A Master Plan for Higher Education in the Midwest:
A Roadmap to the Future of the Nation’s Heartland


On March 31, 2011, The Chicago Council released a report, “A Master Plan for Higher Education in the Midwest: A Roadmap to the Future of the Nation’s Heartland,” the third report in the Council’s Heartland Papers series. The report is authored by James J. Duderstadt, president emeritus of the University of Michigan, a professor of science and engineering, and director of the Millennium Project, a university research center studying the impact of rapidly evolving technologies on society.

One of the most urgent issues facing the United States and the Midwest is developing the human capital needed to compete and thrive in the global economy. The Midwest is home to a vast array of higher education institutions, but their structures and methods were designed for a very different time and economy. In the report, Duderstadt argues the American Midwest, a region that once powered the industrial economy, created the middle class, and defended democracy, is floundering in a 21st century global economy driven by knowledge and innovation. The report recommends streamlining curricula from K-12 through post-secondary education, exploring alternative higher education funding mechanisms, redefining the role of community colleges, and promoting a culture of lifelong learning.

The Heartland Paper series addresses issues about how best to respond to the effects of globalization and provide policy recommendations to improve regional success. These in-depth reports of original research are published as part of the Council's Global Midwest Initiative, a regional effort to promote interstate dialogue between government, business, and civic leaders.

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