Integrated Wisdom

What’s Wrong with Higher Education?

Not only does it cost more, but you may also be getting less for your money.

Most of us are aware that higher education has major problems today, but we may not know the extent of these problems, nor their causes. It’s not just a matter of the cost of a college degree, although that’s certainly a big one. It’s also about quality and relevance.

We were given some insight into what’s gone wrong from a high-ranking administrator at a major university who’s highly concerned about the direction our institutions have taken. This person has requested anonymity because some comments are highly critical, and well, he’d like to keep his job.

Here’s what he had to say.

How Did Things Get So Bad?

​Part of the problem seems to stem from a loss of identification — about 30 years ago, higher education began to adopt some ideas from business. Before that time, college and university presidents were senior scholars whose job it was to make sure that the academic enterprise was run with integrity and high values. Some were good business managers, but that is not why they were made presidents. Fund raising was left to the board of trustees and administrators who were hired to raise money. But today there is more of an emphasis on making profits rather than providing an important social service, and administrators are expected to be part of profit-making machine.

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