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ERIC Number: EJ994263
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Apr-29
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
Business Advice Meets Academic Culture
Blumenstyk, Goldie
Chronicle of Higher Education, Apr 2012
The University of North Texas at Dallas (UNT-Dallas) was conceived 10 years ago as a public institution along tried-and-true lines--a comprehensive metropolitan university meant to serve a diverse student population and to improve the economic outlook of a part of the city that prosperity has left behind. But that was before management consultants from the likes of Bain & Company began popping up at colleges. It was before disciples of Harvard Business School's Clayton M. Christensen--champion of "disruptive innovation"--began winning converts to their ideas for reinventing higher education. Now UNT-Dallas administrators are considering a new model, based on the work of Bain, that would use those disruptive, efficiency-minded ideas as tools to reshape this fledgling university, which has a full-time-equivalent enrollment of only about 1,000 and a 264-acre campus with exactly two buildings. The prospect excites local civic leaders but has left faculty members scared--and feeling like pawns in the emerging national debate on how to make colleges more affordable and accessible. Bain's model calls for a narrow set of career-focused majors in fields like business, information technology, and criminal justice, as well as for a year-round trimester calendar. It would de-emphasize research by faculty members so they could teach as many as 12 courses per year, and it would rely on heavy use of so-called hybrid courses, which would replace some face-to-face teaching with online instruction. It would focus not only on the adult students the institution serves now but also on motivated 18-to-22-year-olds, and it would pay students to take on some advising and administrative tasks normally handled by staff members. It would also reimburse students for their final two trimesters if they are on track to graduate within four years. Bain projects that the model would allow UNT-Dallas to offer an education for less than $6,000 a year well into the future--a bit less than the $6,600 students pay now. Bain says that by adopting the new model and increasing enrollment, the university could operate by 2022 at a cost of $30,000 per graduate. Without a change in course, Bain says, that cost would be about $100,000 per graduate. Bain officials, university administrators, an advisory commission that includes a who's who of Dallas civic leadership, and Mr. Christensen himself hope their model will make UNT-Dallas central to the national conversation on college affordability. Bain says the model could break higher education's cycle of rising costs in the same way that "minimills," those iconic examples from Mr. Christensen's books on disruption and innovation, revolutionized the steel industry in the 1970s.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas