Yeah, that’s a slightly clickbait-y title, but these are scary times. Schools are cutting programs, scaling way back and in some extreme instances, closing altogether. It’s hard to go a full week without seeing an article in the news about the impending death of higher education.
Is higher ed dying? No, I don’t think so. Is it sick? Yes, I believe so.
I recently read this news story about big companies like Google, Apple and Netflix no longer requiring college degrees for its employees. This quote jumped out at me:
Apple CEO Tim Cook recently said that about half of Apple’s US employment last year included people who did not have four-year degrees. Cook reasoned that many colleges do not teach the skills business leaders need most in their workforce, such as coding.
That’s worrying, but not surprising. It’s challenging to quickly pivot at enterprises as large as a university. Apple can decide tomorrow to stop making X and instead make Y. That’s a much harder thing to do for us.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately as we go through the college search process with our oldest child. I’ve been focusing like never before on outcomes and cost, and what kind of experience my son will have. I wonder what the experience will be like 5 years after that for my younger son. Expect a large number of posts in the coming months about my experiences of this search process. I know how the sausage is made, so I’ve been both surprised and downright shocked at what some schools are doing to reach potential students. That’s a (series of) post(s) for another day.
I watched this video last week, and while I disagree with some of what Patrick Bet-David is saying in it, some of makes a lot of sense, especially the parts about speed, memory and technology changing so fast that some programs are out of date before they even start. Have a watch and let me know what, if anything, jumps out at you and what parts you think are applicable.