Friday, November 25, 2016

Trump’s Chance to Fix American Higher Education - By Bonnie K. Snyder

Donald Trump’s election brings with it both an opportunity and an imperative to straighten out the mess that modern higher education has become. The level of disconnection of the academy from the rest of America is most recently evidenced by the fact that the Ivory Tower -- for all its huffy pretenses of superior knowledge and insight -- was utterly blindsided by this presidential election’s result (along with the equally deluded media), even though the writing was on the wall for all who could read it. 

Unmoored, confused and adrift, students and faculty alike are now struggling to come to terms with reality, wondering where they collectively went so very wrong. They’re resorting to calling in the therapy dogs and emotional support counselors to talk them off the ledge and back into the classrooms, where, clearly, some wholesale changes are desperately needed if higher education is going to remain a viable, relevant enterprise.
There are three main problems the Trump administration must address to begin to restore academia to a semblance of its former glory: the culture, the cost and the credibility of today’s colleges. If higher education sincerely wants to understand where they’ve gone wrong, and how they can go right again, here’s what has to be faced:


The culture on college campuses has descended to the point that some now refer to them as institutions of lower learning. Hook-up culture, rape, STDs, drugs, and alcohol abuse are just the tip of this disastrous iceberg. Below that lies a rejection of widely accepted moral values, dismissal of the noble traditions of Western Civilization and regular, unrepentant violation of the standard rules of human discourse, logic, and reasonable disagreement. Wreckage is the result……………

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This is where a Trump administration can really impact higher education. If Trump succeeds with his plan to bring jobs back for the American worker, and can tie those jobs to earning a college degree, then he will prove to be the best friend higher education ever had.

There is a great deal of work to be done to correct the massive problems that currently plague American higher education, but also a tremendous opportunity to make dramatic improvements quickly. The day of reckoning is at hand. All that is needed is resolve, discipline and determination and President-elect Trump possesses all these traits in ample supply. Gaudeamus igitur!

Bonnie K. Snyder is a graduate of Harvard College and a Doctor of Higher Education. She is also the author of The New College Reality and The Unemployed College Graduate’s Survival Guide and the creator of OutsmartingCollege™ courses.