What the Future May Hold

What do I want to do when I grow up? This was a question that we used to ask ourselves when we were younger, as if the time to be a grown up was so far away. Well, I do believe that for all intents and purposes, I must be grown up considering that I finished college, completed a Master’s degree, work full-time, and got married. But, what is it that I want to do? I enjoy being a teacher and an educator, but will I do this for the rest of my life? As stated in the previous post, studying at Walden University has afforded me the opportunity to envision myself beyond my present position. So far, one of my professors has suggested that I consider going into higher education. My husband also suggested that I consider teaching at the college level as a means of advancing my professional competence. For this blog post, I will imagine that I am an institutional researcher at a higher education institution who is studying the growth of for-profit colleges and universities. I will approach this topic through the lens of accuracy standard A1 Justified Conclusions and Decisions, which calls for evaluators to devise an assessment process that result in conclusions that can justify changes and modifications to programs (Yarbrough, Shulha, Hopson, & Caruthers, 2011).

For-profit higher education institutions have been increasing in prominence throughout that last 20 years. Despite the negative criticism these institutions receive, for-profits are widely regarding for putting a college education in the hands of those outside of the mainstream. Tierney (2011) believes that for-profit colleges and universities have an important role to play in the burgeoning knowledge economy of the United States. Tierney (2011) notes that the traditional colleges and universities are not able to meet the increasing demand for a college education that will be necessary for the US to maintain its global, economic position. For-profit institution’s ability to reach a large segment of society (working adults, first generation college students) is invaluable to helping the US become a more educated and skilled society (Tierney, 2011). To verify the accuracy of Tierney’s claims, an institutional researcher would have to first gather enough reliable information related to the US’s global, economic position and how it relates to the need for greater access to higher education. Then, the research would have to interpret the findings and determine what position for-profit educational organizations can occupy in the new knowledge economy. There are perhaps many steps the institutional researcher could take to find out more about this topic, but two methods mentioned above can be a starting point for maintaining accuracy in research finding by arriving at justifiable conclusions and decisions.


Tierney, W. G., (2011). Too Big To Fail: The Role of For-Profit Colleges and Universities in American Higher Education. Change, 43(6), 27–32. http://doi.org/10.1080/00091383.2011.618079

Yarbrough, D., Shulha, L., Hopson, R., & Caruthers, F. (Eds.). (2011). The program evaluation standards: A guide for evaluators and evaluation users (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publication, Inc.

Creative Commons License
What the Future May Hold by Rashida Outlaw is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


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