Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Re-thinking higher education institutions

Globalization has arrived and revisionism about what we do, how we do it and why we do it too. The higher education sector is not the exception. The need of renewing its business model is mandatory (Francis and Bessant, 2005).

I found an interesting calling to review liberal arts education by Liz Coleman (Jun '09), the Bennington College President. She describes how the expert model is privileged over the educated generalist in American higher education institutions. Furthermore, her critique is directed toward educators: "when the impulse is to change the world, the academy is more likely to engender a learned helplessness than to create a sense of empowerment".

It is interesting Coleman’s remark about the connections between politics and leading educational institutions. Also I found a worthy comment about how the last ones may foster access to personal wealth but they may not play in their responsibility for installing democracy. Is not the role of higher education to educate citizens?

Following the same reflection, Bobby Allyn’s article “Among privileged students, I’m an outsider”(Oct '09) condenses her reflection as a senior, first-generation college student, coming from a low economic status. It also makes me think about challenges that higher education institutions must assume and keep on postponing, if not denying. Maybe it is the time of real disruptive innovations (Anthony and Christensen, 2005) that redefine the required value for customers, that is, the students and citizens, nowadays.

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