The quest for change in higher education

Stefanie Botelho's picture

First American’s 5th Annual Peer Discussion event at the Seattle Space Needle during NACUBO (National Association of College and University Business Officers) was facilitated by David Helfand, former Columbia University professor and current president of Quest University – the first private university in Canada, which opened in 2007 with an innovative approach to higher education. Helfand shared his insights on the current education system in America and his mission to redefine it in Canada.

“The university education today is excellent preparation for a job – in the 19th century,” said Helfand. “The only problem is that we live in the 21st century, and everything has changed – except education.”

Participants utilized the First American Peer Discussion forum to examine barriers to change at American universities, as well as potential solutions. Helfand encouraged Peer Discussion participants to make small, but impactful changes at their own universities in order to break down barriers and improve the educational experience for students. Peer Discussion participants said that sharing innovative ideas across universities could quickly benefit students.

Chad Wiedenhofer, Senior Vice President of event host First American Education Finance, was encouraged by the results of the discussion. “We appreciate the opportunity to deliver an event facilitating the discussion of new ideas among leading education executives from top colleges and universities throughout the U.S.,” said Wiedenhofer. “The Peer Discussion event opens up a unique dialogue between higher education business officers. By participating in the conversation, First American is better prepared to meet the needs of colleges and university clients. The 5th Annual Peer Discussion, like everything else we do, is built on our philosophy of bettering students’ lives by providing schools with the resources to succeed.”

Video highlights here:



First American Education Finance believes in bettering students’ lives by providing schools with the resources to succeed. First American is part of City National Bank (NYSE: CYN), has customers in all 50 states, is one of the 100 largest leasing companies in the United States, and was recently selected as the Best Place to Work in New York. First American has a longstanding reputation for professionalism and outstanding customer services among large, sophisticated schools.