CNDLS Welcomes Higher Ed Futurist Dr. Bryan Alexander as Senior Scholar

Bryan Alexander

Dr. Bryan Alexander

We are excited to introduce one of our newest CNDLS Senior Scholars, Dr. Bryan Alexander. As a Senior Scholar, Alexander teaches courses in Georgetown’s Master’s Program in Learning, Design, and Technology. We sat down with him to learn more about his work in higher education and with CNDLS, and his vision for strengthening the work of learning and design at Georgetown.

Dr. Alexander, please share a bit about your background working in higher education and your most recent research.
Hello! My background: PhD in literature from the University of Michigan, faculty member at Centenary College of Louisiana, Director of Emerging Technology at the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education, and creator of both Bryan Alexander Consulting and the Future of Education Observatory.

Recent research: I’m focusing on the future of higher education. Topics therein include technology, demographics, macroeconomics, policy, and human creativity.

Would you mind elaborating on your areas of research?
Sure! My literature work involved the Gothic and cyberculture, so naturally October is the greatest month of all. I also did work in multi-campus teaching and information literacy. In my futures work I explore how education may change under the impact of many trends and change drivers. What happens, for instance, as our population ages? How does face-to-face learning change with the availability of networked devices? What is the impact of escalating income and wealth inequality on colleges designed to build up a middle class? Overall, I think we’re seeing a golden age for learning, but a very challenging time for managing educational institutions.

You do a lot of futuring work. Can you share your perspective on the role of a teaching and learning center like CNDLS in the current—and future—landscape of higher education?
Organizations like CNDLS have the excellent capacity to step back within an institution and examine how it functions, then develop creative approaches for how it can experiment and improve. This often involves collaboration with many similar organizations around the world.  Unusually, CNDLS also teaches students, which is awesome.

We are excited to have you teaching in the Learning, Design, and Technology Master’s program. Can you share a bit about your course, Studies in Higher Education?
Certainly. The class explores the many ways higher education can change. That necessitates a deep dive into the breadth of American higher education, including its geographic and institutional diversity, as well as the institutional mechanisms we use to structure and maintain campuses. This also requires looking into research across multiple domains, so we’ve read economics, organizational analysis, sociology, and more. I’ve also added some science fiction stories, partly for inspiration, and also because science fiction does a fine job of getting us thinking about the future.