What Is the Future of Higher Education?

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Terrific Atlantic article by ALIA WONG, ADRIENNE GREEN, AND LI ZHOU

http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/12/hope-despair-higher-education/421803/

Matt Rourke / AP / Zak Bickel / The Atlantic
Matt Rourke / AP / Zak Bickel / The Atlantic

William Deresiewicz, writer and author of Excellent Sheep weights in–

Reason for despair: The continued dominance of a narrowly “practical” approach at all levels. This is the attitude that says that the exclusive purpose of education is to prepare workers for the labor force. It shows up, among other places, in the overwhelming focus on math and reading in K-12 and the fetishization of STEM fields and universal disparagement of the liberal arts in college. It also underlies the continuing privatization of public education through the promotion of charter schools and other aspects of the “reform” agenda as well as the ongoing defunding of state universities—the idea being that if education serves the purposes of the market, it should be under the control of the market.

Reason for hope: The gathering resistance to this mentality, which I see in the movement for tuition-free, or at least debt-free, public higher education; in the opposition to high-stakes testing in K-12, which has led to the repeal and replacement of No Child Left Behind; and in the proliferation of new alternative educational models. Students (and their parents) are getting tired of being treated like revenue streams and exploitable resources. But whether we will gather sufficient political strength to oust the entrenched interests on the other side is still a very open question.

Laurence Kaptain

About Laurence Kaptain

The College of Arts & Media at CU Denver We envision a world made smaller, and more fully human, by the artist’s interpretation of the human experience. Our students come to us with passion for artistic expression. Our goal is to send them out into the world confident of purpose, ready to succeed. Mission Our mission is to effect change by preparing students to successfully pursue their passions. Our students acquire the skills they need to excel in an academically rigorous, experiential learning environment energized by creative exchange, real-world experience and diversity of voice. Laurence Kaptain, Dean of the College of Arts and Media at the University of Colorado Denver, brings 16 years of higher education leadership experience at leading public and private universities to his new assignment. As a recording artist he can be heard on a Grammy-winning recording (2001) with New York's Orpheus Chamber Ensemble, as well as numerous recordings with the Chicago Symphony (Solti, Boulez, Jarvi), St. Louis Symphony (Slatkin), St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (Wolf) and LaScala Opera (Reynolds). He is currently a Fellow in the Royal Society of the Arts, a member of the National Advisory Board of the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP), a member of the Board of Directors of the Denver School for the Arts Foundation, Dr. Kaptain served as the Director of Creative Initiatives in the Department of Research and Economic Development and Paula Manship Professor of Music, and prior to that, Dean of the College of Music and Dramatic Arts and Penniman Family Professor of Music at Louisiana State University from 2009-14. Prior to assuming this post at LSU, he was Dean of Shenandoah Conservatory near Washington, DC, Director of the heralded Schwob School of Music in Georgia, and Vice-Provost for Faculty Programs and Academic Quality at UMKC. He received the first doctorate in percussion instruments at the University of Michigan, where he was a Fulbright Scholar to Mexico and received the prestigious Rackham Graduate School Pre-Doctoral Fellowship.