Lehman College President Ricardo R. Fernández delivered the keynote address at the University of Guam’s 60th Anniversary Presidential Forum and predicted that over the next several decades the digital revolution will drive major changes in the process of credentialing students and workers.
Beyond the impact technology has already made on higher education, he said, students in the future would “assemble electronic portfolios of their educational journey, and a new way will emerge to evaluate and validate what they have learned.” These portfolios would be filled, he explained, with courses and certificates issued not only by colleges and universities but also by employers and others — and they would replace today’s standard 120-credit curriculum as the basis for a college degree or a credential to qualify for employment.
“The quality of programs,” he said, “would be judged by the knowledge and skills graduates can demonstrate via exams or other outcome-based learning assessments, not by the number of courses they take, the grades they earn or the reputation of the university.”
Dr. Fernández delivered his remarks July 2 before an audience of fellow college presidents, who had gathered in Guam to discuss the future of the island and its region.
Panel discussions at the meeting centered on the roles that universities and colleges play as agents of political, social and economic change and development. Panelists included Dr. Ganesh Chand, vice chancellor of Fiji National University; Dr. David Hall, president of the University of the Virgin Islands; Dr. Mary A.Y. Okada, president of Guam Community College and president of the Pacific Postsecondary Education Council; Dr. Alfredo Pascual, president of the University of the Philippines; Dr. Donald Straney, chancellor of the University of Hawai`i at Hilo; and Dr. Reynaldo B. Vea, president of Mapúa Institute of Technology in the Philippines.
“We face unprecedented challenges and opportunities as we look at the changing dynamics of our region,” said University of Guam President Dr. Robert Underwood. “Social change, economic progress and environmental sustainability remain key considerations in our look to the future. When you add regionalization and globalization to the conversation, the discussion increases in complexity and importance.
“Universities play a unique role in the development of society and economy,” he added, “so we’re very honored to have a variety of perspectives to be shared with the university community and the entire community of Guam.”
An unincorporated territory of the U.S since 1898, the island of Guam is home to 186,000 residents. Located in the western Pacific Ocean, it is the largest of the Mariana Islands. Enrolling approximately 3,300 undergraduates, the University of Guam is the major institution of higher education in the Western Pacific. A U.S. public land-grant institution, it is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.