Farewell to a Remote Year

Tuesday, May 18, 2021 - Jeff and Michael recap what they've learned from this past year, answer audience questions, and look ahead to next fall in the final episode of this season of Future U.

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Transcript

Michael:

Jeff, it's been quite a season of Future U, and it's the first time ever that you and I have recorded every single episode remotely. And we've covered everything from your book launch in the fall, to the different paths that schools took toward reopening, to hosting such luminaries as two former secretaries of education, Emily Oster and David Gergen on the show.

Jeff:

Yeah, you're not kidding, Michael. It's really been quite some time since we saw each other in real life. It's really been a whirlwind, but also highly rewarding to dig in across much of the landscape from community colleges to state universities and from the future of work to graduate education of how higher education has really changed in the pandemic. And today, we get to look backward in a year in review and forward to the next year on Future U.

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This episode of Future U is brought to you by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and by BVK. Visit bvk.com to learn about changing your university's focus from surviving to thriving. Thank you to our sponsors for making Future U possible. Subscribe to Future U wherever you get your podcasts and follow us on Twitter at the handle Future U podcast. And if you enjoy the podcast, please leave us a five-star rating, so others can discover the conversations we're having about higher education.

Jeff:

I'm Jeff Selingo.

Michael:

And I'm Michael Horn. Jeff, as we wrap up the season of Future U and prepare to take a break, we've covered a lot of ground as we've said, and had a lot more opportunities to engage with our audience on both social media and in the shows. And so for today, we're going to do a bit of a mix, revisit some of the things that we've learned or stood out to us in the shows over the past year, talk a bit about the fall and the next academic year, but also take some reader questions. So I guess, my question for you Jeff, is what do you want to do first?

Jeff:

Well, I think let's review the past year. How about you, Michael?

Michael:

Yeah, that works. I think it's a why not? Let's start there and then wind into audience questions and finish with some thoughts for next year.

Jeff:

Great. So let's start with each of us offering some reflections from the past year. Maybe we can go back and forth. So Michael, what's the top reflection that you'd want to offer?

Michael:

Yeah, so I would start looking back at all the shows that we've done. I think a major thing that I take away is the importance of transparency and honesty. And I look back on the episodes where we had Bob Brown president of Boston University on the show and Judy Sakaki, the president of Sonoma State University and David Gergen and even Tamara Hiler of Third Way. And Jeff, even focusing on your book, Who Gets In and Why. And so, much of these conversations I think, have fundamentally revolved around the importance of transparency and honesty I think. If I start with your book, so much of the admissions process, particularly at selective schools, but even less selective ones is very opaque. And we've talked about how that's to the advantage in some respect to the colleges and universities, but I think increasingly those applying and families are suspicious. They have big questions. They're wondering things. And so, more transparency into the process I think, would be helpful.

If I look at what Bob Brown did and what Judy Sakaki did and the broader Cal State University System, by being very upfront, transparent, how they were making their decisions, in the case of Cal State, they weren't bringing students back, in the case of Boston University they were. But in the case of Boston University, their plans were incredibly detailed and they put it out in a regular cadence frequency communicated to folks. If you look at Cal State, they said, "We're not." And they didn't have really the admissions enrollment dip that we've seen in many other schools across the country. And so I just, I think there's real rewards to that. And with Tamara and the conversation we had there, Third Way, there's so much suspicion right now, and so much clamoring for not free community college or something like that, but they want value, people want value out of their higher ed experience. And I think that comes back to trust and transparency.

And certainly David Gergen spoke a lot about that as well. And having empathy for all stakeholders in a campus community being incredibly important. So that's something I think I'll take away from this season. What about you? What's a top reflection you'd offer?

