The end of University

The end of University is a theme that has been around a few years. This notion of the reinvention of the university has been an important trope focussed upon two key phenomena: One is the increase in student populations in university requiring a new look at how education would need to happen, and Two is the democratisation of the university system with the emergence of MOOCS and the possibility of the consumption of education as a commodity.

In this mix comes a new book focussed upon the kinds of students we are getting in university – basically our students have become boring and it is our fault. Risk averse, high achieving in numeric scores and not very interested in things outside of college performance – these students are killing the soul of the ‘greatest universities’ in America.

The book of course opens with the word greatest used liberally. For the American Universities are the engine room of global civilisation – most of the important inventions, thinking and technological advances are claimed for the American top universities. The book is recommended to me as a game changer. So I have begun to read it – and while there are some interesting ideas I get a feeling that we have been dealing with these issues in Australian Universities for a long while.

The rise in student populations, the focus upon international students and the emergence of risk-averse campus culture has been a subject of conversation and a challenge for innovation within Australian Universities.

Still if you are a university academic – and occupying an administrative position the education ecosystem is something you tinker with. So this is a must read book – to shed light on how fellow academic administrators in another context view their current situation and what prescriptions they propose for change.

Links to Book and discussion “Toward a More Perfect University”by by Jonathan R. Cole.

  1. Cole’s own site.
  2. Another Article by Cole: The Chilling Effect of Fear at America’s Colleges
  3. Plus this one about Ivy League Admission cultures: Why Elite-College Admissions Need an Overhaul

Image Credits: Altantic Magazine. (Source –

By Soumitri Varadarajan

Soumitri lives in Melbourne, Australia - #probonodesign #codesign #sustainability #patientexperience #quantifiedself #mdg

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