Disruptive Innovation in Higher Ed

In The Innovative University, Christensen and Eyring introduce several means for disruptively innovating higher education and to revitalize the embedded academic culture that has not changed much in 150 years, which had mostly just grown and improved upon tried and true practices of educating students in higher education.  Some of the disruptions include, but are not limited to the following:

  • removal of intercollegiate athletics,
  • offering classes throughout the calendar year,
  • faculty scholarship should focus on integrative and applied forms over discovery,
  • more collaboration with students on faculty scholarship
  • consolidation and specialization of programs offered at a particular institution – program prioritization
  • offering credit for life / work experience
  • provide more experiential learning opportunities (i.e. Internships)
  • articulation agreements with high schools, community colleges, and companies
  • changes in accreditation practices to address different learning outcomes
  • technological changes that allow for students to learn at their own pace, increase cognitive outcomes, and provide adaptive technologies

The authors also point out that the value of a higher education is often intagnible in the form of value of social tolerance, personal responsibility, and respect for the rule of law.

In The Disruption Machine, Jill Lepore also points out that colleges and universities have been “subjected to disruptive innovation” but are not industries in the same way as other companies that have benefited from disruption.  Schools have “obligations that lie outside the realm of earnings” like the social values introduced through a college education as mentioned above.

What additional disruptive innovation is needed in the university to curb the rising cost of higher education and to better prepare college graduates for the modern workforce?  How will these disruptions maintain the social obligations that universities have long bestowed upon the graduates of the institutions?

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