Starting from Scratch – What Would Your University Look Like? – St. Thomas Libraries Blog
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Starting from Scratch – What Would Your University Look Like?

The Chronicle of Higher Education is having a bit of a contest.  What a 21st Century College would look like if we were starting from scratch. What’s missing below is why each person who submitted their vision would set it up that way. Read the article to get that.  I’d be interested in knowing if YOU would go to school there or if you would work there?

These are the different kinds with the high points indicated:

Costco University

  • Faculty own the institution, and administrators work for faculty
  • No dining halls, residence halls, athletics programs, or libraries (sigh)
  • Each professor makes $80,000 a year and teaches four courses per semester, or eight courses a year.
  • If 10 students take each course, each needs to pay $2,000 a course. Everything is rented (including classrooms).
  • No Scholarships
  • No R&D. If you want that you go to the sister institution, Costco Research and Development ALL professors expected to create intellectual property.

Let’s Go Monk! The 21st-Century Monastery, Reinvented

  • Strict vows of poverty, charity, and abstinence from social media.
  • Identical robes woven from the same fabric as sweatpants (decorative belts are permitted.)
  • Mobile devices are confiscated may be reclaimed by their owners only upon going into town
  • Communication takes place with quill, ink, and parchment.
  • Single-sex classes no larger than 15 (college is co-ed).
  • Academic year is 12 months with two six-week vacations and two months spent in a foreign country.
  • Pursues multidisciplinary answers to one Big Question, such as the clean-water crisis.
  • First two years. Courses in philosophy, world religion, the Great Books, mathematics, biology, chemistry, and the history of China, Russia, India, and Britain.
  • Must study Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, or Hindi.
  • Third year matches each student with a faculty mentor who guides him or her through a multidisciplinary capstone project.  Students are forbidden, upon risk of expulsion, to create résumés or start the job search until the fourth year.
  • Fourth year Leave the university and the robes for full-time internships with alumnae.
  • Grow wine and make beer,  grow and cook all of your own food. (lowers tuition costs and complaints about the quality of cafeteria food.) Students chill out in one of the many dance halls on campus.

College of the Global Village

  • Multidisciplinary investigation of varied meanings and practices of the good life
  • Immersion into new languages Acquisition of an additional spoken and written language
  • First year in which students participate in four immersive blocks of study, each eight weeks long: research and writing
  • Matched with experts in their chosen field, including those from academia as well as nonteaching professionals with whom students collaborate on a research-and-writing project
  • The History of Science and Ecology, Engagement with great books,
  • Second and third years a fulfill eight additional learning blocks
  • Fourth year is spent in a guided internship overseen by a professor or community leader

The Mobile University

  • Four-year “mobile college,” whose “home” is defined not by place but by just four faculty mentors—one each in the social sciences, the humanities, the sciences, and the arts—who move from institution to institution over four years with a cohort consisting of no more than 40 students.
  • First-year liberal arts.
  • Second year placed in an American college or university in the social sciences: focus is on the meaning of citizenship in a democratic society, studied in interdisciplinary fashion.
  • Third year sciences and the humanities.
  • They continue studying the second language.
  • Final year, complete their studies at a university in the same nation where they began their studies. Four faculty members each is paid $25,000 per year, plus room, board, and travel expenses. One of the faculty members earns an additional stipend of $25,000 for arranging Cost estimate of four years for the mobile college is $1.5-million, with each of the 40 students paying $37,500.

The Reinvention Poem – a poem that I can’t do justice to so you should just read it!

  • Diversity
  • Open to the world
  • The future is embraced
  • Green studies
  • Just pay when you can,
  • Or  work off your dues,
  • As our admins are alumni in cooperative education
  • Emphasis on technology, creating, and sharing,


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