Jeff:

I think the importance of the here and now, but also what's next. I think most leaders that I meet in higher ed are really heads down inside their institutions trying to keep up with the daily demands. And even when they look up and grasp a bigger picture, that glimpse, that the context can really be more daunting than clarifying. And I think the institutions that really thrived during this pandemic are those in the words of Senator Michael Bennett or Joe Biden, this spring, figured out how to walk and chew gum at the same time. So what do I mean by that? That they focus both on the here and now, the pandemic, but also about higher education post-pandemic and what it would look like, and what are the foundational things that you need to do now to get ready for that?

So I'm thinking back, for example, to one of our first shows of the season where the president of Dickinson College, Margee Ensign, and the CFO there, Bronte Jones, who talked about contingency planning pre-pandemic, that had allowed them to put away enough reserves as a small college, to have the flexibility to reverse course on the fall. You might remember for those folks who listened to that episode, they were planning to come back for the fall all summer and then made a change at the last minute and decided not to. And the only way they were able to do that is, because they had adequate reserves, because they had done this contingency planning. So they were able to look at the here and now, as well as further ahead. And then, there was Bob Brown, who talked about having a second group of people who were managing the crisis post-pandemic. What do we want to keep from the pandemic for the long-term? That has been a thread throughout this season. My goal is what will stick?

And at most institutions, I think they're going to wake up this coming fall after this nightmare of a pandemic year and they'll say, "Oh-oh, what do we want to stick from the previous year? And I think those forward-looking institutions that were able to not only operate during the pandemic, but also think ahead, they had people thinking this entire past year planning this entire past year about what they want to stick for the longterm. So again, and that's what Bob Brown at BU described is that he already had asked a group of senior leaders there and faculty members to start to think about what BU would look like post-pandemic. I don't think most institutions have done that. And then there was Paul LeBlanc, president of Southern New Hampshire, who we had on very early in the season, again, talked about the Skunk Works Group at Southern New Hampshire, who's always thinking about how to put them out of business.

Everybody talks about Southern New Hampshire and how successful it's been, a small private college has grown to this behemoths, because of online education, but I'll never forget the first time I met Paul, well before we had him on the podcast and obviously, you know this well too, with your work with Southern New Hampshire, is that he's always on the lookout for what's next and what might knock Southern New Hampshire off that perch. And then finally, there's David Gergen who talked eloquently I think about how communications is done, particularly in the White House, where they have the press secretary day-to-day, but the communications director looking far ahead. And the fear that I have Michael of this past year, is that so many college leaders were, as I described earlier, heads down in their institutions, more so than ever before. They're going to wake up from this long national nightmare, international nightmare that we've lived through for the last 18 months, and they're going to look up and the higher education world will look completely different, and they're not going to be ready for it.

So, Michael, let's do one more reflection, but I thought I pushed you on this one a little, which is that a lot of folks you included I suspect, believe that a lot of colleges would fail, because of the pandemic. And we haven't necessarily seen that. And then there's this research that came out from Moody's recently that had both good news and bad news on that front for schools themselves. On the good news front, a lot of colleges and universities were able to maintain their cash positions in essence, and not go into the red, as many had perhaps forecasted. I'm thinking of folks like Scott Galloway. But there was also a subset that were in actually deeper trouble than before. And in fact, I think a lot of issues have been papered over right now, because of the federal government and state governments putting some money into their colleges and universities.

But that Moody's report, for example, found that half of private universities that Moody's rates saw a decline in operating revenue in fiscal 2020 compared with only 20% in fiscal 2019. And what they found was that large, comprehensive, private universities were stronger than everybody else. So again, the rich got richer. The other thing that we saw in that Moody's report is that net tuition growth weakened in fiscal 2020, with nearly one third of private universities that Moody's rates reporting the decline in net tuition revenue per student. So again, they were able to cut expenses fast enough to keep that margin that helped them not go into the red this year, but the longer term issues, both operating revenue overall, and also net tuition revenue, really weakened over the last year and I think the question is whether that's going to come back after the pandemic, because it was already weak before the pandemic.

