Christensen and Eyring contend that traditional universities are an indispensable cornerstone of society and culture. The college experience is transformative for so many people, and it’s an experience people cannot get elsewhere.
While we can’t afford to lose the traditional college experience, we also can’t afford to support it on its current trajectory. In their race to constantly make themselves bigger and better, colleges and university have steadily driven up cost. They’ve lost focus on their once-modest missions and are now terribly overstretched and overcommitted. The economic downturn is exposing them, as seen by the increasing number of students who are jumping ship to alternative forms of higher education like community colleges, for-profit universities, technical institutes and online degree programs.
The authors assert that colleges and universities must break with tradition and find innovative, less costly ways of performing their uniquely valuable functions, allowing them to once again become responsive to the needs of learners.