Posted by John Gillis
May 14, 2020
 
After President Joe Privitera called the meeting to order, we were led in Welcome to Rotary and the Birthday Song by Charlie Huffman with Carl Bolte on the piano, followed by Pledge of Allegiance and a thoughtful Invocation by Charlie Rogers.  
 
Club Anniversaries were noted as follows:
Overton Durrett - 20 years; Dennis O’Dell - 43 years.
 
ANNOUNCEMENTS:
A survey will be sent out next week regarding your feelings as to when we can return to “normal” (in person) meetings and the format of those meetings. 
 
Jan Armstrong introduced our speaker (& one of our own Club 13 members), Brad Kleindl, Dean Park University College of Management on the timely topic of “The Impact of Covid-19 on Higher Education”.  Brad’s presentation was very very interesting and I recommend the Facebook recording. As a historical background, Brad delivered “The History of Higher Education in 3 Minutes” with the first “universities” going back to the University of Salerno and in 425 AD the University of Constantinople (in now what is Istanbul, Turkey). The first Western European university with formally established professors was the University of Bologna in 1088, thereafter the University of Paris (1150) and Oxford University (1167). Later nine colleges were established by the Colonists in America, beginning with Harvard in 1636. Two Hundred years later, Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia (1825) to challenge the rigid classical curriculum with eight different courses of study.  In 1862, the Morrill Act provided for donated public lands to several States and Territories to provide for colleges for the benefit of agricultural and mechanical studies, which was the beginning of the American public research university system.  Nothing changed again until after World War II.
 
The Post World War II “GI Bill” help create the Knowledge Economy.  Before WWII there were 160,000 U.S. citizens in U.S. colleges.  By 1956, 7.8 million WWII veterans had participated in education or training programs resulting in 450,000 trained engineer, 240,000 accountants, 238,000 teachers, 91,000 scientists,  7,000 doctors, 22,000 dentists, and more that a million other college-educated men and women.  Many of those students were older hardened veterans, only to be followed by the Baby-Boom Generation. In conclusion, two things are worthy of note (1) the university-college system has very longstanding traditions (i.e. graduation robes) and (2) through last year, the classroom setting was very similar to 425 AD in that the teachers lectured and later assessed (tested) the students.
 
The method of delivery of education began to change in the early 1990’s.  The presented timeline showed: 1990’s Early Online Innovators (Park University included); 2002 growth of the For-Profit Universities (University of Phoenix); 2006 growth of the Non-Profits Universities (University of Southern New Hampshire & Liberty University); 2010 decline of the For-Profit Universities; 2012 Growth of the State University Global Campuses; 2020 a brand New World. The online based )non-traditional) schools are much better situated than traditional schools to address online education in the 2020/2021 landscape. For example, Liberty University, with over 100,000 online students, have teachers creating those taped classes and an administrative educational structure to support those students. Prior to 2020 the college students were 50/50 between online and on campus students, but with the Covid-19 environment, students needed to go online and the non-traditional online schools were the ones already equipped to handle them.  The traditional schools were not ready. 
 
Brad further provided the background on the multiple steps involved in creating online classes. An interesting revelation dealt with tuition costs. In effect the cost per student have not risen that much. What has changed is the allocation between who pays for it. State funding per student has declined resulting in the students bearing an increasing share of the costs. The States politicians are caught in the middle with State revenue remaining relatively constant, but the costs of social programs, grade school & high school education, and correctional facilities all rising. The States are mandated to cover those costs, resulting in squeezing down the dollars available for college costs (i.e. not mandated).
 
Additionally, there are concerns with the international trends for the U.S. The U.S.’s high school test results placed the U.S. number 12 with China and China related areas capturing the top four places.  Further in our global competition with China, noting their 3 to 1 population advantage over us, the Chinese are putting an emphasis on higher education.  Chinese universities’ enrollment went from 7.36 million in 2000 to 44 million in 2018.  Graduates from Chinese universities went from 17,000 in 1950 to 8.34 million in 2019. Total U.S. universities’ graduates were 3.9 million. These highlight concerns over our position in comparison with the Chinese and also with India. The educational landscape and our position therein, which stated so traditional for so long, has changed dramatically with some schools ready and some not.  With traditional universities bound to their methods, it is easier for them to create separate new online educational divisions than to convert the universities as a whole to new environment.
President Joe Privitera wrapped up the meeting with the Four Way Test.

**You can watch weekly meetings via Facebook Live at Downtown Kansas City Rotary Club 13.**

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