Recent Posts



The Weekender: Creative Destruction--The New Economic Reality in Higher Education (and 4 Steps to Av

The Weekender features a longer form publication or multimedia production from a reputable source. We select articles or things to watch or listen to that discuss issues and opportunities we deem just off the radar for many business people, students, and faculty. We aim to expand the mind, broaden the heart, and sharpen the analysis. Have a great weekend!

My notes:

The expansion of sustainability in business schools must be understood within the broader context of changes in higher education. Post-secondary education is being disrupted, like all industries, despite being insulated due to inelastic demand, relative monopoly-status, and sheer cultural inertia ("I go to college just because that's what you do...".) However, disruption is happening thanks to the usual converging forces of economics, technology and culture. In light of these trends, business education for sustainability needs to be scalable, much of it online, modular, accessible, and a superb customer experience supported with massive marketing dollars. Business schools will need to be like life-long partners like financial planners, but for career relevance and excellence.

For those seeking true innovation--and not just rearranging the deck chairs--understanding the new economic reality of higher education is critical.

Creative Destruction: The New Economic Reality in Higher Education (Academic Impressions, by Marcel J. Dumestre, Ed.D.)

"Clayton Christensen recently doubled down on his prediction that half of U.S. colleges and universities will close or merge in the next ten to fifteen years."
"The cost of attending a university has risen by almost 260% since 1980, while the consumer price index increased by only 120%. Compounding the problem is that real average wages (accounting for inflation) only have the same purchasing power as they did 40 years ago."
"Based upon the average national six-year graduation rate, higher education has just under a 65% customer success rate. And this is for a credential that is advertised as a four-year degree. Other industries would be accused of a bait and switch mode of operation."

This article:

  1. Defines the new economic reality facing higher education.

  2. Takes a closer look at the forces shaping our sector, applying both a macro view ("creative destruction") and a micro view ("disruptive innovation") perspective.

  3. Reviews some of the prototypical responses of institutional leaders to the crisis facing our sector.

  4. Reviews two examples of transformational responses, by contrast.

  5. Issues a call to action, offering a four-phrase framework for the type of strategic thinking needed to navigate this future and take our institutions forward.

Author: Marcel J. Dumestre, Ed.D. Marcel is a retired academic administrator who writes about higher education strategy and philosophy of education. He held positions for nearly 30 years as a tenured professor, academic dean, and academic vice president at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, Regis University, and Loyola University New Orleans. Marcel is recognized as an innovator in distance education, administrative strategy, and academic leadership development. Marcel’s latest book is Financial Sustainability in US Higher Education: Transformational Strategy in Troubled Times (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).

Read further...