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.

Mission

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
IBM
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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,
Practera

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In The News

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

by Sean Gallagher (Columnist) and Holly Zanville 

EdSurge

March 25, 2021

The Digital Graduate (Podcast)

Financial Times (Tech Tonic podcast)

March 22, 2021

Post-COVID, universities must embrace work-integrated learning

Times Higher Education (subscription)

March 15, 2021

Post-COVID, universities must embrace work-integrated learning

Times Higher Education (subscription)

March 15, 2021

‘MOOCs failed, short courses won’

by Lindsay McKenzie

Inside Higher Ed

March 9, 2021

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

By Tony Wan

EdSurge

March 5, 2021

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

By Jeong Park

The Sacramento Bee

February 2, 2021

How Experiential Learning Can Improve Educational and Workforce Equity

By Corliss Brown Thompson and Sean Gallagher

EdSurge

December 17, 2020

The Pandemic Pushed Universities Online. The Change Was Long Overdue.

By Sean Gallagher and Jason Palmer

Harvard Business Review

September 29, 2020

Alternate Credentials on the Rise

Inside Higher Ed

August 27, 2020

It’s Time to Digitally Transform Community College

EdSurge

August 12, 2020

U. of Arizona Bought a For-Profit U. for $1? Actually, the For-Profit Paid Millions to be Acquired

EdSurge

August 6, 2020

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

The Washington Post

July 10, 2020

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

EdSurge

June 19, 2020

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

Workday Podcast

May 13, 2020

Coronavirus Campus Unrest

Commonwealth Magazine

April 24, 2020

How a Pandemic Could Change Higher Education

EdSurge

March 27, 2020

Could Micro-Credentials Compete with Traditional Degrees?

BBC

February 17, 2020

To Better Serve Adult Learners, Eliminate the Barriers Between Work and Learning

EdSurge

January 30, 2020

A New Player in the College Completion Market

Inside Higher Ed

January 24, 2020

Crunch Time for Calbright

Inside Higher Ed

January 17, 2020

2019 Was a Pivotal Year for the Degree

Inside Higher Ed

January 15, 2020

Who’s Completing Microcredentials?

Inside Higher Ed

November 20, 2019

The Landscape for Master’s-Level Education

Inside Higher Ed

November 7, 2019

Are Non-Accredited Providers a Competitive Threat to Colleges and Universities? Not Necessarily.

Wiley Education Services

October 10, 2019

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

Harvard Business Review

September 20, 2019

When it Comes to Learning and Development, Don’t Judge Employers By What They Say, But Rather What They Measure

Forbes

September 6, 2019

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

EdSurge

August 22, 2019

Changing Spaces

Inside Higher Ed

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

EdSurge

June 24, 2019

More Than Half of Online Learners Want to Change Careers

Education Dive

June 6, 2019

Exploring the Future (and Present) of College Credentials With Sean Gallagher

University of Michigan Academic Innovation

May 31, 2019

The Fast-Changing and Competitive World of Grad Degrees

EdSurge

April 16, 2019

As Grad Degrees and Credentials Boom, Prestigious Schools are Winning

EdSurge

April 8, 2019

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

Unbound: Reinventing Higher Education

March 25, 2019

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

U.S. News & World Report

March 13, 2019

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

House Committee on Education & Labor

March 7, 2019

UMass Will Build a National Online College. But What About Its Previous Online Offshoot?

EdSurge

March 7, 2019

A New Era of Microcredentials and Experiential Learning

University World News

February 18, 2019

Takedown of Online Education

Inside Higher Ed

January 16, 2019

At MIT, Advanced Training for Community College Students

WGBH

December 20, 2018

Have Online Degrees and Credentials Finally Lost Their Stigma?

ELearning Inside

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?

Educacion AZ

November 26, 2018

Imagining an Apple Store for Online Degrees

Inside Higher Ed

November 26, 2018

How Northeastern University is Connecting Theory and Practice at the Intersection of Higher Ed and Industry

EdTechTimes

November 20, 2018

Who’s Taking Nondegree Courses – And Why?

Inside Higher Ed

November 14, 2018

In Prime Position

Inside Higher Ed

November 14, 2018

LinkedIn Opens Its Platform (Slightly)

EdSurge

November 9, 2018

The Beginning of a New Era in the Online Degree Market

EdSurge

October 30, 2018

EDX: From Micromasters to Online Master’s Degrees

Inside Higher Ed

October 12, 2018

Just in Time for Whom?

Slate

July 27, 2018

Tech Training and Apprenticeship Startup Kenzie Academy Raises $4.2M

EdSurge

July 18, 2018

Employer Credentials and Community Colleges: A Look Behind Google’s IT Support Certificate Program

EdSurge

June 25, 2018

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

EdSurge

June 14, 2018

Facebook’s Latest Higher Ed Push Part of Broader Trend

EdSurge

June 8, 2018

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

EdSurge

May 28, 2018

The Future of University Credentials: New Developments (Interview) at the Intersection of Higher Education and Hiring

New Books Network

May 14, 2018

‘Talent’ Has Become the New Theme Uniting Education and Employment

EdSurge

May 7, 2018

Bright Lines Between Traditional Degrees and Microcredentials

Inside Higher Ed

May 5, 2018

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

EdSurge

May 2, 2018

The Future of Work and the Future of Learning are Converging

IBM Training and Skills Blog

March 23, 2018

Highlights from the 2018 Coursera Partners Conference

Coursera Blog

March 17, 2018

For Experiential Learning Programs to Thrive, They Must Bridge K-12 and Higher Ed (and the Workforce)

EdSurge

February 14, 2018

Putting Learners First: The Future of Microcredentialing

The Evolllution

January 31, 2018

In Evolving World of Microcredentials, Students, Colleges and Employers Want Different Things

EdSurge

January 23, 2018

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

The Hechinger Report

December 18, 2017

Convergence of Credentials: How Corporations and Colleges are Teaming to Skill Up the Technology Workforce

EDUCAUSE

December 6, 2017

Sean Gallagher and Northeastern’s Latest Contribution to Higher Education

CampusTap

November 8, 2017

As Corporate World Moves Toward Curated ‘Microlearning,’ Higher Ed Must Adapt

EdSurge

November 6, 2017

New Research Questions the Value of Certificates Pushed by Colleges, Policymakers

The Hechinger Report

October 24, 2017

How Kristen Swanson Applies Her Classroom Experience to Lead ‘Professional Learning’ at Slack

EdSurge

October 19, 2017

Can a 20-Minute Test Tell Employers What a College Degree Cannot?

The Chronicle of Higher Education

October 3, 2017

After Decades of Pushing Bachelor’s Degrees, U.S. Needs More Tradespeople

The Hechinger Report

August 29, 2017

How MOOCs are Inspiring the Future of Higher Education

Harvard Education Publishing Voices in Education

August 16, 2017

How Amazon’s Purchase of Whole Foods Highlights the Hybrid, ‘Omnichannel’ Future of Higher Ed

EdSurge

June 22, 2017

Yes There’s ‘Disruption’ in College Market, But the Bigger Trend is Growth of ‘Enabler’ Companies

EdSurge

May 9, 2017

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

[email protected]

March 17, 2017

Weight the Cost, Benefits of Grad School

U.S. News & World Report

March 14, 2017

What Colleges Should Know About a Growing ‘Talent Strategy’ Push By Companies

EdSurge

March 2, 2017