ITHAKA Publications

Locus of Authority

William G. Bowen

Eugene M. Tobin

 

Do universities have what it takes to reform effectively from within?

 

Few deny that higher education faces serious problems but in LOCUS OF AUTHORITY, William G. Bowen,  founding chairman of ITHAKA and former president of Princeton University and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Eugene M. Tobin, former president of Hamilton College,  strike at one of the roots of the problem—university governance—and provide a roadmap to the future.

 

The list of concerns affecting higher education goes on and on—ever-increasing costs, low completion rates and long time to degrees, the disparity in educational outcomes by class and race, the role of technology in the 21st-century college classroom, and the ability of our colleges to educate a competent and competitive workforce. The need for substantial change is evident, but few analysts have tackled one of the key elements of the problem—governance systems that need serious rethinking.

 

Bowen and Tobin argue that systems of governance are by no means immutable and that change is possible and, indeed, necessary. The history of American higher education shows that governance has shifted in response to cultural and educational needs in the past, and with recent technological, financial, and cultural developments, it is time to modify some—but certainly not all—principles of shared governance. 

 

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Media Coverage


"Academic Online: Musings (Some Unconventional)"

William G. Bowen

October 14, 2013

 

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Higher Education in the Digital Age

William G. Bowen

April 2013

 

Two of the most visible and important trends in higher education today are its exploding costs and the rapid expansion of online learning. Could the growth in online courses slow the rising cost of college and help solve the crisis of affordability? In this short and incisive book, William G. Bowen, founding chairman of ITHAKA and board member, explains why, despite his earlier skepticism, he now believes technology has the potential to help rein in costs without negatively affecting student learning. As a former president of Princeton University, an economist, and author of many books on education, including the acclaimed bestseller The Shape of the River, Bowen speaks with unique expertise on the subject. View full press release from Princeton University Press.

Notable Endorsement: William G. Bowen receives National Humanities Medal.

 

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"Coursera Partners Conference Keynote Address"

William G. Bowen

April 2013

 

In his April 5th address at the Coursera Partners Conference at the University of Pennsylvania, William G. Bowen, founding chairman of ITHAKA and board member, describes how sophisticated online systems, such as those of Coursera and other MOOC providers, have the potential to serve both independent learners throughout the world and students affiliated with a variety of institutions. He identifies certain changes—both technical and organizational—that need to be made in order for this potential to be realized, and he emphasizes the value of evidence about learning outcomes and costs related to these forms of learning. Finally, returning to a theme he has researched extensively throughout his career, Bowen highlights the need to consider carefully the equity implications of MOOCs, and the importance of their being used to increase access rather than lead to more stratification.

 

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"The 'Cost Disease' in Higher Education: Is Technology the Answer?"

William G. Bowen

October 2012

 

"The 'Cost Disease' in Higher Education: Is Technology the Answer?" examines key aspects of economics in higher education—such as cost trends, affordability issues, and productivity—and the potential impact online learning could have on them.  Written by William G. Bowen, founding chairman of ITHAKA and board member, this two-part lecture was first presented through the Tanner Lecture Series in October 2012. Taking a system-wide perspective, Bowen provides context for the rising costs in higher education, particularly at public institutions, and discusses how those costs might be addressed through the use of new technologies.

 

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