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Do we know the future of the university?

Tom P. Abeles (Editor of On the Horizon.)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 1 April 2006




This paper presents the idea that the direction of the university, today, must be seen, first as an enterprise that is different from the idea of the university as seen by Newman, Kant and von Humboldt. Secondly, it must be seen as a problem for the faculty and not that of the institution.


This article examines and discusses the future of universities.


The probability of institutional closings is high. As with consolidation in any industry, the demand for employees, even with increasing enrolments will diminish and the purpose of the institutions, as with the replacement of one technology by another, will change. For many, particularly medallion institutions, survival by providing a selective on‐campus experience will be a defined opportunity. On the other hand, many institutions will become virtual or will be mixed in both brick and click space. These, of course, will have presence on the net that will not be tied to time or place. Others will become certification providers of many forms, from record keeping and advising to evaluation of qualifications for both students and employers.

Practical implications

The university is changing due to both internal and external pressures. Current efforts to formulate solutions are based on a model that no longer exists. Survival of many post secondary institutions depends on recasting the direction based on new models; survival of faculty at the baccalaureate level requires rethinking the idea of a teacher and a scholar.


This paper discusses the future and direction of universities.



Abeles, T.P. (2006), "Do we know the future of the university?", On the Horizon, Vol. 14 No. 2, pp. 35-42.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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