Well, universities are the longest running institutions in the Western World, so they’re not dead:
‘Two related but separate issues revolve around the inner metabolism of higher education, in particular its astronomical and still escalating costs and—an even bigger reality—the wave of technological innovation that is poised to break over the entire institution of higher education like a tsunami.’
Much like the housing market was sitting atop unsustainable debt levels and questionable lending practices underwritten by our government, so too may be our universities by sitting upon unsustainable debt levels and questionable lending practices, underwritten by our government. The dream of everybody owning a home and everybody going to college and taking out loans to do so is not sustainable, and certainly not in our current economy. The ground has shifted beneath our feet, and our politics is failing to provide decent solutions.
Technology, however, is going to provide many more solutions.
There are also other issues ideological. We’ve seen the rise of the 60’s generation through our universities, the rise of excessive egalitarianism, feminism, and the growth of questionable fields that mostly end with ‘studies.’ Continental philosophies have made deep inroads into higher ed, and into our culture. I believe they can unnecessarily politicize and narrow higher ed and shortchange students.
We’ve also seen more recently the rise of the administrators, who are often overseeing budgets and hiring, and who can easily get in the way of what I would define as the core educational mission:
‘Writing in the current issue of The American Interest, Nathan Harden puts it dramatically but not hyperbolically: “The End of the University As We Know It.” In the space of a few decades, Harden writes, “half of the roughly 4,500 colleges and universities now operating in the United States will have ceased to exist.”’
Add to that a deeply ailing K-12 public education system, and we’ve got some serious change coming our way.
Many more people will be learning online, and without the brick and mortar classrooms and dorms. The Ivies will do fine but they are also unrolling their own online learning programs to stay ahead of the curve.
Related On This Site: Should you get a college degree?: Gene Expression On Charles Murray: Does College Really Pay Off?…Charles Murray In The New Criterion: The Age Of Educational Romanticism…
The libertarian angle, getting smart, ambitious people off of the degree treadmill: From The American Interest: Francis Fukuyama Interviews Peter Thiel-’A Conversation With Peter Thiel’ I think it’s going too far, trying to apply libertarian economics onto education, but Milton Friedman on Education is thought-provoking.
A deeper look at what education “ought” to be: Let’s be like Europe! A Review Of Martha Nussbaum’s ‘Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education.’
Nothing that Allan Bloom didn’t point out in the Closing Of The American Mind, at least with regard to a true liberal arts education: Update And Repost: ‘A Few Thoughts On Allan Bloom–The Nietzsche / Strauss Connection’
Perhaps some of the problem is due to the ideological interests holing up at our universities; at least in the liberal arts: Repost-Revisting Larry Summers: What Did He Say Again?From The Harvard Educational Review-