Roger’s Rules

Higher Education: an Obituary

Over at The New Criterion, I have some thoughts about the fate of higher education in an age of debt and that gigantic transformative force, the internet.  Like many others, I predict big changes:

 There will be winners as well as losers when these changes take hold. Among the winners will be those colleges and universities that have effectively embraced the new technologies. Among the losers will be thousands of Harvard wannabes with boundless pretensions, heavy investment in the residential college experience, and a sweet tooth for all the latest “transgressive” politicized nonsense that has made so many college campuses contemptible intellectual and moral swamps.

Perhaps the biggest impediment to the changes on the horizon is the entrenched nature of the educational establishment: the college presidents with their $1 million plus salaries and bloated administrative staffs, the whole system of tenure which has turned out to be as much a recipe for intellectual conformity as it is a fiscal nightmare. Those who have diagnosed a “bubble” in higher education are right. Change is coming, coming fast, and it is not going to be easy for those indentured to this outmoded, unsustainable model. Doubtless there will be important losses. There is something deeply entrancing, if also financially extravagant, about the ideal residential college experience, even if the reality seldom lives up to the advertisement. Still, [Nathan] Harden has a point: “if our goal is educating as many students as possible, as well as possible, as affordably as possible, then the end of the university as we know it is nothing to fear. Indeed, it’s something to celebrate.”

Read the whole thing here.