Susan Gallagher-Lepak, Dean, College of Health, Education and Welfare, UW Green Bay

“You’ve given me an accessible way to consider what might be coming for our campus.” That’s one of the encouraging responses I received from colleagues recently as we wrapped up our own 3-session virtual webinar series called “The Future of Higher Education.” Inspired by my experience in the Envision Foresight workshops with Garry Golden, and with the support of my Provost and colleagues, I led a work group which planned and offered the series this spring.

Because we have four University of Wisconsin Green Bay campuses (Green Bay, Manitowoc, Sheboygan and Marinette), we felt a virtual offering of our seminars about the future of higher education would be most accessible. In fact, the response was so strong that we had 175 registrants attend at least one session. (50 attended all 3 sessions)

Garry Golden led our first session, called “Thinking Like a Futurist,” with the intent to develop a mindset toward thinking about the future and scanning for signals. The remaining two sessions, using external speakers, helped us envision the future of student services and academics in higher education. Each virtual webinar had a UW-Green Bay moderator and was one hour in length.

Asked what they’d learned, participants shared comments like this:

  • “I learned that being future-minded means considering multiple scenarios.”
  • “I thought the information about how to think through possible future states was interesting and seemed like an accessible way to consider what might be coming.”
  • “I learned about tons of trends and examples of how other institutions are approaching changes in higher education.”
  • “I see now that we need to reimagine the student experience in the context of our own campus’ needs, and that we need to move beyond the words ‘department’ and ‘office.’ That’s a powerful thought.”

In post-webinar evaluations, participants affirmed the virtual format, expressed a desire to “continue this conversation,” and shared their recommendations for future offerings on this topic.

Here is the flyer we created for our event.