The Future of Higher Education

Economist Bryan Caplan calls higher education a waste of time and money. He says students aren’t learning skills or critical thinking. But they’re going into debt and still not finding great jobs.

More than half of all Americans supplement their experience in the real world with excursions into the virtual worlds of videogames, and they spend thousands of hours doing it. Jane McGonigal says we should spend more time playing videogames, not less. She says videogames are increasingly fulfilling real human needs. They’re helping fight social problems like depression and obesity and they’re teaching us how to address real-world challenges. McGonigal joins us on Thursday to explain why she thinks video games are the future of education.

The increasing cost of a college education concerns people regardless of their income level or politics. It’s the subject of congressional hearings, protests and everyday conversation. But why does higher education cost so much? Are our universities simply dysfunctional and inefficient? Or is it more complicated than that? Wednesday, we’ll explore those questions in front of a live audience at the Hinckley Institute of Politics. The scholars Robert Archibald and Nicholas Hillman are our guests. And we hope you’ll join us, too.

Every year thousands of Utahns wonder how they’re going to pay for college. Whether they’re high school seniors, returning members of the military or single moms and dads looking for a new opportunity, the financial obligations that come with a college degree are usually the biggest obstacle. KUER explores the unique struggles of Utah students to overcome the escalating cost of college. It’s part of our look this week at The Future of Higher Education.

Tuesday on RadioWest, we continue our discussion about innovation at colleges and universities with Dr. John Warnock. Warnock was a student at the University of Utah in the 1960s. After graduating, he and colleague Charles Geschke founded one of the most successful software companies in the world: Adobe. Warnock’s education at the U laid the groundwork for the ideas he helped pioneer at Adobe. So here’s the question: how can today’s universities stimulate and encourage a new generation of innovators?

Monday, we begin a weeklong series of shows, in partnership with the Hinckley Institute of Politics, about the future of higher education. Pressures from all sides are forcing traditional universities to drastically reform. Henry J. Eyring, an administrator at BYU-Idaho, says reform should include changes people wouldn't expect, such as reducing costs, allowing students to customize their degrees and taking classes online. It's called “disruptive innovation,” and Eyring will join us to talk about it.