy Smith, Executive Editor, ReportOUT. Mr. Smith, a former Vice President at Antioch University who also previously served as the Dean of Educational Programs at Santa Barbara City College, continued: “Faith in the value of higher education is suffering the greatest decline in recent history. An accelerating pace of change promises this trend will come to a head sooner rather than later, driven by the mega factors of technology and economics.”

This issue is a compendium of 12 articles that provide insight on the rapid changes happening in higher ed, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic one year on, and how employers are changing their expectations and workforce training practices.

An article by New York Magazine’s Andrew Granato, “How to Major in Unicorn,” explores the culture of Stanford University and its unique ecosystem – “an ecosystem of startup-supporting programs, turning classrooms into job fairs and students into entrepreneurs-to- be, and effectively handing the keys of the campus to venture capitalists.” With a long list of notable dropouts-turned-Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, Stanford’s experience is both a phenomenon and an omen. “Stanford can be less a college than a kind of incubator or accelerator — a four-year networking opportunity for the next Systrom, Spiegel, or Thiel, as everyone who goes there knows.”

An article by Steven Mintz, professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin, highlights “dirty little secrets” of higher education, known to varying degrees by academics, parents, and journalists. An unsurprising secret, for instance, is that “[p]rior to the pandemic, 43 percent of college graduates were underemployed in their first job; two-thirds remained in jobs that don’t require college degrees five years later.” Less known, perhaps, is that less than 20 percent of colleges and universities accept less than 50 percent of applicants. 

As Guy Smith notes in his introduction, while universities continue to provide laughable majors such as “Farrier Science” (horseshoeing), “Surf Studies,” and Puppetry, employers are spending more than $90 billion in a recent year, to train their employees to stay abreast of relentless competition and changes. Most now seek out employees with hungry minds and  an array of personal traits such as adaptability, persistence and communication. 

“The disconnect between college curricula and employment opportunity is an old estrangement, but it is being exacerbated by technology and the exponential pace of change,” Smith concluded. “Has higher education so lost its way that it cannot be reimagined or even fixed? And will the workplace become the university of the 21st Century?”

About SynED®
SynED is a non-profit organization that acts as a catalyst to help you help others to improve their lives through education and knowledge and skill acquisition, giving them rich career opportunities. Our team will help you explore the many possibilities and potential solutions available to achieve your desired outcomes. SynED is the proud recipient of the 2021 Association for Career & Technical Education Business-Education Partnership Award.

About ReportOUT
Recognizing that real change is necessary, ReportOUT focuses on the non-traditional, and the notion that effective educational practices can be found in some unlikely places. When searching around the edges, exploring techniques and technologies outside of traditional education, and looking within the ancillary realms of corporate training, for profit schools, and independent learning systems, it helps to have a guidebook.

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