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Editor's Note

Change is Coming

University Business, Feb 2012
Tim Goral

Registration is now open for UBTech. “The conference formerly known as EduComm” returns to the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, June 11-13. With the theme Technology Changes Everything, UBTech 2012 will feature a wide assortment of sessions focusing on how technology impacts Campus Networks and Infrastructure, Facilities Planning and Design, Teaching and Learning Technologies, Marketing Your Institution, and Financial Services. This year the conference also includes, for the first time, four pre-conference summits.

Our keynote speakers—Dr. Temple Grandin, Henry J. Eyring, and Slate technology columnist Farhad Manjoo—will bring entertaining and intriguing insight to the conference from a variety of perspectives. And because our keynotes are first-timers to UBTech, we’ll be introducing them to you over the next few print issues leading up to the conference.

This month, you can read an excerpt from an interview with Henry J. Eyring, coauthor with Harvard’s Clayton Christensen of The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out (Jossey-Bass Higher and Adult Education Series, 2011). The book explores how and why universities must change to ensure future success.

Eyring, who is the advancement vice president at Brigham Young University-Idaho, says higher education can respond to the forces of disruptive innovation, and find innovative, less costly ways of performing their uniquely valuable functions.

Our current higher education system, he says, is based on some very long-held assumptions that date from 150 years ago that say this is the best way to discover and share knowledge with other people.

“We’ve got to admit the tremendous success of this system but things are changing now,” Eyring says. “Accreditation is becoming more outcome-oriented. We’re seeing a greater variety of competition with the for-profits that are very focused on practical degrees and are quite carefully defining and measuring learning outcomes. You’ve also got a new delivery mechanism in online learning, which not only reduces the cost required to provide an education but can enhance its quality tremendously.

“Change is coming. The human tendency is to resist change, but in higher education, that resistance is based on a faith in a tradition that has been powerfully effective—and will continue to be—for some purposes. But times have changed, and we do see the need for change. We’ve tried to frame the debate in a productive way, where we are asking, first, what needs to change and what are the very powerful elements of the system that we shouldn’t let go of.”

Visit the UBTech 2012 site at for registration information, news, blogs, and schedule updates.Twitter feeds and more.