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The Landscape

"Who's On The Line? Gauging the Most Pressing Issues Facing Higher Education"
January 2005
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Unlike their counterparts in private industry, higher education’s institutional leaders are not so lucky when it comes to finding the help they need to answer the pressing questions of the day. Before 2002, when the University of Pennsylvania launched The Learning Alliance for Higher Education, many institutions were left with a nagging sense that they couldn’t afford, either financially or politically, the help they needed most. What higher education really needed was a way to strike the balance between academic pursuits and the realities of the market—in large measure by coupling the leadership skills the academy has traditionally valued with the kind of expertise that focuses on markets, technology, and management practices.

Such was the logic underlying the launching of The Learning Alliance for Higher Education as the successor to Penn’s Institute for Research on Higher Education, the Pew Higher Education Roundtable, and the Knight Collaborative. Drawing on the experience garnered by those organizations over the last two decades, The Learning Alliance is becoming higher education’s decision-making hot line for higher education executives—a number they can call to work through their most pressing problems. This issue of the Landscape draws upon the substance of those phone calls and the titles of the callers, as a gauge indicating where higher education is most likely to need help and who is most likely to ask.