GenX women in higher ed from around the globe

On “Skating to Where the Puck is Going to Be*”

In Happy Mondays on 2010/02/08 at 08:45

Every Monday I will cover some of the highlights from the prior week’s news in higher ed.

Below, some insights from last week–which included speeches from the presidents of Yale and the University of New Hampshire (UNH) (*UNH President Mark Huddleston quoting Wayne Gretzky in his speech-see sources and links at the bottom of the post):

2010 Vision

  • It is clear that elites and elite higher ed institutions like Yale have everything to gain from increased globalization and this class of people and institutions has already been globalized and  are already reaping the benefits of a globalized knowledge economy,  “a new kind of free trade: free trade of minds.” (see Levin and Wildavsky below)
  • Communication and the exchange of knowledge between Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut and Tsinghua University in Beijing, China is more common than that between Yale and UNH. (an elaboration on Saskia Sassen)
  • The impact of a global knowledge economy/the “free trade of minds” is radically different for faculty and students at an institution like Yale than it is for faculty and students at a place like UNH. (think trickle-down education theory)
  • In an article last week, UNH president Mark Huddleston: “If the current trend continues, the typical New Hampshire family will be paying 75 percent of its disposable income to send a child to UNH by 2020”- Huddleston sees himself as caught in “forces” beyond his control and his focus is on staying in the game and “skating to where the puck is going to be.”
  • In the UK, tuition is increasing as access is being restricted. Survival is the name of the game.
  • Countries like China, South Korea, Singapore, and India implement the best lessons learned from American and British higher education in an environment where they are supported by their national governments and by societies that value education.
  • Institutions in the U.S. and the U.K. look for ways to increase revenue without losing customers and focus on survival of individual institutions rather than on radically reinventing higher education.
  • Higher education is big business.  Like housing before it, higher education is currently in a boom phase and headed towards an inevitable bust.

2020 Vision.

Imagine a world where…

  • Hundreds of non-elite institutions like UNH  “go out of business” and for-profit institutions focused solely on teaching occupation-related “real world” skills take their places.
  • Tenure is eliminated and full-time tenured/tenure-track faculty members are replaced by part-time adjunct instructors. (see NY Times article here)
  • Students are customers and institutions define education as what students want today rather than what they need or what society needs for tomorrow. (see NY Times article here)
  • The measure of an institution’s success is their job placement rate rather than their graduates’ capacity for critical thinking.
  • I send my son Jack to Tsinghua University in Beijing because in less than fifteen years it will be the best education he can get – if they accept him -and it is “where the puck is going to be.

Radical solutions? See the comments below.

This is the first in a series of Happy Mondays posts by Mary Churchill. Check back here next Monday for further insights on the crisis in higher education and predictions for a radically different future.

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  1. Solutions – Global Accreditation is one place to start! Getting us all on same field and making it easier for students to transfer credits from one institution to another and from one country to another.

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