About the Center

The Center for the Future of Higher Education and Talent Strategy (CFHETS) is an applied research center that builds on Northeastern University’s heritage of more than a century of leadership in experiential learning and its network of more than 3,300 employer partners.

Drawing on the expertise of Northeastern faculty and affiliated industry-based scholars, CFHETS’ analysis focuses on bringing the voice and perspective of employers into the higher education community, while also serving as a research-based academic voice and resource in the world of corporate learning and talent strategy. The center is also a leader in developing and testing next generation models for employer-university collaboration.


By studying trends and pioneering and testing next-generation learning models, we seek to improve and optimize the interaction between the postsecondary education system and employers – thus improving outcomes for students, institutions, and the economy and society at large.

Core Research Areas 

CFHETS’ work embraces the notion that learning happens everywhere – and that in today’s globalized knowledge economy, the boundaries are increasingly blurring between structured learning that occurs in educational institutions and learning that occurs in the workplace.

The scope of our research stretches beyond topics such as skill demands and student career preparation – to crucially also include the full scope of lifelong and on-the-job learning that is occurring in the market for experienced talent. The center’s analytical lens is also distinguished by a focus on the educational models, business models, and strategic impacts for educational systems and employers.

CFHETS’ research revolves around 5 core thematic areas:

The center’s research output manifests itself in projects with commercial employers and higher education institutions; published research reports, articles, and public speaking; consulting engagements; and implementation, technology, and policy projects. The center’s research is also integrated with and supports the educational offerings of Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies and its Graduate School of Education.

CFHETS’ interdisciplinary approach and position within one of the nation’s top-ranked and most innovative research universities provides it with an unparalleled array of academic assets to conduct research and develop solutions at the intersection of higher education and talent strategy.

Team Members

Sean Gallagher, EdD
Executive Director, Center for the Future of Higher Education and Talent Strategy, Northeastern University

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Kevin Coombs
Associate Director, Survey Research & Data Analytics
Northeastern University

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Yvonne Rogers
Senior Director, Industry Engagement Strategy
Northeastern University

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Industry Fellows

David  Leaser
Senior Program Executive, Innovation and Growth Initiatives

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Natalie Van Kleef Conley
Senior Program Manager
Grow With Google

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Affiliated Faculty and Administrators

Kemi Jona, PhD
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Digital Innovation & Enterprise Learning,
Northeastern University

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Lloyd Armstrong, Jr., PhD
University Professor and Provost Emeritus
University of Southern California

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Tova Olsen Sanders, EdD
Associate Teaching Professor,
Northeastern University

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Rashid Mosley, EdD
Associate Teaching Professor,
Northeastern University

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Amanda Welsh, PhD
Professor of the Practice,
Northeastern University

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Nikki James, EdD
Chief Learning Scientist,

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In The News

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Tell Your Boss: Working From Home Is Making You More Productive

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May 30, 2022

Online M.B.A.s Overtake Residential Programs

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May 17, 2022

The Future of Learning Is Integration With Work

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Charles Koch Foundation

April 20, 2022

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Human Resource Executive

March 14, 2022

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The Chronicle of Higher Education

March 3, 2022

Employers Grew More Positive About Online Education During the Pandemic

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The Edge (newsletter subscription required for access)

February 23, 2022

Higher Ed 101: The Credential Cluster

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February 9, 2022

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December 21, 2021

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November 22, 2021

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November 10, 2021

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Work Shift

October 20, 2021

It’s Time to Reboot Our Thinking About Adult Learners in a Digitally Transformed World

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August 11, 2021

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June 29, 2021

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June 29, 2021

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June 29, 2021

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June 7, 2021

More Employers Are Awarding Credentials. Is A Parallel Higher Education System Emerging?

by Sean Gallagher (Columnist) and Holly Zanville 


March 25, 2021

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Financial Times (Tech Tonic podcast)

March 22, 2021

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Times Higher Education (subscription)

March 15, 2021

‘MOOCs failed, short courses won’

