Uncertainty about the future can immobilize us, or it can challenge us. If small liberal arts colleges believe they can do business “the way we have always done it” we will be in for big surprises. We need to practice what we teach our students: Be nimble.
I believe a liberal arts education is the best preparation for being nimble, or being able to adjust to the challenges we face as individuals in our careers and lives, and for institutions that must adjust to the dramatically changing rules for higher education. It is indeed distressing to hear politicians talk about making an education “cheap and efficient,” as if students are widgets in an assembly line.
What keeps me up at night is how to ensure we are telling our story clearly enough to parents and prospective students so they understand the value of a liberal arts education. And even if they believe in the value, how can they continue to afford the cost? Our responses now will determine the longevity and success of our institutions.
Sue DeWine, President, Hanover College