Wisconsin School of Business Dean François Ortalo-Magné spoke about the future of higher education funding on a panel at the Counterfactual Campus Kickoff at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery on Tuesday.
Ortalo-Magné was joined by Robert Wolcott, executive director of the Kellogg Innovation Network at Northwestern University in Chicago. The panel was moderated by Mike Knetter, president of the UW Foundation and former dean of the Wisconsin School of Business.
The group discussed the trends of the past 30 years in the funding of higher education, primarily the shift from public to private capital. The panel also debated the role of innovation and collaboration, as well as where higher education could improve in those areas.
Ortalo-Magné argued that universities have done well with individual research, but haven’t made relationships among researchers a priority.
“It’s a great system for individual innovation, and we’ve been successful as a group of individuals,” he said. “Think about how much better we can be as a group.”
In terms of student learning, both panelists agreed that higher education has an opportunity to innovate.
“Teaching is about learning,” Ortalo-Magné said. “We’ve lost track of learning outcomes.”
Wolcott agreed and added that the U.S. should invest in new learning platforms and non-traditional higher education institutions, such as technical schools and apprenticeships.
“We have vast opportunities to provide people with what’s needed for the 21st century,” Wolcott said.