The (Continual) Transformation of Higher Ed

By Clay Shirky

The coming transformations in American higher education

The coming transformations in American higher education

By subscribing, you agree with Revue’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy and understand that The (Continual) Transformation of Higher Ed will receive your email address.

The (Continual) Transformation of Higher Ed

Stay up to date, be part of a community and show your support.




Transformation of Higher Ed: Great Books and American Diversity

The culture wars, the struggle between competing social norms and institutional behaviors, are coming for the college curriculum again. Because the American educational system was originally copied from the British one, our colleges have historically provisio…


Transformation of Higher Ed: The Problematic Victory of College Education

Last fall, headlines from a Georgetown report on the financial returns to various levels of education received wide coverage. Money: Does College Really Pay off? 16% of High School Grads Earn More Than Many Workers With Bachelor's DegreesInside Higher Educati…


Transformation of Higher Ed: Thank you, and see you next year

This is the last, brief note of the year. Mostly I want to say thank you all for subscribing. There is no master plan for these essays, and I mean that in the most optimistic and thankful way possible. I needed a place to hash out some linked ideas about high…


Transformation of Higher Ed: Quit Lit; More on the donation

Quit Lit, the loose collection of ‘On Leaving Academia’ essays written over the last forty years, concerned the imbalance in the academic job markets, especially in the humanities and social sciences, after the post-war Golden Age ended, leaving too many PhDs…


Transformation of Higher Ed: Four Futures for Online Scale

Will online education force dozens or even hundreds of in-person colleges to close in the next decade? Having studied the matter for the last several years, I can confidently answer: That’s the wrong question. Whether more colleges close than open or vice-ver…


Transformation of Higher Ed: Calvin Chimes/First donation/Collapsing SAT

Sometimes, what Google brings you back is better than what you went looking for.I can't remember what I was in the middle of when I came across the "The Downsize", but it's a fascinating series about the choices and tradeoffs faced by Calvin University, a sma…


Transformation of Higher Ed: Why hasn't online instruction lowered costs more?

At the beginning of this century, online education was a small but promising development. Though only about 6% of college students took any sort of online class at all, and only 1% of degrees were fully online, conditions seemed good for growth, and, if onlin…


The (Continual) Transformation of Higher Ed: Links and Housekeeping

I thought about including links and housekeeping last week, like this was an actual newsletter, but 'long Usenet post' has been my writing style for 30 years, so I think essay issues will remain focused on a single argument.Meanwhile, this issue is only links…


The (Continual) Transformation of Higher Ed: Winding Down

One curious aspect of academia as a business is that many people in academia don’t think of it as a business. Some of this stems from a sensible rejection of the profit motive in organizing our affairs -- we insist on the kinds of cross-subsidies that let som…


The (Continual) Transformation of Higher Ed: Desperation is the mother of invention

Why is it so hard for universities to innovate? There are many answers to that question, but the most important one is that the premise is wrong.Universities are extraordinary sources of innovation and always have been. Starting with the interpretation and in…


The (Continual) Transformation of Higher Ed - Introduction

I’m starting a newsletter about innovation in the institutional form of higher education. Every noun in that last sentence cuts my potential audience in half, but there you go; the heart wants (to write about) what the heart wants. In my case, that's the pecu…