Apart from health care costs, there’s almost nothing that goes up in this country like the cost of college. Up and up and up. Way faster than inflation. Families struggle to pay it. Students, graduates, struggle to pay it off. Last week in his State of the Union address, and in Ann Arbor, the President he’s going to do something about it.
In their new book The Innovative University Clayton Christensen and Henry Eyring explore why higher education is heading for disruption. As budget deficits and healthcare costs squeeze government support for higher education, enrollments at traditional institutions will steadily shrink. This will force the education sector to major changes and the students will come out winners, as is typical when disruption reshapes an industry. InnovationManagement asked the writers to elaborate on trends in higher education and the way education is delivered to students.
Higher education is heading for disruption. In the new book The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education From the Inside Out, Clayton Christensen and Henry Eyring explore why this is inevitable and what traditional universities and colleges can do about it.
These days it’s perplexing and painful to think about the future of traditional universities. How do we know what’s coming and how quickly it will come? How can we properly prepare for change without sacrificing the university’s best traditions?
If you think about the university nowadays, we offer semesters based on agrarian calendars even though few to none of our students are actively engaged in farming. Our semesters and courses are designed in 15-week blocks of times.
As students grapple with the high costs of college, and universities work to cope with increasing demand, could a new model for higher education be on the way? Or is it already here?
According to the American Physical Society, funding for science agencies could fall by as much as 11 percent. No less than Harvard, in its financial report for 2011, has warned of a likely “material adverse effect” on the university should government resources drop too much. “I’m a little bit afraid,” says Henry J. Eyring, co-author of the new book The Innovative University, “that building facilities for performing academic research right now may be a little bit like upsizing your home with a larger mortgage—in about 2007.”
Traditional universities have been a cornerstone of society and culture for 1100 years. But economic, global, and organizational pressures are forcing universities to drastically change how they operate, or risk becoming obsolete. In today’s ultra-competitive environment how can university leaders improve and adapt an endangered system?
Northeastern University is going south and west: It plans to open a regional campus in Charlotte, N.C., today and a similar outpost in Seattle within the year, with hopes of eventually planting flags in Austin, Minneapolis, the Silicon Valley area, and beyond.
The campuses will offer graduate degrees tailored to the workforce needs of local economies, with courses taught partly online and partly by Northeastern faculty flown in every few weeks. They will also help students work with local employers on research projects in an extension of the school’s signature co-op program.
Given the task of building a new university from the ground up, most traditional higher education leaders might enlist the help of faculty members, presidents of other universities, and members of the community.
John Ellis Price has a different team. The president of the University of North Texas System and CEO of the campus at Dallas, a 10-year-old campus that gained its independence from the system’s flagship in nearby Denton in 2009, has turned to a prominent management consulting firm, Bain & Company, primarily known for working with Fortune 500 companies.