So there was a question you pose to Nick Anderson of the Washington Post on our recent reporters round-table. And he seemed to say in essence that this just goes to prove that people keep making these forecasts about colleges closing and they don't come true. So, what are your thoughts on that?

Michael:

Yeah, look, I think it's a great question, Jeff, and definitely have a few thoughts on it. I'll start with the Moody's report that you just indicated and something you said, which I think is really important, which is all this government money coming in may have in certain cases, preserved certain institutions that two or three years from now, we're going to have a different conversation about, so we should keep an eye on, as you said, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Let's keep an eye on those getting poorer group and see what happens. But look more broadly, I've never believed the question was just closures. To me, it was what I would call consolidation and higher ed doesn't have bankruptcies, but financial exigency or reinventions and that includes closures, but also mergers notably.

And I'm going to preemptively agree that I might be moving the goalposts a little bit on the question Jeff, but I would say when an institution makes massive cuts that changed the complexion of an institution, there is a question of, has there been a failure in essence? Reinvention, is that an essence? Should we count that into the predictions that we see? But I put that aside for a moment and against that backdrop first, I would say, I think we're seeing more moves toward consolidation, despite what Nick said. So small schools continued to show signs of closing. In New England for example, witness Becker College in Worcester, Mass, not too far from me, but more notably, I think, and interestingly, there are some signs of significant mergers. So we had Dan Greenstein on this season, Jeff, the chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

And he's now in the midst of trying to put into effective significant consolidation of two schools, excuse me, six schools in the system to turn them into two on the other side of it right now. And he's getting a lot of political pushback for sure. But I think the plan he's put in place is both smart and thoughtful, but also, fundamentally actually grounded in reality, as opposed to some of the pushback he's getting from critics. And I suspect it'll go through. And so, when Nick says he doesn't see consolidation, I'm not sure I see the same thing, because six out of 14 schools turning into two would be a massive consolidation, but there's also a significant merger of the public university and community college system in New Hampshire that's going to be happening. Vermont has been having a debate around something similar. Maine consolidated a few years ago. Connecticut is looking still at consolidating its community college system. And you have Georgia that did this earlier. So that's a lot there I'd say.

Second. I think Nick said something in his response that was interesting, which is that we won't see a massive and rapid extinction in effect of colleges. And I've heard that from other folks as well that like, "Oh my God, 25% didn't collapse within a year, but that presupposes that I, or others think this will happen in a quick span. And you know I've written about this for Forbes. My big point is that if we just see a tripling of the consolidations that we had in the 2000s as Moody has forecast, if we just see that, we're going to hit about 20 to 25% consolidation in two decades without blinking an eye, and we're already hitting at that rate, we've been hitting at that rate for the last several years and the pandemic, very slightly perhaps accelerated it. But that's before the demographic crunch of high school grads hit starting after 2025.

So I kind of feel like we haven't even seen the full brunt of this yet. And then third, I'll just speak in defense of Nick's point I think, and something I've written too in Inside Higher Ed, which is, none of this is preordained. You know this. You're a trustee at a school. Colleges and universities can innovate. They can learn to serve adult learners, for example, where the growth might be. We had Michelle Weise on the show this year talking about her book, Long-Life Learning. I'm at Guild Education, where we serve employees of America's largest employers by giving them opportunities to up-skill and advance their learning from top schools. And they're literally roughly 88 million adults who need more up-skilling to save their jobs in the years ahead.

So there's a lot of opportunity to innovate, but also I think it's fair to say that colleges have cut way more dramatically than I ever expected, and in ways that in some cases have allowed them to avoid declaring financial exigency. They've slashed whole departments, for example, which have allowed them to cut tenured faculty that I'll say I was wrong on. I and others I think, had assumed those were essentially a fixed cost on their balance sheet. But the report from Moody's that you cited Jeff, shows that I think these institutions have been able to make massive cuts that have really allowed them to preserve their cash position, even as revenue has dropped dramatically. So, maybe another part of the story is that they're more nimble and flexible than I and others have expected, but I'm not sure it's going to change the macro-story. So, that's my brain dump on the issue. But I think it's a really interesting unfolding that no one's rooting for schools to go out of business, but it is going to change the higher ed landscape over a generation I think it's fair to say.

