Evolution is fundamental

Reinventing Higher Education: The Promise of Innovation
Ben Wildavsky, Andrew P. Kelly, and Kevin Carey, eds.
Harvard Education Press, 2011. (PC owns a copy.)

“The inspiration for this timely book is the pressing need for fresh ideas and innovations in U.S. higher education. At the heart of the volume is the realization that higher education must evolve in fundamental ways if it is to respond to changing professional, economic, and technological circumstances, and if it is to successfully reach and prepare a vast population of students—traditional and nontraditional alike—for success in the coming decades”

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One comment on “Evolution is fundamental

  1. Bryan Marinelli says:

    This volume begins with the assertion that many, if not most, traditional institutions of higher education are very slow to change and that they must evolve in fundamental ways if they are going to respond to changing economic, political, and technological conditions. The volume goes on to suggest that traditional institutions can learn from the for-profit sector, which has been criticized for its profit-seeking motives, but has been “spinning out new definitions of higher education” (10) that reach new consumers. Unlike many traditional institutions, which “teach what they want to teach rather than what students and employers need” (9), the for-profits are more responsive to market demands, working with employer advisory boards (EAB’s) to “gain feedback on the performance of recently placed graduates, to gain insights into changing industry and employer skill requirements, to market current programs, and to test the feasibility of new and modified programs” (182).

    The volume also includes chapters that focus on the ways in which online learning may alter the higher education landscape and the ways in which some new institutions (e.g., Harrisburg University, the University of Minnesota-Rochester) are dispensing with long-cherished practices, lowering costs, and increasing performance with the help of information technology and innovative organizational models. The book is well worth a closer read, as it delineates the environment in which PC will be forced to compete and begs questions about just how much the College can afford to remain traditional.

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