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January 18, 2000
What's ahead for research universities in the 21st century?
Global competition, speed, information overload and aggressive
companies -- these are some of the challenges a traditional
research university faces
today and in the coming years. William R.
president of The Johns Hopkins University, recently addressed
these issues and more in
his discussion of "The Quantum Physics Model of the University in
President William R. Brody shares his vision.
The classical model of the university is a lot like the classical
physics model of the atom.
Faculty were tightly bound to the core of the university like
electrons around a nucleus.
But the 21st Century model of the university, Brody says, will
look more like the quantum
physics model of the atom -- a cloudlike array of campuses and
faculty and resources
shared across fuzzy borders. In his Jan. 14 talk at the Johns
Hopkins Applied Physics
Laboratory, Brody looks at what this means for universities in
general and for Johns
Hopkins University, in particular.
Audio Excerpts from President Brody's
Doom and gloom replaced by the Quality Revolution, but
education escaped the Quality Revolution and is next in line.
The Digital Economy as a further extension of the
communications revolution that began in the 19th century, and
several rules for making it.
Speed drives everything, Globalism, Information explosion, all
driven by Moore's Law.
Drucker thinks we're history, but he doesn't say what will
happen. Two drivers of regional economic success.
Information, Knowledge, Understanding
Awash in information, knowledge is in short supply,
understanding even more rare. In such a world, experts become
key. Goal of a university is teaching people how to learn.
Technical training more suited to distance learning. JHU becoming
subject to the same factors as business-globalism, speed and
technology. World experts are needed. The Michael Jordan
Speed is key to coupling knowledge and skills to opportunity
and universities must become more nimble. Information overload--
the more information we have, the more job security we have in
universities. An great investment in information storage is
required. Libraries are becoming more important, not less
important now. The library of the future.
Technology in education. Reduces barriers to education and can
cut costs. Higher education costs have gone up, because they're
have not been productivity increases, as in other industries. One
of the challenges is to improve teaching methods.
All Star teams
The Research University without walls. Multi disciplinary
research is more and more common. Faculty and students are more
mobile, making expertise portable, which means to compete, all
star teams of researchers need to be assembled.
The campus in the classical model, a well defined nucleus, and
the faculty and students were tightly coupled neutrons. Students
and faculty felt a lot of loyalty to the institution, and only
had to be local experts. Today, we have multiple campuses, more a
cloudlike array. Faculty are loosely bound. Their loyalty is to
their discipline and their subfield, they have to be world
experts. Students are array-like, as well.
Making education more affordable in future is one of our
biggest challenges. One way is to deliver course content to a
larger audience, through distance learning and other means.
Various new tools for education, including simulation and
asynchronous learning. What are the drawbacks to these new
Can the for profit higher educational companies challenge the
traditional university in the future? Is the American University
obsolete? There are too many colleges and universities and
consolidation will happen. (5:41)
You'll need a Real Audio Player to listen to President Brody's
RealAudio and RealVideo files courtesy of the Whiting School
of Engineering Instructional
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