Seth Godin may not accept comments on his blog, but The Chronicle of Higher Education does. So if you want to re-read Godin’s controversial blog post — “The coming melt-down in higher education (as seen by a marketer)” (discussed here and by a few other higher ed bloggers earlier this week) — and you wish to comment on it, you can do so on The Chronicle‘s virtual op-ed pages, The Chronicle Review. (You must register to comment, however.)
So far, Godin’s post there has garnered 30 responses. Many of the comments consist of little more than the usual academic snark you find on the Chronicle’s blogs — “[W]hy on earth is this in the Chronicle? Editors, please contact me if you are running short on copy, happy to oblige!” — and the counter-snark: “Woooooh! Lots of heads in the sand here. He’s not an academic like us and he doesn’t write like us and he says things we don’t want to hear. So what he says must be worthless.”
But a few of the comments are worth reading. If you prefer not to wade through them, I’ve pulled a few excerpts that I thought readers of this blog might appreciate:
… I think some of you may be missing the point, which is contained in the parenthetical part of the article’s title: This is an analysis of how the situation looks *to a marketer*. That’s a singularly relevant viewpoint in our current marketing-dominated culture. And the fact that Godin’s overall prognosis echoes what a lot of the rest of us are seeing and saying based on other ways of looking adds a valuable element of consensus to the conversation.
… I think Seth is spot on — higher education has always moved at a glacial pace in adapting to change, especially at large schools or those that are tradition-bound.
Our society is changing at an incredible pace these days and higher ed is not keeping up very well, especially four year institutions, because we’ve never been well equipped to do so. So marketing has substituted for substantive change in how we operate and educate. Personally, I’d love to see the money spent on those glossy mailers put into my departmental budget instead, but I’m certain that’s not going to happen anytime soon.
… I am incredibly frustrated with the idea that more expensive = better education. There doesn’t seem to be any correlation. Half the battle for students being successful is finding the institution with the right fit for their needs, whether that’s an expensive Ivy or a inexpensive community college.
The access to information afforded by the digital age has probably increased the importance of college education. Increased access to information has also increased access to misinfomation [sic]. The staggering increase in the amount information readily available to large numbers of people does not speak to the increase in the potency of the information. It says nothing about the increase in validated knowledge. More information is not better information. The critical function of college education is to help students build a solid foundation of validated knowledge and to develop critical and analytical skills to identify the solid knowledge in the unevaluated mass of information that threatens to overwhelm us.
I believe his message boils down simply to this; “market forces are increasingly coming to the world of higher education and non-selective schools better have a strong value proposition and differentiators in order to remain successful”. Those who believe that the already-broke government (federal and state in most of the USA) will continue providing huge subsidies are in for a rude awakening.
… [O]ur arrogance combined with our colossal ignorance provides an impenetrable wall around our campus cabbage patch and their marketing, advertising and PR dullards continue to tweet each other from across the room about fantastic ideas that have just popped into their moussed heads, that is when they aren’t scheduling their next tanning and teeth-whitening appointments.
And we wonder why the rest of world goes on without us? American navel-gazing has reached epidemic proportions and the creaking of our cultural Titanic CAN be heard across our campuses, but only if you are listening and I’m sorry to report that the Ipod earplugs will have to come out first.