I strolled through Harvard University recently on what should have been a busy Friday morning. The solitude was striking, with once-lively routes deserted and nearly all libraries and classrooms shut, along with sports facilities, public halls and museums. Hardly any buildings, including dormitories, showed signs of life. Even scientific laboratories had only skeletal crews. It’s a great time to find a parking space.
Buildings are locked to the public. A university ID is required to enter. This reminded me of the time in 1984 when, on a lark, I tried to enter the high-rise that houses Moscow State University, only to be carded by Soviet apparatchiks and refused entry.
Nothing in my nearly seven decades’ knowledge of Harvard (which started with preschool in 1952) prepared me for this lonely ramble. It prompted me to ponder the four existential challenges facing universities:
• The internet. The Western university dates to the founding of the University of Bologna in 1088. It remains an essentially medieval institution, with scholars educating students clustered in their immediate presence. Although “massive open online courses,” cutely known as MOOCs, haven’t generally taken off, a massive reliance on Zoom instruction has finally proved the internet’s potential to disrupt the dominant, archaic model.
• Extreme leftism. The academy’s liberalism dates back a century (to the aftermath of World War I) and its radicalism a half-century (to the 1960s). The passage of time finds the faculty ever more wildly radical in its teachings, indulging in increasingly preposterous flights of absurdity. This zealotry upsets not only conservatives; prospective students also realize the limited utility of a degree in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender studies.
- Education notebook – Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
- California – Ravenwoode: Offering appreciation to health, education officials – Lake County News
- Education News – Texarkana Gazette
- US Department of Education Releases “COVID-19 Handbook, Volume 2: Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students’ Needs” | US – U.S. Department of Education
- The more you learn, the more you earn: education and poverty alleviation in Thailand – UN News
- Dep’t of Education issues emergency order waiving test requirement for seniors, series of adjustments – Florida Politics
- D.C. mayor proposes boost in education spending as she calls on schools to fully reopen in the fall – The Washington Post
- Faculty invited to apply to General Education Scholar Program | Penn State University – Penn State News
- US Department of Education Announces More Biden-Harris Appointees | US – U.S. Department of Education