Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

The Future of Work and its Implications for Higher Education

March 5, 2019

Provost Richard M. Locke was recently awarded an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant for $100,000 to support his project, The Future of Work and its Implications for Higher EducationThis undertaking will include a faculty colloquium at Brown University, seed funding for individual faculty and graduate students to explore new research in this area, and a series of meetings that will bring together academic leaders from across the country to engage collectively in discussion on this topic. The result of this project will be stronger understanding of approaches to the mix of opportunities and challenges that rapid technological advances are posing for the education of current and future generations of students.

This project builds on some of the scholarly work by Provost Richard M. Locke. In recent years, his research has focused on two interrelated themes: 1) the impact of globalization on workers, mostly in developing countries, and 2) the reorganization of industry and employment patterns in the United States resulting from technological change, regulatory shifts (liberalization of markets) and growing international competition. Locke’s hope is to extend and broaden these research streams and launch a collaborative project with Brown colleagues that will explore the future of work and its consequences for our economy, society, and system of higher education. This is essential in an era that promises the return of trade barriers, economic nationalism, massive shifts in employment, significant flows of economic and political refugees across national borders, and the erosion of social solidarity. The hope is to collaborate with scholars in the humanities to explore not simply the quantity of work (levels and distribution of employment) impacted by current changes in technology and work organization but also, more importantly, the quality of work and its meaning for workers in the workplace of the future.