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UTA Recognized as a Next Generation University

Submitted by on June 13, 2013 – 1:15 pmNo Comment

UTA_1V_Sml_3c-cmykIn the Next Generation University 2013 report, the New America Foundation highlights six universities that have yet to allow the bleak state of higher education prevent them from focusing on world-class research and providing quality education for their students.

These universities are Next Generation Universities—and the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), has been named one of them.

The report recognized UTA’s ability “to prosper in difficult economic circumstances” and credits its online programs as the driver of increased enrollments when overall numbers were lagging:

Much of the credit for Arlington’s enrollment growth is the result of its online offerings. In the 1990s, to offset a sharp drop in enrollment, Arlington started putting courses online…To further accelerate the growth of the online program, the university entered into an agreement in 2008 with Academic Partnerships…Today, 42 percent of Arlington students take at least one class online, and 27 percent of them are enrolled exclusively online.”

What does a Next Generation University look like?

Each Next Generation University employs five common strategies:

1. Scaling the State University for Efficiency
“The six public universities studied in this report show that growth is possible in the face of shrinking state resources without sacrificing their core mission of serving the state.”

2. Going Online to Grow Enrollment
“By [Academic Partnerships] assisting the Arlington campus in establishing new online programs in high-volume professional areas, such as teaching and nursing, the university’s enrollment grew substantially.”

 3. Higher Education, Directed by the Numbers
“Using massive amounts of data to predict customer behavior has enabled companies, such as Amazon and Netflix, to use sophisticated tools to recommend books and movies. Increasingly, universities are employing a similar strategy to move students through to graduation on time.”

4. A Mission of Access
“Rather than looking around at other universities and asking, ‘Why don’t we get the elite student they get?’ Make a decision to take the students you do get, and make them elite.”

5. Forging Partnerships
“Rather than hope for the unlikely return of a time when state coffers provided a majority of their budgets, these institutions decided to develop new revenue sources and strategies to reduce costs.”

The Path Forward: Future Policies

The final section of the report recognizes how Next Generation Universities “are creating a different pathway for the future;” however, “too few colleges and universities are following them.”

The report provides recommendations at the institutional, state, and national level to help create more Next Generation Universities, based on four key conclusions:

  1. An intentional student-focused vision matters.
  2. Bigger can be good.
  3. It is possible to enroll and educate large numbers of unevenly prepared students well, without diminishing quality.
  4. It is possible for institutions of higher education to innovate fast and at scale.

Read more about these recommendations and the Next Generation Universities in the Next Generation University 2013 report.

Your Turn!

What is your college or university doing to become a Next Generation University? Which of the Next Generation University strategies listed above have you adopted?

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