Hot take on the future of higher education

This is truly a hot take as it is more of a rambling than a well thought out idea. If sports can have hot takes right after the game, why can’t I make one up as an excuse?

Quite honestly, I’m terrified for the future of higher education. We have seen appropriations to higher education shrink and tuition increase. I’m breaking the rules and implying causation through this simple correlation. To make up for that, schools must increase enrollment to attract more tuition paying students. It seems that the mission of higher education is shifting along with it. To me, the mission of higher education is to turn you into a critical thinker. Yes, getting your degree is also an important part of that too; but, learning to think critically is something that transcends disciplines and useful to everyone. It gives us the ability to call bullshit on things without resorting to tweeting #fakenews. Unfortunately, it is difficult to market a school on the grounds of making you a critical thinker. Instead schools are selling college as your ticket into the workforce. They are also in an ever escalating arms race to offer amenities that other schools don’t have. Would you have gone to a particular school if it had a lazy river? Would you have gone to said school even if it meant higher student fees for the purpose of building the lazy river? Luckily, this is not a thought exercise as it actually happened at Louisiana State University.

Again, yes it a degree is an important thing to have when seeking a job. Likewise, the experiences we have outside of the classroom help define who we are and what become. I would contend though, that getting a degree should not just be for the sake of checking off boxes on applications. Choosing that school should not be because the rec center has all the cool stuff. I am worried that this what post-secondary education will be reduced to, box checking and partying.

I have done myself no favors with the paper for this class either, as I am writing on neoliberalism in higher education. It is difficult to overcome the pessimism towards higher education with the direction it has been trending. However, I do find hope for the future of higher education. I make the assumption that we are all in this class because we believe there is more to college than the degree. To me, knowing there are other people who are willing to fight for higher education means this is not a lost cause. I hope you believe that it is a cause worth fighting for.

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