And so look, I'd love to turn that around to you though on a last reflection, which is we had two great reporter round-table episodes this year, which it's a great way to cover a lot of ground about what they're hearing in their reporting and given your own higher ed chops came from reporting, I'm just curious if you have any reflections on those specific conversations.

Jeff:

Yeah. Michael, I want to go back to a poll to answer that. I want to go back to a poll that Gallup did just before the pandemic that showed the less than half the country had strong confidence in the nation's colleges. No other institution declined as much as higher education colleges, universities in the previous three years from when Gallup took that poll. And what was interesting was that it was bipartisan in an era of hyper-partisanship. Well, Democrats, Republicans, don't like higher education. And then, fast forward to a poll that we've referenced recently that both Gallup and the Carnegie Foundation for New York did recently, where half of American parents wish that there were other options for their children after high school, then a four-year college. Now, we talk about alternative pathways in both of our writing and here on the show.

And so, I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing and I get it, especially after a year of Zoom school, but what's clearly showing here is that the product of traditional higher education seems to not be serving the needs of 18-year-olds, let alone 50-year-olds, which we talk about often. So what do we do about it? And that's what I was thinking about when we were listening to those reporters, the six reporters that we've had on, or the five reporters, I guess, that we've had on in these reporter round-tables. And I had a lot of time a couple of weeks ago to think about this because I was their commencement speaker at Ferrum College which is a tiny institution in Southern Virginia, 45 miles Southeast of Roanoke. And it was nearly a five-hour drive for me. And so, I played that favorite game whenever I'm on a road trip, you pass all those right green highway signs announcing colleges. And I always think, "Have I heard of that college?" Well, thinking of you, "Will that college be in business in a couple of years?" And I passed all these places.

Michael:

Jeff, you could play that game incidentally, just in Massachusetts, just driving within a 10 mile radius.

Jeff:

Right, I don't have to travel five hours to get there. Right, so there's James Madison and there's Blue Ridge Community College. There was Mary Baldwin, Washington and Lee. We're not far from Sweet Briar, which we all well know, made national news a couple of years ago for almost closing. And so, I started to think back to when I started my career in journalism at the Ithaca Journal. And I was helping the higher ed reporter there. And then I went to North Carolina where I knew the higher ed reporter at the Raleigh News and Observer, which by the way, not only had a higher ed reporter in Raleigh, but also had three other reporters covering higher education, Duke, NC State and Chapel Hill in Carolina.

Michael:

Wow.

Jeff:

So four reporters, and now today they barely have one. And so, and then I went to the Chronicle of Higher Education where I read the local papers. National reporters that we've had on this year, the five national reporters we've had on this year really depend on local papers. So a long way to get to the answer to your question is that I really worry in terms of going back to those Gallup polls and things like that, that local journalism we know is in crisis. Newsroom jobs of all types have fallen greatly over the last couple of decades. And really no one is keeping their eye on the local university. We know that in many cities, whether it's Dallas or Denver or Memphis, there's no local reporter focusing on higher education in so many ways, whether it's Nick at The Washington Post or whether it's Melissa at The Wall Street Journal or Alisa at MPR or Karen at The Chronicle, we all depend on what's happening at the local level to bubble up to the national level, to start to see trends.

And again, people form their opinions about education, whether it's K through 12 or higher ed in their local towns. And when no one's covering it, it really worries me. It's one of the reasons why I'm really rooting for Open Campus where my newsletter comes out of, because they're really thinking of this model where national reporters can help a local network of regional and state higher education reporters to really help with their reporting. And so, it's also one of the reasons why I mentioned on that round-table that we had with the national reporters. We're definitely going to do this next time. And I hope, I think we're going to plan to have folks from local communities, local community reporters who cover higher education, city reporters, statewide reporters, so that we get a perspective about what's happening if we can find them I guess, to get a perspective of what's happening in individual places around higher education.

