Higher Education

Climate-Centered Futures Thinking with Higher Ed Futurist Bryan Alexander

Bryan Alexander is an awardwinning, internationally known futurist, researcher, writer, speaker, consultant, and teacher, working in the field of higher education’s future. He’s the author of the recent book Universities On Fire: Higher Education in Climate Crisis which forms the foundation of this episode. Bryan joins host Mike Palmer in a conversation about how to use futures thinking to explore climate-related scenarios with special attention to higher education.

We begin by reflecting back on Bryan’s previous appearances on the podcast back in 2020 soon after the release of his book Academia Next: The Futures of Higher Education. Among the scenarios in that book, he explored how a pandemic might affect higher education before Covid hit. From there we touch on his recent blog post looking at the new Apple+ series Extrapolations. As we bring up examples from science fiction and its sub-genre of climate fiction, Bryan describes the power of scenario-baseed thinking in preparing ourselves for uncertain futures. We dig into where higher education may be heading and get Bryan’s initial thoughts on generative AI and how it interrelates with the climate crisis megatrend. It’s an imaginative, free-ranging conversation. Don’t want to miss it!

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Episode References

Alexander, B. (2023). Universities on Fire. John Hopkins University Press. https://doi.org/10.56021/9781421446493
Alexander, B. (2020). Academia Next The Futures of Higher Education. Johns Hopkins University Press. https://jhupbooks.press.jhu.edu/title/academia-next