For those who'd rather just read the transcript of the video, it appears below.
by Marty Nemko
(transcript of the above video)
In this video, I present my proposal for how to reinvent higher education. From Time to the New York Times, higher education is finally being called to task for its ever worsening value added. Students and families spend fortunes and so many don't graduate. A major study out of the University of Chicago, Academically Adrift, found that almost half of those who graduate grow so little in writing, reading, critical thinking and so on. So many of those students are able to only find a job they could have gotten without college. But these criticisms of higher ed ar e usually accompanied by only the vaguest or palliative of suggestions for improvement. Here, I present a six-point plan for higher education's reinvention:
1. Colleges should be required to post a Report Card on itself. If each car tire is required to mold its treadline, temperature, and traction rates into its sidewall, should not colleges, one of our largest and most important purchases be required to post their graduation rates and learning growth amounts, broken down by student high school record? Shouldn't colleges be required to report the percentage of graduates within each major who are professionallly employed within a year of graduation? A substantive college report card prominent posted would enable students, counselors and families not only to pick the right college but to decide, if for that student, a wiser path might be a community college, an apprenticeship, a military, or on-the-job training, for example, learning how to run your own business at the elbow of a successful and ethical entrepreneur. After all, according to the U.S. Dept of Education, of the 200,000 students that so-called four year colleges admit each year, fewer than 1 in four graduate even if given 8 1/2 years. And of those who graduate, most do so with a very low GPA in a major unlikely to excite many employers, for example, sociology, physical education, or art rather than computer science, accounting, or engineering. A College Report Card is the least we can do--ensure informed consent for the consumer.
2. There should be two categories of professors: teaching professors and research professors. Universities find it more economical to have their professors do both, but the skills and interests required to teach the typical undergraduate are orthogonal to, the opposite of what's required to do publishable research. Teaching faculty should be selected and promoted on how well they can be transformative, inspirational instructors of undergraduates , not how well they can write a research proposal on the arcana that gets funded, of interest mainly to a few dozen other theoretically oriented PhDs.
3. All existing teaching faculty should be required to successfully complete a teaching bootcamp, consisting in part of master instructors videoing each participant teaching and providing individualized feedback. Any teaching faculty member who subsequently has a year of average student evaluations below a 4 on a 5 point scale should be required to successfully complete a remedial teaching bootcamp.
4 General education courses are the 10 to 15 courses that most colleges require to help ensure a well-rounded education, but which most students view as "courses to get out of the way." While it's true that life should be informed by the wisdom embeddeed in typical general educartion courses such as philosophy and literature, in fact, most young people simply cannot be convinced of that, so poor attendance, cheating, inattention, and minimal learning is more the norm than the exception. Rather than going through the motions, realism dictates that we revise the general education curriculum to focus more on issues of more immediate concern to the vast majority of undergraduates: public speaking, financial literacy, practical problem solving, entrepreneurship, practical ethics, interpersonal communication, career-finding and job-landing, etc.
5. Use Dream-Team-Taught courses. Especially for widely taught and difficult courses such as calculus and organic chemstry, the U.S. Dept of Education should fund development of highly-interactive, immersive courses team-taught on video, disseminated online by a dream team of the nation's finest instructors. The courses would be made available free to all colleges. This would save the colleges money, enabling them, hopefully, to lower tuition, and more important would ensure that all students from the most poorly funded college to Harvard would receive world-class instructor. A university could elect to provide a professor or teaching assistant on site to provide the personal touch or allow students to complete the dream-team-taught courses at home, thereby saving the need for classroom buildings and/or allowing colleges to serve more students with minimal additional expense.
6. the notion of the traditional country-club-like campus is obsolte. Not only does it contribute to enormous cost, it is to the green values espoused on most universities. I believe that most campuses could be shrunk by 80% with little or no loss in quality of experience, perhaps even a gain. In addition to the aforementioned dream-team-taught courses, which students could complete at home, in-person classes could be taught in professors' homes that sit vacant while professors trek to campus, try to find parking spots on campus, etc. Instead of building expensive swimming pools, big, expensive shrub-filled campuses, utlize pools at with local community centers, hotels, and so on. Campuses could be quite compact, consisting of just a streamlined administration building to accommodate a streamlined administration, a student activities building for student club meetings, concerts, and so on, and a reduced number of classroom buildings.
To summarize, the six points in my plan to reinvent higher education are: 1. Require all colleges to prominently post a College Report Card. 2. Have separate faculty for teaching and for research. 3. Require all faculty to successfully complete a teaching bootcamp. 4. Revise general education courses to reflect the content that most undergraduates are open to learning. 5. Use Dream-team-taught courses: Courses taught on interactive video, disseminated online by a dream-team of the nation's finest instructors, with an in-person teaching assistant locally to provide the human touch. 5. Streamline the enormously costly country-club campuses, which would enable colleges to cut student costs of attending dramatically. That's my reinvention of higher education. Thanks for watching. I'm Marty Nemko.