Again, we tend to think, we tend to talk even on this show about higher education as a system. And we all know it's not a system it's a federation of local, state and regional institutions. And so, I really hope that we could do that next year when we're doing the reporters round-table.

Michael:

Perfect, Jeff, that's a great place I think to leave it. And when we come right back on Future U, we'll turn to taking some audience questions and then finishing up our wrap up by projecting forward in the year ahead. So we'll be right back.

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Support for this podcast is provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is committed to preserving and expanding educational opportunity for today's students now more than ever. Learn more at postsecondary.gatesfoundation.org. It's a turbulent time in higher ed. How's your university responding to the changes? Too many colleges and universities are marketing themselves in ways that don't matter. They're too focused on promoting features and benefits. That game is over. Learn more about growing enrollment, engagement, loyalty, and advocacy through shared values and emotional connection. Visit bvk.com today to schedule a complimentary presentation of the big brand theory to learn how values-based marketing will help your university win.

Michael:

Welcome back to Future U. We have gotten a lot of audience questions, Jeff, and we can't hit all of them, but it's part of a new feature we're introducing as part of all this, which is?

Jeff:

We got swag, Michael, we're giving away Future U branded Tervis tumblers for everyone. And we're also waiting to get the Yeti coffee mugs as well. So they'll be coming on soon. But right now we have the tumblers. And so, everyone who submits a question that we take on Future U. So as we start to plan for next year, for those listening, be sure to stay engaged. Hit us up so we can send you these great gifts that you're definitely going to want. And I will really say, I'll say Michael they're pretty awesome.

Michael:

Yeah, that's awesome. Jeff, and I'll say kudos to Jeff for putting this together, but with that as a little goodie and enticement, let's dive in. We've got a bunch of great questions. Where do you want to go first Jeff?

Jeff:

So Michael, our first question comes from Ivan Cestero, a head of experience design at MYX, who asks, "Given the trends around college, the college value proposition, great unbundling and employer needs, how do you see hybrid evolving over the next one to three years? I mean, some combination of online and experiential learning, ideally real-world learning, organizational or community partners." Michael, this relates of course, to some of our conversation with Mark Becker of Georgia State recently.

Michael:

Yeah. And I think it's timely also just my own perspective on this has recently changed a little bit Jeff, I recently gave a talk for the LX Consortium, Learning Experience Consortium that changed my view somewhat, which is, I think a lot of folks they think about learning experiences or real-world learning either in the Northeastern model, where you alternate semesters or more as a capstone where it's on the backend of an experience. And I guess my takeaway from this is that for certain students with certain jobs to be done when they come to college, so help me get away or help me do what's expected of me from our book Choosing College, that they actually need these experiences on the front end of the learning. It can't wait for the backend. And the reason is you need short, immersive sprints so they can build a sense of, what the heck is out there that I might do. What do I like doing? What are the possible career pathways? How do I build a network in these places? And so forth. So that they can learn much more about themselves?

And so, my sense is that colleges and universities, which have been moving more toward integrating experiential learning as part of these hybrid experiences on the backend in many cases or in these alternating models, they're going to start putting it on the front end in fact. And so you see, BYU, Idaho, they have their certificate-first program, which flips the gen ed sequence on its head and they got a 20% bump in retention rate, first year retention rate, incredible. Pathstream, they do digital marketing at Facebookers certificates from Salesforce, things like that. And these are ways to be super-experiential in the learning and get course credit and a certificate. Duet in Boston, which is Southern New Hampshire, combined with an in-person school as a hybrid learning experience. But it takes people who are working on the ground and puts them in these projects from Southern New Hampshire's competency-based institution, that is much more real-world-based.

