Canadian Faculty Members’ Hopes and Anxieties About the Near-Future of Higher Education




anxieties, faculty members, learning futures, qualitative research, hopeful futures


Higher education worldwide is facing several challenges spanning from economic, social, technological, demographic, environmental, to political tensions. Calls to rethink, reimagine, and reform higher education to respond to such challenges are ongoing, and need to be informed by a wide variety of stakeholders. To inform such efforts, we interviewed thirty-seven faculty members at Canadian colleges and universities to develop a greater understanding of their hopes and anxieties about the future of higher education as they considered what higher education may look like five years into the future. Results centred on four themes: (1) anxieties and hopes are shaped by supports and resources from various sources, (2) faculty members face anxiety over matters that negatively impact them but are beyond their control, (3) faculty members hope that “good” comes from the COVID-19 pandemic, and (4) faculty members hope for a well-rounded education that will enable students to succeed both within and beyond their careers. Implications for these findings suggest a need to direct research efforts and practices toward more hopeful futures for higher education, especially in the context of online and blended learning.

Author Biographies

George Veletsianos, Royal Roads University

Dr. George Veletsianos is Professor and Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology at Royal Roads University. His research focuses on three strands: (1) design, development, and evaluation of online and blended learning environments, (2) the study of learning experiences and participation in emerging online environments, and (3) learning futures. He blogs at

Nicole Johnson, Canadian Digital Learning Research Association

Dr. Nicole Johnson is the Executive Director of the Canadian Digital Learning Research Association (CDLRA). Her primary research interests include tracking macro-level trends in digital learning at the post-secondary level, defining and operationalizing key terms associated with digital learning, and better understanding how adults learn informally in digital contexts.


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