Reinventing Higher Ed

Thursday, January 24, 2013
Editor's note: Academics and administrators throughout U.S. higher education don't know what to expect from former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who last week became president of Purdue University. In "An Open Letter to the People of Purdue," Daniels evokes the respect for accountability, market forces, cost controls and eggs-breaking innovation that guided his governorship, but that many in the higher ed industry see as antithetical to their mission. Wait until they read about the looming "STE." Excerpts: I have spoken to a host of experts across the spectrum of higher education, including more than a dozen current and past university presidents. I have visited campuses including Harvard, Yale and Chicago, and attended seminars on topics such as the impact of technology and the restructuring of student assistance. And I have read as much as I could manage of the gusher of books, articles and interviews predicting major change or even upheaval in American higher education. I doubt that even the most focused and specialized of Purdue researchers have failed to notice the criticisms and the sometimes apocalyptic predictions swirling around higher education. They come from outside observers and lifelong academics and from all points of the philosophical compass.

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