Monday, June 13, 2005

Big universities in a small world

Seth Godin is a sharp guy! In his blog he wrote this piece, Small is the new big. He was not talking about education. He could have been, perhaps he should have been. Another smart fellow (and SJSU Alum) Robert Scoble wrote this post about thinking small. In my opinion big is one of our biggest problems. One of the most frustrating aspects of working for the university for me is all the times I have seen us let great opportunities slip through our fingers because of our Byzantine bureaucracy. That is a result of our bigness, the absence of a need to produce a profit and our historic lack of competitive pressure. Do our students care about big, do they want us to be big? Yes, now they do.

But, when the business community, parents and students start to see more value in degrees from smaller universities that are more willing to innovate, more able to adjust to learning needs and use more efficient teaching methods to produce better learning experiences and improved learning outcomes; we could be in big trouble. The world is increasingly getting small and we are used to our big size and our geography protecting our student base and feeding us constant enrollments. But, emerging technologies are destroying the insulation of geography and we have to prepare to compete and sometimes it seems as though we don't even know the meaning of the word.

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