Articles worth checking out

I’ve been on the road lately, so I’ve missed a lot of good articles. Time to get caught up on the feed reader:

College Tours are Broken: An article asking you how many 100k products you buy from 20-year olds. It’s an interesting piece that makes you really think about the college tour and how we could improve the process. That said, only the most elite schools are 100k. Most are far less than that, especially when you get down to the discount rate. So I’m not sure we need to do more to turn college into a sales and marketing experience, rather than an investment. Still it’s a thought provoking article. (HT @bradjward)

Telling Your Story and How So Many Miss It
Gary V talks about PR and “staying on message.”

Can you change everything?: Seth Godin gives you some ideas on how to get out of the business rut you’re in.

How To Win a CASE Gold: An instructive piece from Mark Sheehy @ mstonerblog. Judging CASE this year was a rewarding experience and I can tell you that a lot of what he says is oh-so-true.

Can Billions of Parents Be Wrong?: Perhaps parents’ intense efforts at influencing their children has some informational value about the parental profitability of such behavior.

End the university as we know it?

I was reading Mark C. Taylor’s op-ed in the New York Times entitled “End The University As We Know It” and one of the comments struck me as interesting:

Prof. Taylor is correct. Self-governance is at the root of the problem. Universities are not responsive to market forces or to their customers and it results not only in the problems that Prof. Taylor address but an ever larger one, poor quality of teaching. The idea that students can spend 40k or more per year to be herded into an auditorium for a lecture from some sage only to be actually taught by graduate students is a scandal that no K-12 institution could ever get away with.

Now ignoring for a second that K-12 education is very different than higher education, my question is, “Are we experiencing the next great shift in the way higher education operates as we head into the future?” Or will universities remain unscathed? I know things have changed a great deal, but much of what happens today, is very similar to what happened 40 or more years ago. The only difference is that it’s a lot more expensive now and college campuses in some places resemble mini-estates that reflect the tastes of an entirely different generation.

The article itself talked about ending tenure and other practices to bring higher ed back to earth, but I’m not really thinking about those matters. I’m more interested in students and the effect that things like student loans, career shifts and other issues will have on people and whether it’ll mean that fewer people will be as convinced their kids need college in the future than those of the past.

After all, the myth of college as the way to a “great job” is over. Now, it’s more of a necessity, like high school once was. Will future employers truly care less about degrees and more about competence? Will the Wikipedia of education replace the need for expensive degrees with peer reviewed courses of study that evaluate student competence for certain jobs? Will the price come down or will sticker shock be with us forever in one form or another? Should we ask the music industry?

I think the future is upon us and the winners will be those who engage it and make it their own. How that’ll happen, should be interesting to watch.