I am happy share that we’ve changed the name of the Futures Studies program to “Foresight.” Actually, the official name of the program at the main campus was “Futures Studies in Commerce.” Without going into details, we were not big fans of the “in commerce,” as it raised questions about whether we had changed the nature of the program when it moved from Clear Lake to the main campus back in 2007 (we didn’t).
The question of what to call the study of the future (and thus the program) has long been a matter of discussion within the field. As part of my dissertation research, I reviewed the field’s prominent journals on the topic. My review found evidence that the field is in the process of shifting how it refers to itself as “foresight,” but acknowledges we’re not all there yet. Nonetheless, as a program of futurists, we ought to be aligned with this change. Also, analysis of google trends revealed that “foresight” is an overwhelmingly greater used search term than futures studies or any of its variations. Since we are trying to raise our profile, it makes sense to make ourselves easier to find.
One issue we wrestled with was whether to add “strategic,” thus strategic foresight. There are many modifiers of foresight out there: technology foresight, adaptive foresight, etc., so we felt it was best to keep the name as all-encompassing as possible. Personally, I like that its one word and simple and recognizable: history is the study of the past and foresight the study of the future.
We believe the name change from “Futures Studies” to “Foresight” will aid the program in several ways:
- Make it more likely that prospective students will find us on the Internet
- Align with shifts among practitioners in the US and globally that refer to the field as foresight
- Align with the professional association’s description of the field
- Align with our own texts and how they refer to the field
- Align with our success certificate program
- Align with the emerging trend in how newer academic programs are referring to themselves.
We’re very pleased that the name change has been approved and this fall the new “FORE” rubric is being introduced for our course listings, and we’ll ne updating our materials. Andy Hines