Monday, October 29, 2012

The End of Universities? Don’t Count On It

Ormond College (1879), University of Melbourne
Ormond College (1879), University of Melbourne (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Leo Goedegebuure, Director, LH Martin Institute at University of Melbourne, The Conversation:

Ernst & Young’s report on the future of universities made a big splash this week, fuelled by apocalyptic headlines heralding the end of the university world as we know it.

No one who has any feel for or interest in the world of higher education would deny that we are living in challenging times.

Nor would they deny where the changes are coming from - funding pressures, demographic shifts, changing student bodies, economic globalisation and technological advances are all having very real effects on universities around the world.

We’ve been researching, writing and reading and their effects on the university business model about them for at least a decade. They are the “global warming” phenomena of higher education - we may not necessarily like them, but we can’t avoid them.

But does that mean that collectively universities are about to go belly up? I don’t think so.

The report is quite shocking in its lack of depth. Talking to a couple of Vice-Chancellors or “institutional leaders” in my books does not equate to serious research. Having selective quotes in tabloid style throughout the report at a minimum is misleading. And I assume everyone sees through the simplistic marketing ploy of Ernst & Young’s own “university model for the future”.

The report also lacks references to similar work undertaken on the topic. Earlier this year Tom Kennie from the British Leadership Foundation, together with his colleague Ilfryn Price, wrote a paper on a new ecology for British higher education, exploring possible types of institutions in a future characterised by competition, disruptive change and market dynamics.

Mike Gallagher recently undertook a similar exercise for Australia. And Harvard’s Clayton Christensen did the same for the US system last year.

To read further, go to:
Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment