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ERIC Number: EJ804850
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0736-0983
Campus Futures
Dator, Jim
Planning for Higher Education, v34 n3 p45-48 Apr-Jun 2006
Most people in the United States, no matter how extensive their education, have never had a course dealing primarily with the future. But they have had at least one course, and probably many courses, dealing with the past. Most also have never questioned why the past is so emphasized in formal education while the future--the only arena over which people can have any true influence--is so utterly ignored. As a discipline, the study of alternative futures is absent from almost every higher education curriculum in the United States. So it's not surprising that as a general practice, colleges and universities do not contemplate mission-critical decisions regarding students, programs, and infrastructure in the context of a range of futures. Seriously considering many radically different alternatives is the key concept of futures studies. There is no single "future" that exists "out there" to predict. Rather, there simultaneously exist many alternative futures to forecast and preferred futures to envision, invent, and realize. Futurists study images of the future--ideas, beliefs, fears, and hopes about things to come. From the tremendous variety of images held by a wide range of stakeholders, futurists then attempt to understand where these images come from and how they influence behavior. It is important to study these images because the present-day actions and decisions are, in significant measure, made on the basis of these images and what people think may be the consequences of their actions in years to come. These images are also important to study because they differ by gender, age, culture, language, class, experience, and many other factors. While any attempt to categorize the rich array of images of the future may seem to limit the richness of that array, four generic images can capture that variation, even across cultures. These images are helpful for understanding why people as individuals and institutions make certain decisions or hold certain beliefs about the futures. These four generic images are: (1) continuation; (2) disciplined society; (3) transformational society; and (4) collapse.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Hawaii; United States