In knowledge driven society, higher education seen as key to the future. Serving for society, universities are inevitably, affected by changes in society. With primary goals in mind – providing democracy, equality, academic freedom and pursuit of knowledge, and pervasive requirements of the time – enhancing leadership, change and innovation, universities undergoing great changes and facing serious challenges between what public needs and what and how they can afford them. Therefore, what are the current expectations of the society at the threshold of new millennium and what are the opportunities higher education institutions can possibly provide? Isn’t there a public misunderstanding of what HEIs do, or there is genuinely something in what they say?
HEIs are cognizant of the fact of public dissatisfaction and the matter is not in their being oblivious to criticism. External changes in social – political environment are forcing reexamination of HE. Utilitarian phase of the relationship between higher education and society brings changes into HE core activities such as administration, governance, curriculum, research and faculty roles. Apart from their core activities of teaching, all HEIs worldwide are undergoing change. According to Duderstadt (2000), activities like “cutting costs, raising revenues and capitalizing on new technology create burdens on staff and distract them from their core academic activities” (p. 22). HE has always been a transformative experience though. At the administrative level, the challenges connected with the turnover in university leadership, tenure of leaders and faculty, which destabilize university leadership to achieve effective change. (Duderstadt, 2000). HE governance challenges are about the change in the body of governing boards and theoretical models for educational organization. Growing demand for developing broad “soft” skills, improving peoples’ potential and intellectual growth as well as transparency and achievement of certain learning outcomes are the main imperatives of the curriculum. Effective changes in learning and teaching are needed to better equip students. One point that is more notable is that the problem of university and business ‘antagonism’ should be settled down to understand each other’s language, set up productive partnership and trust between two bodies. Business create innovation and employment. Moreover, as practice has shown business comes from research universities.
To sum, the role of HE providers as society expects it, are pivotal in improving self-management, responsibility acceptance, ICT skills, ability to work in fast manners and second language acquisition of graduates. Graduate attributes are closely connected with interpersonal and transferable employability skills to be effective contributors of a society.
Duderstadt, J. J. (2000). A University for the 21st Century. University of Michigan Press.
SEE into the future: skills, entrepreneurship and employment. (2014, November). Retrieved from http://www.britishcouncil.org/education/ihe/