Sound-Bite Pronouncements on the Present and Future State of Higher Education

ACADEME BLOG

Sandra Napolitano, the President of the University of California system recently wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Post in which she argued that, despite the challenges created by unprecedented cuts in state support for public higher education, it is a gross exaggeration to assert that American higher education is in crisis.

Scott H. Levine, the Executive Director of Higher Education Research Consultants, responded in a letter to the editor that Napolitano failed to account for four factors undermining American higher education:

(1) The average student is a working adult, needing completely different services than traditional residential higher ed offers;

(2) Online learning has proved to be hugely successful for some adult learners (not all), and it must factor heavily into the evolving university;

(3) Universities are difficult to manage, due in large part to tenured faculty who simply don’t want to change;

(4) Private, not-for-profit higher education institutions educate…

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