Western Governors University, similar like that. Guild, our academic partners are increasingly valuing workplace learning for credit. And then you've got companies like [Riipen 00:26:18] and Parker Dewey, Jeff, who were able to integrate in effect real-world experiences or projects or micro-internships into courses themselves to count for credit. So I think we're seeing an explosion of this as both the experiential learning occurring through the online medium, but also I expect academic institutions in the years ahead to innovate a lot more about when those experiences occur and through partners in a variety of ways. So I think it's going to be exciting and it hearkens back to what Mark Becker told us, which is, "If you think you're going to go back to what you were doing beforehand, not a good idea. Most people need to keep innovating on this." And on that note, let me fire a question back to you Jeff.

So Duane Bonifer at Monmouth College asks, quote, "Will free community college essentially be the federal government's lone effort to say it's done something to reign in the cost of college? If more people earn a free a associate's degree and then transfer that will drive down overall cost of the bachelor's degree, something that you could brag about in a campaign." So Jeff, what's your take?

Jeff:

So I don't think so, largely because the transfer pipeline, unless four-year colleges really improve that transfer pipeline from community colleges. And maybe they'll have some incentive to do that, but they're also going to be giving up a lot of revenue by having students transfer after two years. But we know from the current data that something like 80% of students go to community colleges now wanting to transfer to a four-year institution, but only 20% do. So we would have to make a lot of improvement on that. Where I think, and we probably should have a whole show about free community college next year, but where I think the free community college potentially could make a dent in something is, is more so, as we're recording the show today, the April jobs report came out and it was a shock to the system I think. Most people were predicting a million jobs to be created in April and we had a fraction of that. It was the headlines as we're recording, this are all over the place about this.

But we do know that we had 430,000 Americans were either working or looking for work in April in addition to the ones who found jobs. And I think one of the things that is, who knows what's going on with the job market right now, it's interesting. I mentioned earlier as I was driving home from that commencement in Southern Virginia last week, not only did I notice those green highway signs with the college names, but almost every sign I passed for anything, whether it was a manufacturing company, a warehouse or a retail sign, help on it.

Michael:

Yeah. I'm hearing a lot of that, Jeff, right now.

Jeff:

Big signs. And economists keep giving all the reasons why, whether it is the unemployment benefits, whether it's still COVID and people are afraid to go back to work, whether it's childcare, we're not going to get into that on Future U, but there's a piece that I want to get into Michael, which we talk about all the time, which is skills and do people have the skills needed to do these jobs? Especially if they're changing industries are changing employers. Do they have the right skills and where are they going to get those? Is that the role that free community college could play? I'm still skeptical of that, because I don't think the programs at community colleges as currently constructed really help people get the skills they need to get those jobs tomorrow, when many of these employers need people, they don't need people two years from now. And so, I think that's going to be the continuing problem coming out of this recession or this pandemic.

Michael:

Yeah. So that's perfect, Jeff, and we can use that as a segue to wrap up by turning our own attention to the fall and thinking, we'll revisit this topic as you said. But let's forecast a little bit for the future of higher education. We heard a lot from the reporters in our shows, talking about the major storylines that they'll be watching for, but I actually don't know Jeff what's on your own mind, what's the top storyline to watch or a prediction that's floating around in your head?

Jeff:

Well, so two things that I'm watching there is a desire for normalcy. We all want it. I went to the Washington Nationals game the other day.

Michael:

I'm jealous.

Jeff:

It was my first time in the park, since the World Series in 2019, it was great to be back at a Major baseball game. And I think we're all looking for that normalcy. So how does that impact higher ed? I think in the fall, there will be a push on college campuses from administrators to students to faculty to say, "Okay, that was an interesting experiment, now let's get back to the way we used to do things." And so, how do we make sure that we capture and move forward with all that we learned and want to continue for this year? So I think that's number one. And then second, there's a lot of discussion and debate, to be honest with you, it seems at least on social media about this concept of learning loss over the last year, but we don't talk as much about the social, emotional loss of students.

