The Higher Ed Bubble

It seems that the higher ed bubble is bursting. There's no way that that private universities can survive when their faculty don't actually teach classes. The public colleges are in trouble, because the money isn't coming from the state capital anymore. I've heard that community colleges are actually doing well, but my sources who teach in community colleges have said that it's tough there, too.

Several academic bloggers have been writing about how higher ed can become viable again.

Tyler Cowen writes, "But the very best teachers of the future will take on an increasing
role as editors, collage creators, and DJs.  A brilliant scientist who
doesn't understand YouTube will be crippled as a teacher.  Adjuncts may
lead the wave of innovation here."

Tim Burke writes, "The real crunch points will come from one of two major decisions:
either cutting or amending need-blind admissions on one hand, or
eliminating current positions on the other."

Either way, there's going to be a lot of PhDs selling jewelry on Etsy, soon.

4 thoughts on “The Higher Ed Bubble

  1. One thing I that bothers me about all of these higher education articles is that they implicitly conflate the state of undergraduate instruction with the health of universities.
    Take Tyler Cowen’s comment “A brilliant scientist who doesn’t understand YouTube will be crippled as a teacher.” It’s probably true. It is also beside the point as any scientist, brilliant or otherwise, doesn’t need to teach to be employed at a university. He might was well say “A brilliant scientist who doesn’t understand ovens will be crippled as a baker.”
    You can call this situation good or bad, but it is clearly the case and has been for years. Maybe I’m guilty of conflating ‘University’ with ‘R1 University’, but in terms of jobs and dollars, that seems like a smaller distortion.

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  2. What is interesting about the posted link included here is that it refers to Reed College, which has one of the best faculty to student ratios out there. Note that the concern with increased enrollment was that they might have to increase course sizes to (as I recall) over *20* students. Reed is hardly an example of a school that doesn’t put its faculty into the classroom.
    In fact, the employment that seems to be top-heavy, at least as cited here, is that of administrators and staffers. Faculty, they note, actually take very little of college budgets.

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  3. “there’s going to be a lot PhDs selling jewelry on Etsy, soon.”
    But aren’t the boomers retiring? Please?

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