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Nine emerging student needs

Andrew Hines (Department of Human Development and Consumer Sciences, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA)
Alexandra Whittington (Department of Human Development and Consumer Sciences, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 14 August 2017




A research project exploring emerging student needs explored six aspects of student life: living, learning, working, playing, connecting and participating.


A modified version of the University of Houston’s “Framework Foresight” method was used to explore the future of six aspects of future student life. The resulting scenarios were analyzed for their implications, including the use of the World Café technique, and ultimately led to the identification of nine emerging student needs.


Nine specific emerging needs of future students could be used strategically by institutions of higher education to guide and inform planning and to generate innovative ideas for university offerings. Specific examples of offerings that would meet the projected future needs are recommended.

Research limitations/implications

In terms of research limitations, the paper is focused on the needs of students and does not purport to be an exhaustive analysis of all of the issues influencing higher education. It views the future of higher education through the lens of students and their emerging needs.

Practical implications

The paper is intended for educators, researchers and administrators to provide insight on how the needs of students, their key customers, are evolving.


This piece explores student life in its totality as way to more accurately identify student needs in the future.



Hines, A. and Whittington, A. (2017), "Nine emerging student needs", On the Horizon, Vol. 25 No. 3, pp. 181-189.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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