Over the last few years, people who study and report on higher education have spent much time talking about the wave of revolution coming for colleges and universities. From MOOCs to student debt to reduced state funding, most people seem to agree that the structure of higher education is unsustainable.
That’s why it was surprising to hear University of Washington President Michael K. Young say that he doesn’t think the core structure of top-tier universities is likely to change in the next couple of decades.
"What goes on on the campus of one of the great public research universities in terms of teaching, in terms of student engagement—it’s going to be enhanced, it’s going to be different, it’s going to be better, but it’s not going away," he said in an interview with The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal at an event in Seattle last week.
The question they were discussing is whether universities will inevitably go through a period of “disaggregation,” or reduced enrollment and competition from the growing number of two-year degree programs, technical training schools, and for-profit education ventures.
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