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Inside Higher Ed

March 9, 2021

Coursera’s IPO Filing Shows Growing Revenue and Loss During a Pandemic

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March 5, 2021

How Unemployed Californians Launched New Careers in a Pandemic With 9 Weeks of Training

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The Sacramento Bee

February 2, 2021

How Experiential Learning Can Improve Educational and Workforce Equity

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December 17, 2020

The Pandemic Pushed Universities Online. The Change Was Long Overdue

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September 29, 2020

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August 27, 2020

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August 12, 2020

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August 6, 2020

With a Degree No Longer Enough, Job Candidates are Told to Prove Their Skills in Tests

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July 10, 2020

COVID-19 is Accelerating the Digital Blending of Working and Learning


June 19, 2020

Higher Education and the Future of Skills Development After COVID-19

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May 13, 2020

Coronavirus Campus Unrest

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April 24, 2020

How a Pandemic Could Change Higher Education


March 27, 2020

Could Micro-Credentials Compete with Traditional Degrees?


February 17, 2020

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January 24, 2020

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January 17, 2020

2019 Was a Pivotal Year for the Degree

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January 15, 2020

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November 20, 2019

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November 7, 2019

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October 10, 2019

How the Value of Educational Credentials Is and Isn’t Changing

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September 20, 2019

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September 6, 2019

In a Changing Career Landscape, Employers and Workers Need a New Social Contract for Retraining


August 22, 2019

Changing Spaces

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August 14, 2019

Are Lifelong Learning Savings Accounts the Answer to Bridging the Skills Gap in the Age of Artificial Intelligence?

[email protected]

July 9, 2019

Talent Analytics, Skills-Based Hiring and the Potential Disruption of the Degree


June 24, 2019

More Than Half of Online Learners Want to Change Careers

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June 6, 2019

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May 31, 2019

The Fast-Changing and Competitive World of Grad Degrees


April 16, 2019

As Grad Degrees and Credentials Boom, Prestigious Schools are Winning


April 8, 2019

Employer Demand Shaping the Future of Microcredential Market: Insights From a National Survey

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March 25, 2019

How Long Does It Take to Get a Master’s Degree?

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March 13, 2019

Don’t Stop Believin’: Committee Report Confirms College is Still Well Worth the Cost

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February 18, 2019

Takedown of Online Education

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January 16, 2019

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December 20, 2018

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December 17, 2018

The Degree Rules, For Now

Inside Higher Ed

December 14, 2018

Here’s Why Certificates and Microcredentials Will Help You Get Your Next Job

[email protected]

December 13, 2018

Cual Es El Futuro De Las Instituciones De Educacion Superior?

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November 26, 2018

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November 26, 2018

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November 20, 2018

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November 14, 2018

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November 14, 2018

LinkedIn Opens Its Platform (Slightly)


November 9, 2018

The Beginning of a New Era in the Online Degree Market


October 30, 2018

EDX: From Micromasters to Online Master’s Degrees

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October 12, 2018

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July 18, 2018

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June 25, 2018

Last Year, Google Entered the Job Search Space. Now, It’s Entered the College Search Space


June 14, 2018

Facebook’s Latest Higher Ed Push Part of Broader Trend


June 8, 2018

Walmart Chooses Three Colleges Where Its Employees Can Study for $1 a Day


May 28, 2018

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May 14, 2018

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May 7, 2018

Bright Lines Between Traditional Degrees and Microcredentials

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May 5, 2018

Bain Capital to Buy Penn Foster, a Workforce-Skills Provider that Dates Back to Late 1800s


May 2, 2018

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March 23, 2018

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March 17, 2018

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February 14, 2018

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The Evolllution

January 31, 2018

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January 23, 2018

Impatient with Universities’ Slow Pace of Change, Employers Go Around Them

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December 18, 2017

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May 9, 2017

New Center to Help Bridge Gap Between Higher Ed Models and Employers’ Talent Demands

[email protected]

March 17, 2017

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March 14, 2017

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