University of Illinois Scraps For-Profit Subsidiary
| Peter Klein |
We noted previously the University of Illinois’s Global Campus, a proposed for-profit subsidiary that would offer an innovative, unorthodox program competing with nontraditional institutions like the University of Phoenix. Now I learn from Richard Vedder that the for-profit model has been scrapped due to objections from faculty. States the Chronicle of Higher Ed:
[P]rofessors and trustees never shared [President Joseph] White’s vision. They worried that a for-profit university would be more interested in market share than in academic quality control, and that a less-than-rigorous online wing might damage the reputation of the bricks-and-mortar institution.
Now the skeptics have scored a major victory: Mr. White has scaled back his plans for Global Campus, pitching it as an academic unit within the university, not as a separate corporate entity. The president has also scotched plans to seek independent accreditation for the online institution — a move that would have allowed Global Campus to adopt a fairly freewheeling curricular model by quickly adding and eliminating programs based on student demand.
Vedder draws a more general lesson about institutional culture and organizational inertia:
Changing the culture of existing institutions is nearly impossible. While I am all for strategies, such as bribing faculty, to try to effect a culture of innovation and receptivity to change, I think most of the dramatic new innovations will come from institutions created from scratch outside the rubric of existing universities, private or public.