The "Existential" Crisis in Higher Education

Glenn Ricketts

At least, that’s what Syracuse University president Nancy Cantor is calling it in this recent piece at the Huffington Post.

Notwithstanding the ominous title, I’m not sure what Cantor intends  to say here : multiple re-readings haven’t gotten me out of the dark.  “From a media perspective,” she writes, the crisis is all about runaway costs and low productivity – college costs lots more money these days and doesn’t give you very much in return for that ever-inflating price tag.

But to put the point that way suggests to me at least that Cantor thinks there isn’t much substance to it. Rather than simply a “media perspective,” I’d say it reflects the experience of the poor folks who have shelled out the big money and don’t have much to show for it except a mountainous debt, bad grammar, and  unemployment.  The media may be reporting those trends, but they’re pretty “existential” for  lots of people and not simply the creation of journalists looking for a hot story.

I’m even less clear on what Cantor thinks we ought to do to address the “crisis,” although she suggests that we’ll need to focus our attention on “social mobility,” “civic leadership”  and “effective high-impact community-based collaborations.”    If I had to guess, I’d say that means hiring lots more deans of diversity, institutional wellness , sustainability and civic engagement with attendant  expensive commissions to study the crisis.    In other words, the same again, please.  Plus ca change……

  • Share

Most Commented

December 7, 2022

1.

New Study Tracks Rise of DEI in STEM Departments, Associations, Grants, and Literature

A new study published today by the National Association of Scholars, Ideological Intensification, offers an in-depth quantitative analysis of just how far DEI has advanced into STEM fields....

January 9, 2023

2.

NAS Celebrates the Nomination of Reform-Minded Trustees to the New College of Florida Board

The National Association of Scholars is delighted with Governor Ron DeSantis’ nomination of six education reformers to the Board of Trustees of the New College of Florida....

October 20, 2022

3.

NAS Statement on Nomination of Ben Sasse for University of Florida President

We believe that Senator Sasse would make an excellent president of the University of Florida, and we urge the Board of Trustees to follow the search committee’s recommendation....

Most Read

May 15, 2015

1.

Where Did We Get the Idea That Only White People Can Be Racist?

A look at the double standard that has arisen regarding racism, illustrated recently by the reaction to a black professor's biased comments on Twitter....

October 12, 2010

2.

Ask a Scholar: What is the True Definition of Latino?

What does it mean to be Latino? Are only Latin American people Latino, or does the term apply to anyone whose language derived from Latin?...

January 5, 2023

3.

NAS Condemns the Attacks against Jordan Peterson

The National Association of Scholars condemns the unrelenting illiberal attacks being levied against Dr. Peterson and against anyone who dares push back against the enemies of intellectual f......