Change Needed for Higher Education?

Tara Lemmey, CEO of LENS Ventures, a sort of technology consulting firm, argues in the Huffington Post that it’s time to rethink higher education:

From the UC student protests over fee hikes, to community colleges holding midnight classes due to increased demand, to repeated warnings from business and policy leaders that we are not graduating enough competitive workers, America is facing a crisis in higher education.

Unable to graduate the number of applicants who are seeking degrees, higher education institutions still rely on a linear approach to education – tied to a fixed infrastructure, limited by financial, space and time constraints, and measuring success by increases in endowments and publishing rather than increases in student achievement.

Of course, colleges are deliberately attached to “fixed infrastructure, limited by financial, space and time constraints.” That is what makes them colleges. There are some who argue that college is purposely archaic and that some very innovative schools are low tech by design.

But Lemmey points out that the last major change in American higher education occurred with the GI Bill in 1944. There have been many dramatic changes to American society since then, changes not reflected in higher education.

The treatment she offers is a little vague. She says the U.S. already has everything it needs to bring higher education forward, “we just need to begin the dialogue to do it.” But the need for this dialogue is undeniable.

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer