The difference between the most dissimilar characters, between a philosopher and a common street porter, for example, seems to arise not so much from nature, as from habit, custom, and education. – Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments
What does it really mean to be “educated”? And what is the role of institutions of higher education? Are our universities institutions of vocational training, funded to prepare students for jobs? Or are they institutions whose purpose is something a bit higher than that, perhaps loftier? Or both? Or neither?
Whatever your answers to these kinds of questions might be, the fact is that we are in the midst of an increasingly rapid transformation in education, across dimensions of purpose, content, pedagogy and methodologies. Technology, social change and the decades-long trend of ever-increasing cost have left us with many unanswered questions, multiple challenges and, of course, the need to be highly innovative in an educational culture that tends to be wary of change.