Projections are frightening. Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, financial considerations were forcing the closing of increasing numbers of American colleges and universities. Higher education in the United States is facing a tsunami of economic issues and the abrupt shift to on-line learning has only accelerated the process.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. The wobbly two-legged stool that supports virtually every American school – tuition and endowment – was never designed to be sustainable into the 21st century. Instead, the university leaders of the future must embrace the best elements of the most forward-seeing and nimble practitioners of modern business – the entrepreneur.
Entrepreneuring the Future of Higher Education: Radical Transformation in Times of Profound Change is that rare nuts-and-bolts guide that provides the essential tools for colleges and universities to switch from barely surviving to thriving. Assisted by an impressive array experts and visionaries, higher education author and futurist Dr. Mary Landon Darden presents a do-able roadmap out of the morass of escalating costs and decreasing revenue.
In no-nonsense, sometimes blunt language, Darden lays out specific, revenue streams available to virtually every college – and a step-by-step primer on how to achieve them. Entrepreneuring is not a theoretical argument, parsed with passive-voice modifiers and exceptions. It is a blueprint on how to revive, restore and secure the academy in the second decade of the 21st century.
Each chapter addresses significant failures (or missed opportunity) that virtually all modern colleges can rapidly address and reform. Too many institutions are hopelessly attached to the failed practices of the past. Students have changed. Governments have changed. Economic engines and drivers have changed. The need to financially support higher education has not – and it is more crucial than ever.
Entrepreneuring the Future of Higher Education: Radical Transformation in Times of Profound Change is the answer for the post-COVID academy in America: Practical, unapologetically direct, awash in real-life applications and answers.
Mary Landon Dardenis a higher education futurist. She received her doctorate in higher education administration from Baylor University in 2006 and has more than two decades of higher education leadership and research experience. She founded Higher Education Innovation, LLC in 2015, an independent company with the mission to research, study, develop and provide entrepreneurial, innovative, and specialized training for higher education presidents and leaders to help their institutions move from survive to thrive. She is a regular speaker and keynote speaker on the topics of leadership and the future of higher education at conferences and universities globally.
About the Author
In Entrepreneuring the Future of Higher Education, Mary Landon Darden adds her voice to the myriad books, articles, and conference speakers sounding the customary alarm on higher education’s relevance, viability, cost, and struggle to innovate. The book offers a guide for taking stock of outdated functions and limited financial legs of an institution. Entrepreneuring is refreshing because of its focus on the majority versus those institutions pioneering the future, those in financial exigency, or those that won’t be touched by it.
I’ve been very impressed with Dr. Mary Darden’s vision for Higher Education Innovation and the talented team of educators and consultants she has assembled. They bring together the best of research and experience to help institutional leaders think differently about the role their institution plays in creating a more educated society, instilling in leaders the type of innovative and entrepreneurial thinking that HEI embraces in its programming and is needed in this time of radical and rapid change. I believe that HEI is the right educational leadership company at the right time in our chaotic world. Today, a new higher education leadership style is needed, and Darden, her team, and this book can help develop that new innovative leadership approach to move an institution from ordinary to exceptional.
Overflowing with applicable solutions, Mary’s book is not skewed by “what-if” dreaming, but instead offers realistic, reachable, and practical tools that presidents desperately need. Her research driven insights are refreshing, empowering, and courageous; this could be the key you’ve been seeking to dramatically change the trajectory of your university.
All will readily agree that these are biblical times. The challenges of race and virus of the past two years and the demographic decline ahead provide higher education with an existential crisis. Shakespeare tells us that King Richard III after his horse was killed in battle leaving him vulnerable to his enemy cried out "a horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse." Mary Darden's new book Entrepreneuring the Future of Higher Education "is a horse" for American higher education. It is the steed which if read and consulted may assist academic leadership to both overcome and flourish in the daunting days ahead. A companion in a struggle for radical transformation at the crossroads of profound change, every trustee, president and dean will want Darden's text to cover his/her six. Professors, students and their parents will find in these pages added value and knowledge, as well. The formula for averting an oncoming disaster has been captured in this wise volume by a professional leader and experienced scholar of the academic enterprise. If King Richard III had been learned by Darden he might still be on the throne.
While Mary Darden’s timely book on the tsunami of threats to higher education is written primarily for administrative leadership teams at American colleges and universities, those who serve on boards of trustees—and the institutions where they serve—will benefit from a better understanding of the pressures college presidents face today and the strategy shifts needed to survive these tumultuous times. The sub-title says it all: radical transformation is essential in times of profound change.
12/29/21, Baylor University Blog: Darden’s alma mater wrote a feature about her and her award-winning book.
1/27/2021 - The Wacoan (Waco's Magazine) published a lengthy interview with author Mary Darden about her book, her work, and the state of higher education in general. Link: https://www.wacoan.com/higher-education/
Adopting Instructors: Mary Darden is available as a guest lecturer in your class. You can contact her through her website: