Friday, October 31, 2014

Forum speaker lauds innovation in higher ed

By ABBY ECKEL, Herald Staff Writer | 4/4/2014

Times are changing.

To keep up with those changes, colleges and universities must set their fear of risk aside and become innovators, Michael Shonrock said.

Times are changing.

To keep up with those changes, colleges and universities must set their fear of risk aside and become innovators, Michael Shonrock said.

Shonrock, Emporia State University president, said students’ needs are changing and to satisfy supply and demand, schools and communities must look outside the box to ensure students are receiving quality education.

“I think education is really at that time where we’re going to be very innovative,” Shonrock said during the First Friday Forum at Neosho County Community College, 900 E. Logan St., Ottawa. “We’re going to have to do things differently, and it’s going to be a little scary, but it’s going to be OK. Because every generation is different.”

For a long time, Shonrock said, higher education was supplying the right things to students, knowing what the demand was going to look like, but that’s no longer the case.

“The demand has changed, but the supply is the same — it’s time to change,” he said. “Change is not easy, so I improve stuff. It sounds less threatening. How do we improve the educational experience of our students. We want them to go out there and do great things. I tell students all the time, ‘I want you to be successful, I want you to have fun and I want you to go out there and do great things.’”

Students looking to go to colleges and universities don’t expect the same things that those going to college 20 years ago did, he said, and that doesn’t necessarily meet the needs of students walking on campuses now.

“There’s a thing called the tipping point. You get to the point where you’re going to tip one way or the other, and I think those of us in education are going to have to do it different,” Shonrock said. “Because the way that we do things is not the way that this generation is going to necessarily see it. It’s changing, each and every day, so how we do what we do is going to be important.

“Really I think we’ve got to inspire people to think about things differently,” he said. “It’s risky but I’m focused on looking at the big picture and ahead all the time. I really can’t do anything about the past, but I can do something about the future.”

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