University President Says More Options Needed

Earl Brooks, the longtime president of Trine University, has been a thoughtful and insightful contributor to past BizVoice magazine and other higher education conversations. Last week, he authored a column (for Inside INdiana Business) that hits the nail on the head regarding delivering postsecondary education.

A few excerpts:

A 2009 Boston Globe article, The Four-Year College Myth, states "Census data from 2005 tell us that only 28 percent of American adults have a bachelor’s degree. As for how many adults took the ‘traditional’ path and received their BA within four years of high school, some rough number crunching of federal education data shows that the percentage dips to below 10 percent."

Universities should consider options that educate the public in ways that meet current demands. Students should be afforded accelerated paths to degrees and cut out the fluff. I want engineers to read Hemingway, but sometimes that’s just not realistic. Some classes, which are required by national accrediting bodies, only add to educational cost, delay education and do not contribute significantly to acquiring a specific skill set. Curricula need to remain rigorous and ensure quality. We should provide a means by which you can attain a meaningful education in less time in order to become a contributing member of society and the workforce.

Kudos to Brooks and others who don’t fall into the trap of "but we’ve always done it this way."