December 12, 2011


But, in general, the visions of innovation offered up by panelists—more online learning, greater engagement with public schools, new forms of financial aid—were far from revolutionary and frequently short on specifics. During Thursday night’s keynote talk, the panelists, all academic heavy hitters, were pressed by a questioner from the audience to give one example of transformative change they would like to see enacted. Most of the panelists demurred, with Mr. Bharucha finally volunteering, “More vibrant, multidisciplinary projects for students and faculty.”

If speakers were short on prescriptions for change, they were long on the diagnoses of what ails higher education, from unprepared students to public officials preoccupied with standardized testing.

The bursting higher education bubble will lead to change, but disruptive change seldom comes from within.

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