McRobbie: Moving Forward Requires Asking Tough Questions

We end higher education week today with posts from Indiana University President Michael McRobbie.

  • What is the No. 1 change you would like to see in Indiana’s higher education system that would help serve students better?

I believe that strengthening the academic core of our universities should be our highest priority, particularly in these challenging economic times. This means we must begin asking ourselves difficult questions. Are we teaching in ways that are meaningful for today’s students, using technologies to educate students more effectively, assuring that important learning goals and outcomes are met, and identifying knowledge and skills that students will need to make valuable contributions in their communities? Asking these kinds of questions is critical in an economy where knowledge is expanding at an exponential rate, where people are changing jobs many times in their lives, and many of the most important jobs and careers are new ones.

We cannot wait for others to ask and answer these questions. Indeed, we must accept this challenge ourselves, and as a matter of urgency. That is why at IU we are establishing a New Academic Directions Committee that will examine the overall structure of our academic units and, hence, ensure that we are offering the best kinds of educational opportunities for students and responding quickly to major educational trends happening around the globe. In addition, each of our campuses will establish a New Directions in Learning Committee, including top administrators, faculty members, and outstanding students, to help us renew our commitment to the quality—and currency—of the education we provide.