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Teetering between eras: higher education in a global, knowledge networked world

Gail O. Mellow (President of LaGuardia Community College, Long Island City, New York, USA)
Diana D. Woolis (Co‐founder of Knowledge in the Public Interest, New York, New York, USA)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 28 September 2010




The purpose of this paper is to describe the major influences shaping higher education today and how they will transform higher education over the next 20 years.


The paper is based on research and observation of the higher education system in America. It uses LaGuardia Community College, a large, two‐year college located in Queens, New York, as a signpost for the anticipated changes.


There are three fundamental and monumental changes that will profoundly alter the field of higher education in the next several decades: the globalization of higher education; the impact of technology on changing definitions of students, faculty and knowledge; and the impact of the marketplace on the basic “business model” of higher education. The paper describes how each of these three forces will reshape higher education, while identifying factors that may accelerate or inhibit the impact of these influences.


This paper draws on the knowledge, experiences and insights of two leading higher education leaders, who regularly interact with countless faculty, administrators, students and policy makers.



Mellow, G.O. and Woolis, D.D. (2010), "Teetering between eras: higher education in a global, knowledge networked world", On the Horizon, Vol. 18 No. 4, pp. 308-319.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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