What to expect in Higher Education in 2020

by Belfort Group | Higher Education
December 16, 2019

A lot has happened in higher education this year, particularly around the sustainability of small and private colleges. However, higher ed is a big space and at the Belfort Group, we currently work with and have worked with some of the most embedded professionals in the space.

As 2019 comes to an end, what better opportunity is there for our higher ed experts to tell us what we can expect in 2020:

Peter Methot, Associate Dean, Executive Education at Rutgers Business School

“I predict that the macro trend in executive and professional education for 2020 and beyond is the shift to meet a wider and deeper need of continuous learning (or, Lifelong Learning). For decades, we have seen the divide between formal learning in degrees earned through undergraduate and graduate programs and the informal experiences gained through non-degree certificate programs. But with the pace of change and the need for learners to manage continuous learning throughout their careers, the stacking and integration of these opportunities is being thrust on educational partners to be more learner-centric and build ecosystems of relevant learning to support their various career journeys. There is little doubt that this is how the university will stay engaged and provide value for their various learners, but the relevancy challenge is one that all institutions will have to address. How do we create enough practical and relevant learning experiences to keep pace with the business challenges our learners are facing? I also expect that Universities will have to be more engaged with the business community than they ever have been in the past.”


Petia Whitmore, Managing Director, The MBA Tour

“I operate in the MBA and business master’s degrees space. In 2020, I expect to continue to see that space disrupted. While the need for management and leadership skills remains very high, the sources of learning these skills will continue to shift. Young professionals will continue to favor incremental, JIT, technology-enabled bursts of learning with a strong focus on acquiring a specific skill. Of course, there will always be those who truly need – and want – a full immersion in a graduate management degree in order to level up. But the consideration of such degrees will be even more heavily scrutinized through an ROI lens and their delivery will be much more globally distributed, with Asia continuing to expand its role as a strong business school hub.”


Bill Boozang, Associate Dean, Graduate & Professional Programs; Executive Director, Online Programs at Emmanuel College

“In full-time undergraduate education, the debate on value for a liberal arts degree continues. Return on investment and student debt continue to take center stage. In public higher education, the cultural conversation needs to pivot from finger-pointing for high tuition to the divestment of state legislatures in the public systems, coinciding with the shift of higher education’s role as a public benefit to a luxury. Continuing education (CE) is a dynamic Enterprise, which changes based on need and market demand. With sustained low unemployment rates, CE turns to ways to up-skill employees though non-credit, short term offerings; for community colleges, continuing to deliver on the middle skills, and reconceiving continuing education as a marathon rather than a sprint. Still waiting on the flying cars.”


Vicky Jaffe, Director of Marketing & Development, Manchester Community College (NH)

“With the numbers of high school grads declining every year, the challenge continues to be setting yourself apart from the competition. Affordability and small class sizes are the hallmark of community college and are important differentiators. Manchester Community College started almost 75 years ago as a trade school for returning Veterans from WWII. As a comprehensive community college today (where more than half our students are liberal arts majors), we have to remain true to our roots while highlighting our more than 30 various programs. Using the Guided Pathways model helps sort programs and the Career Coach online tool can also guide prospective students, but there’s nothing better than in-person advising. In 2020, more resources need to be channeled to academic advising.”

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