The student strikes in Québec and the debate surrounding higher-education costs are but a single example of the pressures affecting universities. Here are some interesting takes on this issue:
TEDxRyersonU – Dr. Alan Shepard – Think Different: Why Universities Need to Change
You might like “Imagining the Future of the University” on the Chronicle of Higher Education blog by “Prof. Hacker” on March 15, 2012.
Also of interest, is this article by John Tagg in Change (the Magazine of higher learning) called Why Does the Faculty Resist Change?. The article presents the difficulties in managing and optimizing the curriculum in universities.
In my personal opinion, Universities are a complex ecosystem where a multitude of fauna and flora interact to create and foster a learning environment for individuals and society at large. It imposes itself a style constraint, where “democracy” is taken to a level of consensual decision-making with little regard to the end-result. Process over outcome. This is not bad in and of itself, just something one does not encounter in many places – I would assume the United Nations and perhaps (still) certain government agencies…
The problem is that everybody is involved in decisions, but it is hard to find someone responsible. Discussion is key and we all take a (small) step at the same time. Frustrating and inefficient for some, fascinating and collaborative for others. I haven’t yet figured out the key elements that can halt or hurry a project, but I assume humility and openness are key elements.
But trying to get a project to start is not obvious, but absolutely rewarding given the potential benefits for society!