Many sectors in American postsecondary education are experiencing rapid growth, largely due to the maintained and increased need for educational services, research capabilities, and public outreach, community service, and civic engagement opportunities. The factors shaping the institutional responses include demographic changes, pressure for increased accountability, higher expectations, and greater competition. These factors, among others, compel institutions to rethink their present structures and activities and to envision a future designed to meet the demands of an increasingly heterogeneous group of stakeholders. This article discusses how these changes are causing academic and institutional planners to reconsider the traditional perspectives in the face of emerging concepts in the delivery of educational services. Particular attention is paid to three topics that are key to the rethinking of service delivery. First, students should be considered learners who participate actively in their own learning. This, in turn, implies that teaching practices must be reconceptualized as learning processes. In addition, educational goals must be reconceptualized to meet the needs of individual and professional goals. The implications of these emerging views for strategies for institutional planning are discussed.
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