And I'm talking to a lot of parents of high school seniors right now, and even college of parents of college students who are really worried about their kids when they go back to a more normal fall and all the high risk behaviors that we know happen on college campuses. And the question is, will it just be animal house? Well, people just go crazy, because the world is back to some sort of normalcy and we've been pent up for the last year, sequestered in our bedrooms and will 18-year-olds do what 18-year-olds do, but just times 20. And how are colleges and universities going to deal with that? This has come up in questions that I'm getting from parents Michael, about one of your favorite subjects, gap years, and maybe they should send their students off to do some sort of gap year to kind of ease them back into life.

Michael:

Wow, that's fascinating. So, one other quick question, Jeff, I'm just curious, you heard my exhaustive take on college consolidation. I'm just curious your hot take on this question, because it is timely.

Jeff:

And I think one of the things, and you mentioned it, I think the federal dollars is really heading this off for right now. I think that has helped a lot of colleges and universities. But one thing that really worries me for the longterm is that we keep talking about this demographic cliff in the middle of this decade. This is not just a cliff. It's really a systemic demographic issue for colleges. We saw the news recently that 2020 was the worst year for birth since 1979.

Michael:

Yeah. Hearkening back to when I was born. Yeah.

Jeff:

And so, we're not going back to even the millennial generation where we saw this huge uptake in the number of 18-year-olds going to college. If somebody once said, "If they ain't born, they're not going to college." So, I think that this is going to be not just a demographic cliff, but a demographic trough in some ways for a very long time for colleges and universities. So now let me turn to you that forward-looking question back to you Michael. What do you think the next big disruption might be that that colleges should prepare for? I think if we went back to Future U a couple of years ago, nobody had global pandemic on their bingo card. So what do you think they should have on their bingo card?

Michael:

Yeah, it's a great question, Jeff. And you'd really need a year to prepare for this, I suppose, exhaustively, but look, if technology was our savior out of the pandemic. I mean, for all the people lambasted Zoom, you and so forth, incredible how technology allowed universities to pivot effectively, overnight and still provide a higher education experience. What's the flip-side of that? Cybersecurity challenges. And I think, this technology infrastructure, it's a national security issue I think that we're not taking nearly seriously enough. We know China is fast-rising. They're building folks very capable of playing this game of cybersecurity and being vulnerable. I think cybersecurity is a significant issue. And then I think tied in with that as a macro-issue, Jeff, which is, the only difference right now between the Cold War with the USSR, when we were growing up and the relationship with China right now is that economically the United States is much more entangled with China than it was with the Soviet Union.

So it's a little bit different than the Cold War that I've heard some forecasters start to say, "We're really entering a Cold War right now with China." But I do think that we are entering something that is fundamentally different. And that relationship with China from international students, we heard it from Karen to free speech issues, to frankly, rising global universities in China that I think are going to get much more aggressive on research, not just teaching, something that I think universities have to spend a lot of time on. And David Gergen when he was on reference the book, Predictable Surprises. But I think the big thing is that to your point of walking and chewing gum at the same time, universities ought to take some real time to do deliberate exercises and risk management, where they're looking to what is the federal government and the military planners thinking that could happen, that are sort of those black swan moments.

And there are a lot of clues around, but I think people ought to be thinking about what could upset your own school the most? And starting to plan around that. And we'll leave it with that daunting, I guess, point Jeff, but it's a good place I think, to kick off, because we're going to be continuing over the summer, obviously, personally, to look at what are the signs on the way to the future of higher education? But we will wrap this season for now, because it has been a season like none other. And for all our listeners, we really appreciate the opportunity to continue to engage with you and have conversations online and through the show. And we'll look forward to being back with you next year, toward the end of summer in what we hope is a very different and improved landscape. Until then, stay safe and we'll see you next season on Future U.

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