The vast majority of American college students attend two thousand or so private andpublic institutions that might be described as the Middle--reputable educational institutions, butnot considered equal to the elite and entrenched upper echelon of the Ivy League and otherprestigious schools. Richard DeMillo has a warning for these colleges and universities in theMiddle: If you do not change, you are heading for irrelevance and marginalization. InAbelard to Apple, DeMillo argues that these institutions, clinging precariouslyto a centuries-old model of higher education, are ignoring the social, historical, and economicforces at work in today's world. In the age of iTunes, open source software, and for-profit onlineuniversities, there are new rules for higher education.
DeMillo, who has spentyears in both academia andin industry, explains how higher education arrived at its current parlousstate and offers a road map for the twenty-first century. He describes the evolving model for highereducation, from European universities based on a medieval model to American land-grant colleges toApple's iTunes U and MIT's OpenCourseWare. He offers ten rules to help colleges reinvent themselves(including "Don't romanticize your weaknesses") and argues for a focus on teachingundergraduates.
DeMillo's message--for colleges and universities, students,alumni, parents, employers, and politicians--is that any college or university can change course ifit defines a compelling value proposition (one not based in "institutional envy" ofHarvard and Berkeley) and imagines an institution that delivers it.