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Information Technology, Enterprise Transformation, and the Future of US Higher Education

18 May 2006

US higher education over the next 25 years will undergo changes that exceed in scale and effect the changes that occurred between 1850 and 1980. This is a remarkable claim: the period between the Civil War and the Cold War saw US higher education evolve from the limited province of a social elite to an enormous instrument of state material and martial strength. How can changes that took 130 years be eclipsed in a mere 25 years?

The leverage of contemporary information and communication technologies makes this feasible, and broader global conditions make it necessary. In just a few decades, ICTs have enabled dramatic transformations in enterprise of all kinds, and this transformation is far from over. Higher education has resisted such change for serveral decades, limiting use of the new technologies to traditional back-office applications, but that pattern is changing fast.

This talk explores the enterprise transformation that is beginning in higher education, and outlines options for the course it might take.