Date of Award

Spring 4-11-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Carol Anderson-Woo

Second Advisor

Dr. Cindy Petersen

Third Advisor

Dr. Donald B. Scott


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to identify and describe educational changes at 4-year higher education institutions that are possible and probable by 2035 as perceived by a panel of experts. Additionally, the purpose was to determine the level of desirability of educational changes identified as probable by a panel of experts. Finally, the purpose was to describe actions necessary to promote the desirable educational changes by 2035 as perceived by the panel of experts.

Methodology: The Delphi method was used to survey 17 higher education experts from diverse disciplines. Four survey rounds gathered qualitative and quantitative data regarding opinions of possible, probable, and desirable changes. Educational changes meeting an 85% consensus for probability and desirability were investigated further to determine necessary actions for changes to occur.

Findings: Data analysis resulted in 3 major findings; higher education institutions must respond to shifts in market demands with more agility, institutions must make cultural shifts to better meet shifting market needs, and institutions must make more efficient use of resources.

Conclusions: This research led to the conclusions that higher education’s curriculum must be outcomes-based to meet the needs of today’s students and industries, revisions of programs and policies are required to align with market demands, and resource allocation and utilization must be improved. Additionally, it was concluded DEI initiatives are not a top priority for higher education leaders.

Recommendations: The U.S. 4-year higher education system has faced several disruptive forces over the past decade. Today’s decision making must be future focused to maintain a system that continues to serve the American public. For the 4-year higher education system to meet society’s needs over the next decade, actions necessary include changing cultures within internal and external systems that accommodate innovative ways of teaching learning and are reviewed for relevancy yearly, including the development of flexible and highly adaptable models such as microcredentials, stackable credentials, and competency-based programs. Developing such models will require community partnerships, prioritizing innovative technology, reducing operating costs, and transparent strategic plans. Additionally, more resources are needed for DEI initiatives if equity is a priority.