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The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out Hardcover – July 26, 2011
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"Scholars will find this work a good point of departure for asking more pointed questions about how nest to meet the demands of an increasingly disparate population of students (and potential students) who have different needs and expectations from previous generations of college-going individuals." — Journal of College Student Retention Vol. 15 (3)
From the Inside Flap
The language of crisis is nothing new in higher educationfor years critics have raised alarms about rising tuition, compromised access, out of control costs, and a host of other issues. Yet, though those issues are still part of the current crisis, it is not the same as past ones. For the first time, disruptive technologies are at work in higher education. For most of their histories, traditional universities and colleges have had no serious competition except from institutions with similar operating models. Now, though, there are disruptive competitors offering online degrees. Many of these institutions operate as for-profit entities, emphasizing marketable degrees for working adults. Traditional colleges and universities have valuable qualities and capacities that can offset those disruptors' advantagesbut not for everyone who aspires to higher education, and not without real innovation. How can institutions of higher education think constructively and creatively about their response to impending disruption?
Written by Clayton Christensen, the father of the theory of disruptive innovation, and his colleague, Henry J. Eyring, The Innovative University offers a nuanced and hopeful analysis of the traditional university and its DNA. It explores how and why universities must change to ensure future success.
Throughout the book Christensen and Eyring show what it takes to apply Christensen's acclaimed model of disruptive innovation to a higher education environment. Through a penetrating examination of the histories and current transformations of two very different universitiesHarvard and BYU-Idahoand using other illustrative examples of innovation in higher education, The Innovative University explores how universities can find innovative, less costly ways of performing their uniquely valuable functions and thereby save themselves from decline. The book explores the strategic choices and alternative ways in which traditional universities can change to ensure their ongoing economic vitality. To avoid the pitfalls of disruption and turn the scenario into a positive and productive one, universities must re-engineer their institutional DNA from the inside out.
The Innovative University reveals how the traditional university survives by breaking with tradition, but thrives by building upon what it's done best.
Top customer reviews
There are a lot of aha moments in this book for anyone in higher education field; many of the things than seem natural in any university today, like the courses numbering and electives system, were a thoughtful response by Harvard to challenges faced at some point in time. Some of those initiatives have their own unintended consequences such as a complete fragmentation of a typical student's college experience and wildly escalating cost structure. Online education promises to solve the challenges of costs of higher education and expanding access, while also preserving the quality of learning experience.
Read also `The Idea of the Digital University' to get another perspective on the challenges to the higher education model and a new vision where more of the university activities are digital and centered around student learning.
There is lots of interesting stuff here, but the 'meat' of the book is in the second half: I thought that too much of the first half was taken up with a history of Harvard that was more detailed than absolutely necessary. However, this book is essential reading for faculty and university administrators.
However, it does not exam the longer term, bigger changes likely from the new age of information.
For thousands of years information was scarce and historically controlled by the government or church as a form of power. Universities came out of churches with professors talking more like a priest preaching than any type of real joint search for truth.
We have moved beyond that and today's best colleges and universities create learning environments focused on higher order critical thinking skills, information search and presentation, and more than just the old fashioned talking head professor.
We are now in a totally new age of information abundance. The Internet makes available all of the data and information of the ages, and lively viewpoints from around the world. This paradigm shift will lead to a top/bottom transformation of learning at all levels.
Universities, and even more K12 education, must move to embrace this ability to permit students to learn based on their passion of the moment, provide "Just-In-Time" information and lessons, and try their conclusions out on a world wide blog.
I, and others, have been pointing to this much more dramatic change in education for decades. We have the ability today to keep the intense learning mode of a new born baby learning to walk, asking why and learning at an incredible rate. Humans are born 'learning machines' who want to know it all, right away.
That baby learns fast and only slows down when adults (parents and teachers) start answering the why question with "because, shut up". The adults inability to keep up with the inquisitive mind has limited all of our learning for ages.
New technology and tools can be combined with new methods, organizations, and give the world a chance to really improve the quality and universiality of its human capital expansion.
(I am a PhD tenured Professor of Business and Economics who has taught for over 40 years. I was on the both the Colorado State Board of Education, and later the State Community College board. see more at [...])