The precipice of higher educational change – dangerous or exciting?

by. Laurel Stiller

The AACRAO 2014 conference is coming up in Denver. With this being AACRAO’s 100th conference, I can’t help but think of what the conversations must have been like at the first one. Everything was done manually, on paper and in person.

Think about it: No computers, no smartphones. I wonder how often students changed their majors? What did the completion rates look like?

With the ghosts of attendees past hovering around us, this year’s theme, “The Precipice of Change,” is a matter of perspective. We’re either standing on the shaky edge of tradition looking down, or we’re looking up at a rather intimidating climb.

What happens if we don’t embrace change?

When we change a technology, it doesn’t mourn the fact that it’s no longer doing things the way it always did. It just does what we tell it to do. Technology doesn’t “think” about the end result, people do. And it’s a big reason we tend to resist change. At least until we have the opportunity to analyze what results change will bring:

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