Found this article (h/t highereducationmanagement) from Margaret Wente in the Toronto Globe & Mail wondering what the state of higher education in Canada is and pointing to some of its weaknesses. It picks up on many of the themes from Professor X’s article. It is written in the wake of a faculty strike at York University in Toronoto that shut the school down for months.
It also reiterates the point that higher education, like every other industry that came of age during the Industrial Revolution, must reinvent itself. It must prove its place of value and respect in our society.
This is where entrepreneurs come in — from new entrants and innovative administrators to student entrepreneurs and regional policy makers. The higher education landscape has so many assets in play. Its time to start recombining them. Students, faculty, society, and the economy demand it.
From Wente’s piece:
The idea of a liberal education is still based on that model – “healthy humanities departments populated by tenure-track professors who discuss books with adoring students in a cloistered setting,” as humanities professor Stanley Fish puts it. That description still more or less applied to the education I got. It still applies to a few elite universities today, such as Harvard, which is so well endowed that top professors are supposed to take their students out to lunch. It certainly does not describe York, a sprawling campus on Toronto’s edge where most students commute, and many are the first generation in their families to attend postsecondary school.
Universities need to rethink themselves and their missions in today’s world. Sadly, most appear to want to keep business as usual, asking the government for more support (both direct, and through loans/aid).