Saturday, 17 December 2011

The 21st Century University

According to DeMillo, whose recent book I was discussing in the previous post, there are ten rules for a successful 21st century university to follow - and these apply especially to the large 'Middle' set of institutions, not so much to the elite few at the top, or to the profit-seeking institutions that form the growing third tier. These rules are as follows (DeMillo, 2011, pp272-279):

1. Forget who is above you;

2. Focus on  what differentiates you;

3. Establish your own brand;

4. Don't romanticize your weaknesses;

5. Be open;

6. Balance faculty-centrism and student-centrism;

7. Use technology;

8. Cut costs in half;

9. Define your own measures of success;

10. Adopt the New Wisconsin Idea.

Most of these points are moderately self explanatory, though I shall return to some of them in later posts. The last point will not be familiar at all to UK followers of this blog. What it refers to is the idea that universities should relate to and serve their local communities, a notion put forward in a lecture given by the then president of the University of Wisconsin, John Bascom, back in 1877. Bascom summed up the idea like this:

All inquiry, all truth must be passed over to the community by school and college, by pulpit and press, as a community possession; and as a supplement to this, every citizen must have the means of instruction so open to him that he shall be brought in  living contact with this knowledge. (my italics)

Now there's an interesting thought!

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