I am From (The Future of Higher Education)

When my son was younger, in one of his classes he had to write poetry.  One of the poems he wrote was called “I am From”, and is a template that was inspired by this poem by George Ella Lyon.  Thinking about what the future of higher education would look like is a challenging thought experiment.  There are so many aspects to consider: what it would physically look like, how the curriculum of the university might change, what the goals and values of the future university might be, and how would it be perceived?  

I went down many of these paths, but ultimately couldn’t capture what I was looking for.  And then I remembered my son’s poem. I pulled the prompts from the template, and adjusted them to address the future of higher education.  Then I responded to each prompt, and created my poem “The future of higher education”.

This poem is a vague and idealistic view of the future, but I think that is fitting.  We have to start somewhere, so instead of thinking about the buildings and the classes, it helps to think about the intangibles-the hows and the whys.  

Here is my poem:

the future of higher education will be
open access


it will be
high speed computers and intimate coffee shops


the future of higher education will be
engaged in educating future citizens

a factory producing producers and consumers

the future of Higher Education will be
an open, accesible space where students can meet and share ideas

it will be
a space that remembers your name, and invites you in

the future of Higher Education will be
bike paths, ramps, and all gender restrooms

it will be
#blacklivesmatter and #enoughisenough

it will be
demanding and rewarding

it will be
questioning the way things have been done

The future of Higher Education will be
preparing you to do anything

it will be
rhetoric, logic and philosophy

it will be
valued and funded

and will be
seen as mind-expanding and life-changing, not soul-crushing and debt-inducing

it isn’t a collection strangers sitting in a room or on their computers at home

the future of higher education will be from the moments…
it is a collection of minds who are here for a reason

Here is a link to my Excel template so that you can enter your own responses and build your own future (be kind, it may need some additional adjustments!).  Simply go to the 1st tab (“Data Entry”) and fill in your answers in the highlighted blue cells, and your poem will be created in the 2nd tab (“Poem”).  I hope you will post your poem in the comments section, so we can all see the collective, poetic future of higher education!