The language of crisis is nothing new in higher educationfor years critics have raised alarms about rising tuition, compromised access, out of control costs, and a host of other issues. Yet, though those issues are still part of the current crisis, it is not the same as past ones. For the first time, disruptive technologies are at work in higher education. For most of their histories, traditional universities and colleges have had no serious competition except from institutions with similar operating models. Now, though, there are disruptive competitors offering online degrees. Many of these institutions operate as for-profit entities, emphasizing marketable degrees for working adults. Traditional colleges and universities have valuable qualities and capacities that can offset those disruptors' advantagesbut not for everyone who aspires to higher education, and not without real innovation. How can institutions of higher education think constructively and creatively about their response to impending disruption?
Written by Clayton Christensen, the father of the theory of disruptive innovation, and his colleague, Henry J. Eyring, The Innovative University offers a nuanced and hopeful analysis of the traditional university and its DNA. It explores how and why universities must change to ensure future success.
Throughout the book Christensen and Eyring show what it takes to apply Christensen's acclaimed model of disruptive innovation to a higher education environment. Through a penetrating examination of the histories and current transformations of two very different universitiesHarvard and BYU-Idahoand using other illustrative examples of innovation in higher education, The Innovative University explores how universities can find innovative, less costly ways of performing their uniquely valuable functions and thereby save themselves from decline. The book explores the strategic choices and alternative ways in which traditional universities can change to ensure their ongoing economic vitality. To avoid the pitfalls of disruption and turn the scenario into a positive and productive one, universities must re-engineer their institutional DNA from the inside out.
The Innovative University reveals how the traditional university survives by breaking with tradition, but thrives by building upon what it's done best.