What would it take?

What would it take for an upscale proprietary college/university to succeed?

Community College Dean looks at Britain’s newest proprietary college, which has, he believes a flawed business model.

Then he offers an alternative model:

An upscale proprietary could work, I suspect, if it combined very selective admissions with low class sizes, an extremely narrow set of curricular choices, hotel-style student housing, and a clear identity. The “hear occasional lectures by famous people” hook won’t cut it, since anyone who wants to can go online and subscribe to TED talks for free. The structure would have to be intensely student-centered, with the hook being something like “project-based from day one.” The value proposition, aside from the self-fulfilling value of exclusivity, would be that if offers what the online world can’t. I’m envisioning something close to “spend four years in close quarters with smart people doing self-directed projects.”

Is this what a good SLAC should be aiming for? I wonder.

It’s something for me to consider as I move back into the tenure track at a small liberal arts college.

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