The fierce debate about the future of higher education in America has clarified some issues even as it has polarized national thinking on the question. While most people agree that current models need rethinking, few have answered where we would be without a vibrant, multifaceted higher-education sector. Two points are critical to this discussion: stimulating informed and open conversations between the higher-education community and future employers in business and the nonprofit community, and acknowledging that higher education fails in its mission if it trains graduates only for their first postcollege job.
Our mission also includes training graduates for their future as mature and reasoning citizens, able to understand their lives, work, and interests, as well as the needs of their communities, their nation, and the larger world.
That element is missing in the recent study by the Lumina Foundation and the Gallup organization, “What America Needs to Know About Higher Education Redesign.” The study attempts to discover what the broader U.S. public and business leaders think about the interface between higher education and business. In interpreting their polling data, the authors paint a bleak picture of the state of higher education, hence the redesign suggestion. But a closer look at their data yields different conclusions. <Read more.>