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Jeffrey  Selingo

Jeffrey Selingo

Thought Leader, Washington Post Columnist & Best-Selling Author on Leadership, Higher Education and the Future of Work


Whether delivering a keynote talk or engaging in a fireside chat, Jeff Selingo has talked before scores of colleges, businesses, healthcare organizations and financial services companies, and helped leaders and managers understand what’s next for education and how companies can better compete for talent, especially among Gen Z. He has appeared at the Milken Global Institute, Dartmouth College, LinkedIn, Ohio State University, Salesforce, Spain’s Bankinter Innovation Foundation, the Association of Schools Advancing Health Professions and Deloitte, as well as before the boards of Carnegie Mellon University, the Duke Endowment and Amherst College, among others. Read More >

Jeff's newest book, Who Gets In & Why: A Year Inside College Admissions, was published in September 2020 and was named among the 100 Notable Books of the Year by the New York Times. It takes readers on a journey through the selection process from inside three admissions offices, revealing what really matters to the gatekeepers and how the ultimate decision is often based on a college’s priorities.

As both an observer of higher education and an insider with an academic appointment at one of the largest universities in the country, Jeff occupies a unique position to explain the intersection between work, life and learning. He writes regularly for The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

His research focuses on the changing nature of work and its impact on education, paying for college, the student experience and shifting expectations for what the public and employers want from colleges. He is co-host of the podcast, Future U., and writes a biweekly newsletter, NEXT.

Jeff is a special advisor for innovation and professor of practice at Arizona State University, where he is the founding director of the Academy for Innovative Higher Education Leadership. He has also served as a visiting scholar at Georgia Tech’s Center for 21st-Century Universities. In addition, Jeff regularly counsels universities and organizations on their innovation strategy.

Previously, Jeff was the top editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education, where he worked for 16 years in a variety of reporting and editing roles. His work has been honored by the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Associated Press.

He received a bachelor’s degree from Ithaca College and a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. He is a member of the board of trustees at Ithaca College. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Washington, D.C. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Book Trailer: Who Gets In and Why

Who Gets In and Why: A Year Inside College Admissions

The Value of a College Degree

Life After College

College (Un)Bound

The Learning House

The Future of Higher Education

Speech Topics

The Post-Pandemic University: Opportunities in the Decade Ahead

The global pandemic exposed challenges in higher education that had been festering for years, from the technology infrastructure to the student experience to the financial sustainability of many institutions. But in the long term, the staggering disruption to traditional higher education and the broader world of work during COVID-19 offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to radically reimagine how colleges and universities serve their students and the workforce they’re preparing them for. Based on findings from dozens of meetings, Jeff has hosted over the last year with higher-education and workplace leaders, as well as research projects he led on the future of higher education and work, this talk will help college leaders better understand and prepare for the decade ahead.

The Future of Work: Building a Culture of Continual Learning

The skills needed to keep up in almost any job increasingly churn at a faster rate. The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report shows that 40% of core skills will change in the next five years and 50% of all employees will need reskilling to support business growth. The need for regular upskilling and reskilling throughout life means that education is no longer something that young people will experience just once in their life. In this talk, Jeff examines the changing landscape of the workforce, the shifting definition of learning and learners and explains how learning will be streamed in the future in much the same way we constantly stream music, television and movies nowadays.

Who Gets In & Why: An Inside Look at College Admissions

It’s the question on the minds of teenagers and their parents everywhere: How do colleges select their freshman classes? For an entire admissions cycle, Jeff was embedded in three admissions offices—the University of Washington, Emory University and Davidson College—and followed a group of high-school seniors through the process, as well as players behind the scenes, including the marketers, the financial-aid consultants and the rankers. The result was his book, which was named one of the 100 Notable Books of 2020 by The New York Times. In this talk, Jeff will dispel the entrenched notions of how to compete and win at the admissions game, reveal why families have much to gain by broadening their notion of what qualifies as a “good” college and explain how the Covid-19 pandemic will impact admissions in the long run.

The War for Talent: Hiring & Building an Adaptive Workforce

There is a great reassessment going on in the U.S. economy. It’s happening on a lot of different levels. At the most basic, people are hesitant to return to work. But there is also growing evidence that a lot of people want to do something different with their lives than they did before the pandemic. The coronavirus outbreak has had a dramatic psychological effect on workers, and people are reassessing what they want to do and how they want to work. In this talk, Jeff explains what he learned from the time he spent inside the hiring process at Fortune 500 companies and start-ups for his New York Times bestseller, There Is Life After College. This talk will help corporate leaders and management understand the demands for upskilling and reskilling, how people analytics is reshaping the recruiting landscape and the ways the job market is increasingly about skills and less about where talent went to school or their specific degree.

Moving Forward: Leading After a Crisis

The pandemic accelerated changes in workplaces that have been unfolding for years. As organizations grow more digital and complex, their leaders need new skills and capabilities. Drawing on two and half decades of coaching leaders in and around higher education and in-depth research from his work with Arizona State’s University Design Institute and its College of Public Service, Jeff shows leaders how to employ lessons from large multi-national universities, ed-tech start-ups, and agile public service organizations in unleashing innovation and delivering bottom-line results.