COLUMBIA, S.C. (courtesy columbiasc.edu) — Forbes magazine recently polled higher education leaders for their viewpoints regarding the reinvention of colleges and universities post-pandemic.
Dr. Ezaz Ahmed, Dean of Business, Entrepreneurship, & Technology at Columbia College, offered his perspective on how administrators can support faculty who have to teach in new ways and students who have to learn in new ways (excerpt from Glenn Llopis’ feature for Forbes):
“When we have a rapid change, when we have an overnight macro disruption such as Covid-19, the old skillset that we have accrued is not going to work,” he said. “We need to train our professors, our heads of departments, our deans and others to ensure that they can embrace the change. Change process is now continuous.”
What needs to happen in the next 12 months that will define the next three to five years?
“One of the top priorities for higher education right now should be training their faculty members,” said Dr. Ahmed. “In fact, it should be a priority for the accreditation bodies as well. They should demand that colleges and universities invest money and resources for training, for online teaching, leadership in teaching and learning. It’s very important.”
He said we also need to ensure that as we expand the programs online, the courses are offered in a way that is student-centered. That means not just transferring some slides online.
“Student-centered learning means that students are highly engaged,” said Dr. Ahmed. “They are interested in the topic. They are interested in learning more about the topic in the future. Remember, one of the reasons students come to the university is not only to learn about subject matter – but also to learn HOW to learn, so it is a life-long learning pattern.”
He also stressed the importance of asking the students how they’re doing.
“Students learn differently,” he said. “Not two students will be learning in the same way. Some students might even have learning difficulties. Considering that, we should focus on understanding what students like to have out of these courses, and then we should also cater or provide more customized and personalized teaching experiences and learning experiences.”
Please click here to read the entire Forbes feature.