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Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
901 S. Bond Street, Suite 540
Baltimore, Maryland 21231
Phone: (443) 287-9960 | Fax (443) 287-9920

January 18, 2000
Glenn Small

What's ahead for research universities in the 21st century?
President William R. Brody shares his vision.

Global competition, speed, information overload and aggressive distance learning companies -- these are some of the challenges a traditional research university faces today and in the coming years. William R. Brody, president of The Johns Hopkins University, recently addressed these issues and more in his discussion of "The Quantum Physics Model of the University in the New Millennium."

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 Talk

Quality Revolution
Doom and gloom replaced by the Quality Revolution, but education escaped the Quality Revolution and is next in line. (1:03)

Digital Economy
The Digital Economy as a further extension of the communications revolution that began in the 19th century, and several rules for making it. (2:49)

The 2000s
Speed drives everything, Globalism, Information explosion, all driven by Moore's Law. (2:31)

Profound Changes
Drucker thinks we're history, but he doesn't say what will happen. Two drivers of regional economic success. (1:27)

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 phenomenon. (6:47)

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. (4:09)

Tech Education
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. (2:56)

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. (3:27)

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. (4:15)

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 tools? (5:47)

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 talk.

RealAudio and RealVideo files courtesy of the Whiting School of Engineering Instructional Television Facility.

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