Inside Higher Ed's Joshua Kim introduces 7 Seriously Bad Ideas That Rule Higher Education.  They're worth your consideration.  Here's a brief response to each.

Seriously Bad Idea #1 - Institutional Sustainability Requires That Faculty Costs Be Minimized:

Absolutely.  Understand why it's a bad idea, and you understand why sales of those U.S. News guides have little to do with luxury dorms or water parks on campus.

Seriously Bad Idea #2 - Quality Education Can Be Scaled:

"Scaled" here is business barbarism, best understood as attempting to do more with less.  There's no reason not to expect a Northern Illinois to do as well in faculty recruiting, research, and student achievement as an Illinois, and no reason not to generalize to the other institutions.  That is, if there are sufficient students to benefit by such provision.

Seriously Bad Idea #3 - Technology Is the Answer to Every Problem in Higher Education:

I don't know that anyone subscribes to that idea, although I have griped privately and publicly about faculty "development" deteriorating into Blackboard coding tricks and the latest ideas for how to design presentations.  I note also that pencil and paper are also information technology.

Seriously Bad Idea #4 - Faculty Are Impediments to Innovation in Higher Education:

That sounds like the lament of an administrator with no prior academic experience, or a talk-radio pundit.  First, though, shouldn't people be asking whether innovation is necessary?  Not every new idea that comes out of somebody's mind is the next oxygen-impingement process or thin slab caster or diesel freight locomotive.  Maybe in 2500 years, or the last 100, the scholars got a few things right.

Seriously Bad Idea #5 - Staff Growth Is the Underlying Problem to What Plagues Higher Education:

Mr Kim's response is wonky.  It's really simple: hire sufficient people who are enthusiastic about and good at what they are doing, and let them do it.  Sometimes what sails under the rubric of accountability kills both initiative and productivity.

Seriously Bad Idea #6 - The Trends Toward Public Disinvestment to Higher Education Is Inevitable:

This one is also wonky.  It's relatively simple, but nobody in Illinois (while I was in the system) or Wisconsin (where the legislative knives are out) is making the case that the state universities run a balance of payments surplus with China and other countries.  That's comparative advantage, baby.

On the other hand, the antics of the Perpetually Aggrieved during their long march through the institutions constitute higher education's breach of the social contract with the states that used to fund more generously.

Seriously Bad Idea #7 - U.S. Higher Education Is In Crisis:

Compared to?

No comments: