The Road Ahead for Higher Ed

Emerging Trends

90-120 min keynote presentation, or full-day workshop 

As colleges and universities accelerate toward an uncertain future, there are nonetheless clear signs that the road ahead will be congested with local and global competition, that urbanization and immigration patterns will increasingly reroute student traffic to a handful of major metropolitan centres, that government funding will no longer fuel the status quo, and that new technologies and pedagogical approaches will leave many feeling like they are no longer in the driver’s seat. The majority of Canadian institutions will face “peak campus” by 2030, and will need to serve an increasingly diverse array of students with rising expectations for personalized, flexible, unbundled and interdisciplinary educational options, career-relevant programs, work-integrated learning experiences, and accommodations and supports for special needs.  Libraries, textbooks, classroom instruction, student evaluation and credentials themselves are under increasing pressure to evolve, and many institutions have already shifted into the fast lane to explore the potential of new technologies and operational strategies. Institutions that aim to survive and thrive in a rapidly-changing landscape will need to clarify their destination, and map their own unique route to get there – but no matter the route, they will need to take into account the continually changing warning signs of demographic, economic, political, social, and technological changes on the road ahead.

Ken has a truly remarkable command of current developments in the world of postsecondary education, both in Canada and beyond. His presentations are engaging, stimulating, and provocative — and delivered in a manner guaranteed to make audiences think about the future direction of PSE and the ways in which their own institutions might make the most of them. I recommend him highly.

Dr. Leo Groarke, President & Vice-Chancellor, Trent University

Ken Steele is Canada’s leading higher education monitor and futurist. He co-founded Academica Group, created the Academica Top Ten, manages Eduvation Inc, co-authored Canada’s first book on enrolment management, and hosts a weekly webcast, Ten with Ken, that reaches thousands of subscribers on a dozen platforms. Ken brings his unique perspective and insight to a broad range of audiences, from faculty and instructors, boards and senior administration, to information technology staff, concerned parents, and Canada’s most powerful corporate CEOs.

In this dynamic, visual and media-rich keynote, Ken synthesizes a vast array of up-to-the-moment research data, trends, news and forecasts to provide an unparalleled “big picture” view of emerging trends shaping the course of higher education in Canada and around the world, and some “bright ideas” representing best practices or promising practices in response. The content of the presentation is being continually updated, and will be customized for your region, institution, audience and objectives for the day.  (Ken will schedule a one-hour call with your leadership, and will review your most recent institutional strategic plan, to help focus the presentation for your needs.)


Ideal Audiences

  • Board Retreats
  • Executive Teams
  • Academic Retreats
  • Deans & Directors
  • SEM Committees
  • Campus PD
  • Conference Keynotes
  • Launch for Strategic Plan Renewal

Optional Extras

  • You could schedule this as a full-day retreat, a half-day workshop, or a keynote presentation followed by Q&A.
  • You might consider 2 or 3 presentations, possibly for a variety of audiences, drawn from Ken’s hot topics.
  • For larger-scale impact on a strategic planning process, we could compile data and write an environmental scan or white paper to provide context specific to your institution. (Scope and costs subject to further discussion.)

Related Resources:

These articles and white papers reflect some of Ken’s ideas, and could potentially be used as pre-reading for workshop participants:

Here are some relevant episodes of 10K, for a sense of Ken’s approach and as potential examples to share with participants in advance:



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