Rethinking the Research University for the 21st Century

by Stephen Dewhurst

Over the weekend, I read a series of newspaper articles about the high price of college and the emergence of new, profit-seeking universities that offer degree programs at low cost.

As a professor at a major research university, and the father of two high school students, these issues hit pretty close to home. I worry about how we can successfully contain the cost of college so that students and their families aren’t burdened by crushing debt. But I also worry about the future of traditional bricks-and-mortar institutions that must compete with online colleges.

Universities are among the most stable institutions that we have. Unlike many other businesses – and some sports franchises – they rarely if ever leave town for greener pastures. In fact, they form the bedrock upon which communities are built. That’s why the University of Rochester is now the #1 employer in the Rochester area.

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