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Future Shock


AS AMERICAN AS MOM, APPLE pie, and baseball? As futurists, we think this heretofore timeless axiom could use an extreme makeover to better reflect the popular professional sports of our contemporary culture.

WE ALL SAW IT COMING--THE proverbial handwriting was on the wall. One would have had to be clueless to miss the energy crunch coming down the pipeline, with the cost of gasoline topping $4 per gallon, Northeastern states experiencing a rolling brownout, and families opting to remain at home on “staycations” this past summer. Indeed, with preowned hybrid Toyota Prius cars rarer than hen’s teeth, and with 33,000 signing up for GM’s new electric chariot—the Chevy Volt—the tree-hugging granola folks were not the only ones who felt the pinch on our natural resources last summer.

SO HERE WE ARE, SAME OLD story, stuck waiting for our NBA and NCAA colleagues to fly in to O'Hare for our planned press conference on a dreary winter afternoon in Chicago.

Flagship is defined as a ship in a fleet that carries the commanding admiral, the best or most important thing owned or produced by a particular organization, according to <em>The New Oxford American Dictionary,</em> (2nd ed.). How does it apply to state colleges today?

IN HIS POEM "MENDING WALL," Robert Frost declares, "Before I built a wall I'd ask to know/What I was walling in or walling out."

BACK IN THE ICONOCLASTIC '60s, a time when baby boomers were coming of age, schools of social work attracted starry-eyed social activists looking to hook their star to a worthy cause.

So there we were, stuck in another endless focus group, listening to faculty colleagues go on and on about how unfair life is. As proof, virtually all institutions have to play the rankings game or they'll be left out in the cold come fall semester student enrollment and orientation.

Last summer, my (Samels') daughter Gabrielle chided me for coming up empty-handed after a morning of fishing on Lake Cochituate near our home in Natick, Mass. "Skunked again, Dad?"