Dear MET community,
When it comes time for historians to look back at the development of the American university, I believe this past decade will rank among major watersheds, such as the land-grant movement and the GI Bill, as one of the most transformative. We have witnessed a coming of age for online learning, an unsettling rise of alternative for-profit institutions, major upheaval in the public sector, greater scrutiny from the federal government and other stakeholders, and a growing backlash towards massive student debt. Metropolitan College might be a modest, but very positive, footnote in this chapter of higher education.
This past decade has certainly been transformative for MET. Our students are older, more accomplished, and far more demanding. We have met their higher standards with even higher standards of our own. Our faculty are more engaged in scholarship and innovation. Our programs are thriving, despite a dismal economy, because our students know that a rigorous education will lead to the knowledge and credentials necessary for success. And, as our recent MET student survey affirms, older and more ambitious students are even more likely to praise their educational experience at MET. One thing has not changed, however. Our alumni continue to proudly proclaim the value of their degrees and the quality of their experience with us.
We have responded to the educational needs of working adults, partnered with corporations and foreign academic institutions in creative ways, and developed scholarships for students so they can afford to return to the classroom. We have completed our first decade of distance learning, and forged a unique path in how we conduct education online. Ours is now recognized as the high road in an otherwise complicated mix of what online education has meant to the public.
So, what does the next decade hold for MET? Not many would have predicted the changes in the last ten years, and few will nail what the future has in store. Yet, MET has demonstrated the agility and aspiration to continue to adapt and thrive. One major lesson of the past decade that also applies to the next: Had we not evolved and aspired to new heights, we would have withered. Adjusting, competing, striving, and transforming are not options, but necessities—and healthy pressures to continue to innovate and excel. We will see more online programs, an even greater reliance on technology for teaching, and a growing ability to connect students globally. Academic excellence, though, is our ultimate competitive advantage. The value of education and attaining higher degrees will only continue to grow, but the issues of cost will make it all the more important to find ways to interweave learning into all phases and facets of life.
I often meet alumni who recall the quality of their time with us, and the impact we have had on their lives. You trusted us before—I hope you place that same trust in our future, and invest in our ability to provide a quality MET experience as meaningful for others as it was for you. As the University enters into a major campaign to raise its funds and visibility, I hope you will provide a ringing endorsement of your pride in your academic achievements, your commitment to our values and capabilities, and your belief in Metropolitan College—and the vital role MET plays for students.
Jay A. Halfond