Scenarios for Higher Ed in Hawai’i

FuturesofHigherEd-highlightsLast year we worked with Kaua’i Community College on some foresight work prior to their strategic planning efforts.  In a workshop with a very engaged group of faculty, staff, and community stakeholders, we looked back at the history of community colleges, explored some of the trends and emerging issues shaping change, and developed a set of three original scenarios about the future of higher education on Kaua’i.

Using the focal issue of “What roles might higher education play in the future of Kaua’i’s people,” the group developed the following scenarios.

Back to Basics: Broad economic challenges drive too many community members out of the mainstream economy. Community colleges change to support community survival through innovative approaches to basic economic subsistence.

Digital Displacement: Technology drives change in the nature of learning, but more importantly technology drives change in economic life. Community colleges are displaced by new hubs for learning and collaborating with new skills and tools.

Generational Reform: Millennials take over leadership of educational institutions and begin to address the roots of their own unsatisfying educational experiences. They break down boundaries, free education from campus, and refocus learning on supporting locally relevant outcomes.

In a later workshop involving almost 100 members of the College’s faculty and staff, these scenarios were used to help explore the strategic implications for the college and to suggest priorities and strategies.

Forecasting the Futures of Higher Education: Highlights from a foresight project for Kaua’i Community College.


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