Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Potential Academic Future

W. Joseph King and Michael Nanfito have written a fascinating future-history of the 21st century academy, epitomized by their vision wandering rōnin: peripatetic academics who use social networking tools and post-institutional "guilds" to connect with students priced out of a dying higher education system. Two representative quotes:
"Success in the flat-world economy [requires] training to think, communicate, strategize, and lead. It also [depends] on a mastery of the collective knowledge of humanity, an understanding of diverse cultures, and a desire to enter into the diaspora of global commerce." 
"The rōnin [are] free to pursue their work unfettered by tenure and promotion policies or antiquated accreditation boards. Rather than sinking into self-indulgent solitary research, as some had predicted, they [flourish] in dynamic collaborations with similarly motivated colleagues."
Does this stuff sound too high-minded and impractical? Don't worry. King and Nanfito offer plenty of specifics. You may disagree with their vision, but you can't ignore the sense that these folks may be onto something.

A Potential Academic Future:

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