Andrew Rosen has written a great new book on higher education in America,Change.edu: Rebooting for the New Talent Economy. It is provocative, insightful, and mostly correct. Yet, I predict, it will be largely ignored by the higher-education community.
One reason: Rosen is the CEO of Kaplan Higher Education, and probably viewed by many as a biased supporter of for-profit schools, rather than a serious commentator on the general strengths and weaknesses of America’s colleges and universities (this is somewhat ironic, since he has degrees from Duke and Yale, and has lots of nice things to say regarding traditional higher education).
Rosen makes five big points. First, higher education once in a great while is hit with a truly disruptive innovation. He cites the rise of the private-sector (for-profit) schools as one such disruption, and also considers the Morrill Act (which created land-grant schools) and the postwar explosive expansion of universities and community colleges as such examples of disruptive innovations.
Second, Rosen argues that many universities have lost sight of their noble mission because they have been stricken by Harvard Envy, trying to emulate the nation’s most prestigious schools.
Third, much of conventional higher education is an ever more expensive exercise in the dilution of learning and the development of frivolous resort communities (campuses) with emphasis on climbing walls, football, and luxury housing.
Fourth, the for-profits are incentivized to focus on student outcomes and learning—paying laser-like attention to this most critical mission of higher education.
Lastly, the attacks on the for-profits for various transgressions are wide of the mark, and, indeed, dollar for dollar, those schools deliver the best value to taxpayers for educating millions of Americans.
Of course, that is what you might expect a CEO of a for-profit college to say. But Rosen says it well, backed up with evidence. He repeats what other observers, including myself, have said for years. Conventional higher education has largely lost its way, losing sight of its original and noble mission of educating large numbers of Americans at a reasonable cost. It has gotten caught up in a costly academic arms race to try to be Harvard, when we cannot have (or even afford) many Harvards.
See Full Article (Chronicle): Here