21st-Century Students

For the first time, most—nearly 70 percent—of Case Western Reserve's first-year undergraduates were born in 2000 or later.

To mark the milestone, we asked faculty members to consider this question:

What do you think will be the biggest change in the next 20 years in …?

It's difficult to predict years out, particularly when the pace of change is so rapid. Even harder: doing it in a sentence or two.

Cancer Treatment

"As the amount of data generated about cancer patients continues to grow, we should be able to customize treatments for every patient. The potential result: more people becoming cancer-free or surviving longer."
—Jill Barnholtz-Sloan, PhD, the Sally S. Morley Designated Professor in Brain Tumor Research and associate director of bioinformatics/translational informatics

Race Relations

"The nation will be on the verge of becoming a place in which there is no racial or ethnic majority. Hopefully, we will find more just ways to share power and develop more inclusive communities."
—Joy R. Bostic, PhD, associate professor of religion and founding director of the university's African and African American Studies Program

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

"New discoveries from neurosciences will lead to future computing systems with more creature-like learning capabilities. That will make it possible to train robots to perform tasks, such as industrial assembly, laundry or cooking, the way we train humans: through demonstrations and practice."
—Wyatt Newman, PhD, professor of electrical engineering and computer science

Space Exploration

"The explosion in knowledge about planets, especially Earth-sized ones, around other stars and what they are made of is going to lead to new understanding of our own solar system."
—Steven A. Hauck II, PhD, professor of planetary geodynamics


"The biggest challenge will be for audiences. As distinctions between home and theater exhibition continue to melt away, it increasingly will fall to individuals to practice undistracted viewing. Otherwise, the film experience will be not so much transformed as lost."
—Robert Spadoni, PhD, Armington Professor, film studies


"Global alliances will realign as climate change creates new opportunities for some countries—with shipping routes and natural resources opening in the Arctic—and limits choices for others, where weather extremes and poor national economic strategies will make previous policies unsustainable."
—Kathryn Lavelle, PhD, the Ellen and Dixon Long Professor of World Affairs