A Chronicle of Higher Education piece about a new report from Public Agenda, a policy research group in New York says that the title, "Still on the Sidelines: What Role Will Trustees Play in Higher Education Reform?", pretty much tells the story.
"Based on anonymous interviews with 39 college trustees, the study finds that only a minority of board members view standard educational models as obsolete and in need of a fundamental overhaul. More common is the view that colleges faced with fiscal challenges will have to increase class sizes and rely more heavily on adjunct professors to respond to financial shortfalls."
In other words, there is a problem, but some relatively small tweaks using existing tools will do the trick. If only this were the case.
What the Public Agenda study discovered is that trustees are not challenging their institutional leaders to fundamentally rethink how to do higher education, or at least enough of it to create a new business model. Until all of us in higher, independent and international education get past the ancient formula of Xteachers + Ystudents + Zclassrooms = School, we are doomed to apply short-term and limited solutions. But, as the Public Agenda study makes clear, there will be little impetus for such far-reaching change from inside the board room.