The Vacancy in the Heart of Higher Education

Peter Wood

  • Article
  • March 21, 2011

At the Chronicle of Higher Education's Innovations blog, NAS president Peter Wood shares some insights about what has been lost in higher education:

I refer to the slow disappearance of the sense that higher education has anything genuinely “higher” about it. The notion that the academy should distinguish most important knowledge from the vast realm of knowable stuff somehow began to flicker out—when? The fifties? The sixties? As we lost the confidence to make that distinction, the college curriculum lost its essential shape. In a way, everything became an elective, even if some of the courses were still required.
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