The March 13 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education has a list of 13 reasons why colleges are hurting in the current economic downturn. They write that colleges managed their investments poorly, failed to show leadership in building quality institutions, ignored their customers’ needs, failed to get the support of state legislatures, and dodged accountability initiatives.
The list is a bit conservative in scope, so I suggest a 14th reason to liven it up a bit:
Colleges have failed to establish a bold strategic focus and direction in reshaping higher education.
Rather than reorienting themselves on becoming institutions centered on innovation and creativity, they have latched onto 19th century production models. In many universities, this is best represented in the growth of central administration regimes, which seek to better manage the products and services that universities produce. How might universities leapfrog their contemporaries to provide meaningful inputs in the 21st century?
Leapfrog institutions relentlessly disrupt themselves to compete successfully in the global knowledge and innovation economy. They work ahead of the competition in teaching, research, innovation, and service. They avoid playing catch-up.