Why Now Is a Great Time to Start a Career in Education and…

Help design and build the campus of the future

Erik P.M. Vermeulen, PhD
7 min readJun 21, 2020


The Ito Campus in Japan. Photo courtesy of author

What will happen to the college and university campus? What will it look like in one, three, or even ten years?

These questions are the source of considerable anxiety for students, teachers, administrators, parents, and politicians, right now. And the answers aren’t immediately obvious.

But this uncertainty also creates opportunities — the exciting opportunity to become part of the project of building the campus of the future.

The Campus as a Great Place to Work?

There has always been something special about college and university campuses. Sometimes, very early in the morning, I walk my dog from one end of a campus to the other. Nobody is around, and yet I feel that I am in a magical place.

But what — exactly — makes me feel this way?

For me, a big part of the answer is the experience — the experience of teaching and learning together. And, the campus has always been the focal point where everything happened. The collaboration. The experiments. The personal growth.

You might expect, therefore, that I would wholeheartedly recommend everybody to start a career in higher education. And yet, in all honesty, until recently, I would have warned against it.

Employee satisfaction surveys usually include the following question: How likely is it you would recommend your current position as a great place to work?

Any answer I give to this question would have to highlight the downside.

Campus life had become set in stone. You could refer to it as a time capsule. There aren’t tons of new opportunities. Even for the most talented people, it is difficult to make a career. A lack of money. The lack of support for disruptive and out-of-the-box thinking. And then, of course, there are the campus politics.

A place dominated by established professors who continually block new talent and innovative ideas. You see them rushing to class, a stack of unnecessary books tucked under their arms, and dressed as if they never left the 1960s. They tend to focus on knowledge…



Erik P.M. Vermeulen, PhD

Prof (Law) | Sci-fi | Sociological storytelling