Book Club: ‘The Innovative University – Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out’

Written by  //  December 1, 2011  //  Book Club  //  2 Comments

The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out (Jossey-Bass Higher and Adult Education Series)This bi-monthly selection is entitled “The Innovative University – Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out”.

The language of crisis is nothing new in higher education—for 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’ advantages—but 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.

The Innovative University reveals how the traditional university survives by breaking with tradition, but thrives by building upon what it’s done best. – from the front cover

2 Comments on "Book Club: ‘The Innovative University – Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out’"

  1. Patrick Brown December 1, 2011 at 2:46 pm · Reply

    Yeah …Spreading education is spreading humanity :)

  2. Dr Anita Morgan January 19, 2012 at 12:57 pm · Reply

    I really wish we could get past the labeling of “for-profit” and “not-for-profit” higher ed institutions. The profit motivation is much less important than the student focus. Having worked in both types of institutions, I find that there are best practices from each. For example, the for-profit institutions, in my experience, tend to do a much better job of supporting students by providing academic advising, tutoring, etc. The large online for-profit schools have large teams of student support staff that help students navigate through the process of earning a degree by providing support for everything from financial aid to submitting assignments. If the state-funded institutions can stop thumbing their noses at the for-profits and learn from them, all students will benefit.

    On the flip side, the for-profit schools could learn from the public schools how to include academic freedom in their courses. Many of the online for-profit schools allow little or no freedom for faculty to bring their expertise into the courses.

    I agree with the quote from the book, “The student-centered university is the exception today. In the future, no other kind is likely to succeed.” When our focus is on attacking “the other kind” it’s not focused on students.

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