More Calls for Creative Destruction in Higher Ed

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).


One thought on “More Calls for Creative Destruction in Higher Ed

  1. Brilliant post. As I am funding my son’s education @ $45K per year I’m appalled at so little return on such a significant investment. Creative destruction stops at the gates of universities world wide. Just this a.m. I told my wife that the collegiate model is so outdated and unchangeable that I have little respect for a degree, especially of budding entrepreneurs.

    In my upcoming book Generation BIG, Bold, Innovative and Generous we hope to spur the imagination of millions of people world wide to harness their passions and the power of the internet, and get involved with significant causes that will change the world. Clearly we need to start a revolution of change to universities.

    Thanks for your excellent post.

    Jeff Smith, Founder
    Generation BIG

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