Council on Library and Information Resources – The Changing Landscape of Library and Information Services: What Presidents, Provosts, and Finance Officers Need to Know – 14 pages
Rapidly evolving digital technologies and services are enabling change that is undermining the financial model supporting many colleges and universities while simultaneously offering solutions to address those challenges. Nearly ubiquitous access to the Internet, coupled with a range of freely available learning resources such as Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative, EdX’s massive open online courses (MOOCs), and the Khan Academy’s video tutorials, is feeding a perception that traditional higher education costs too much. Lower cost, competency-based programs such as College for America, offered by Southern New Hampshire University; Personalized Learning, offered by Northern Arizona University; and Flexible Option, offered by the University of Wisconsin system are redefining the college degree and further undermining the perceived value of traditional programs. All of these initiatives are still in their infancy; as they mature and other entries join the field, we can expect the challenges facing higher education to intensify.
In December 2013, the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) sponsored a workshop that explored the ways in which library and information technology services (LITS) organizations and academic institutions will need to evolve in the face of new challenges and opportunities. The workshop discussions, reflected in this paper, offer insight into how the transformative potential of an evolving digital infrastructure can help relieve the pressures faced by our institutions. Members of CLIR’s chief information officers (CIOs) group, comprising CIOs responsible for integrated library and information technology services organizations, organized the workshop. Although most of the group’s members work at small, private, residential colleges, their observations may resonate with leaders from other types of institutions, including larger colleges and universities, as well as institutions that do not have integrated LITS organizations. New, lower cost educational programs are undermining the perceived value of traditional programs.