The End of Research Universities

Notes from an address by James Duderstadt, President Emeritus, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

– We are in a period of social change – we are producing more and more knowledge based products, and relatively less and less manufactured goods.
– Key issue for universities: IT will continue to expand exponentially.
– The event horizon is moving closer for disruptive technologies, making it more difficult to plan into the future.
– These changes will affect our activities and our organizations.
– Universities are knowledge servers.
– Librarians are more and more helping students navigate knowledge and not find books.
– In the near term universities will continue in their current form, but must experiment with new forms… Track innovations and experiment.
– The best approach the the Net Generation is to turn them loose and let them learn the way they want to learn… peer to peer teaching – “… I teach then I master”
– Take instruction out of the classroom and make learning happen in the lab or in other environments.
– IT will have a great effect on formal and informal learning. “Age of Empires is a graduate course in the middle ages.”
– New collaboration will take the loyalty of faculty in some cases, as they identify more closely with peers in their area of expertise rather than with other local faculty.
– People are not thinking deeply enought about the implications of the changes ahead.

Conclusions:
– We need to think, not about how to save the research university, but how will learning take place in the future, while preserving academic ideals.

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