Taking The “Public” Out Of Public Universities

“Today colleges and universities are seen principally as providing tickets to financial security and economic status. Few people worry about higher-education institutions leading young people astray. If anything, the lament is that they have, in their pursuit of market advantage, become dispensers of degrees and certificates rather than vibrant communities of educators who originate, debate, and promulgate important ideas. What happened? In part, colleges and universities are what they are today because the 1970s began so badly. The result is likely to be equally clear: a set of colleges and universities that have come to believe their futures are best served by satisfying the interests of their customers, even if that ultimately means becoming increasingly self-interested and detached from broader public goals.”