Pronouncements of the eminent change of academia have been periodically common ever since the basic idea was invented sometime after the last cold phase (about 13 KYA.) It seems to be the nature of the beast, and its usual importance is more about how it makes the organization so conservative colligatively while making the individual members so liberal,  in the mean. While we do have to infer a lot from the ancient periods, the latest round of academic fervor dating from the middle of the middle ages certainly supports the observation. We too easily forget that originally universities were hotbeds (relatively speaking) of rebellion, striving to separate themselves from the organizational direction of both the church of Rome, which had enabled them to moderate doctrine, and the sometimes oppositional organizational direction of government.
Hence, when Alexa Harrington, the genius behind ‘Educated Nation’ alerted me this week to new predictions of state change, my attention was riveted.[Link] After all, this is not the pointless mumblings of some celebrity mystic but the derivative information of one who definitely does more for the species than merely satisfy da Vinci’s criterion. The blot, while derivative, is noteworthy in the same sense that a good intelligence analyst is golden. I know from discussion with my father, and observing my daughter’s progression (if not progress,) in comparison with my own experience that college has changed. If anything, it has become less educational and more trainative. And from my perspective it has become much more prescriptive and canonical than in my day, about the same as in my father’s. Neither of these strike me as healthy. But being the cynical immature flatulence that I am, I could not resist commenting on some of the original points that Ms. Harrington so righteously provided. 
Hey, college: you’ve been put on notice. My kids will probably not experience you the way I did. My guess is, by the time they get there, a college education could have some of the following characteristics:
Based on my three data points (generations) I have to agree. American college education is definitely non-stationary. Not sure why that warrants such Orson Welles stentorianism, but then some mediaists seem to think they are the messiah.
College will be less about the four years that follow high school than about a lifelong commitment to a learning community.
I have to reserve judgment on this. A lot of it seems to be rooted in Gen Y behavior. For one thing the mean time to a baccalaureate degree these days is six years, not four. That in itself tend to put enormous pressure on the traditional academic sunset clause of five years. But this trend started during the Containment era when the graduate population began to make the shift from full time to part time attendance and assistantships to full time employment. Also, I have to question that ‘lifetime commitment’. It ignores human nature. My experience has been that women change their learning practices at about 30 and again at 50; men at 45 and 60, approximately. Both changes tend to be of direction and characterized by a lessening intensity and a deepening wisdom.
Gen Y is apparently committed to lifetime learning, which started fifteen years ago in management cycles courtesy of management academics like Charles Handy.  These actuality of society is already altering this. Take the paradox of Information Technology continuous learning. It has been neutered by the who certification craze into blue collarism so that organizations may eliminate their burden of paying for the learning directly. This has not only shifted the emphasis from education to training but the organization from academe to cram class.
College degrees may be staged. One of the first areas of focus for many out of school will be basic professional skills, which in many cases will be taught in blended study/work environments.
This brings us to the question of what is a professional? I still hold to the definition that a professional is an amateur who retains his fervor but has such excellence of capability as to be paid for his hobby. Sadly, the hobby part, the fervor if you will, and the independence we associate with justicers and physicians has disappeared from the modern viewpoint. It seems only a piece of the slide away from Capella education.
Northeastern and Drexel already use this model, where internships are part of the program. Some professional grad schools use this model, too. This will get students into the working world and earning an income quicker.
I include this quote only for the last piece. The need to get students earning income has nothing to do with education. It has to do with a social myth that everyone needs a college education. The main reason poor folks did not send their children to college in times past is because they did not have the income. This has not changed except that Henry Ford’s bright idea of how to sell Model Ts has been extended to college. And the analogy of the Model T is appropriate. Most of what students today are getting from college is a Model T, not a Stutz Bearcat or a Stanley Steamer. Think about it.
Math and science will also get early billing in the curriculum. Not knowing how to divide isn’t cute, it’s dangerous. Our economy today requires incredible specialization, which in turn requires more detailed, and higher level thinking. That means math. From my experience, people are a lot better at math than they give themselves credit for. Their issues aren’t about manipulating numbers, they’re about the teachers they had[link]. We’ll get over it.
DREK! This one flies in the face of American history. The number of nerds has not increased disproportionately. If anything the nerd departments are in deep kimchee from ‘inadequate’ enrollment to justify their operating expenses. Yes, a lot of that is the result of incompetent secondary shul teachers who try to teach science and maths with at best the equivalent of half an undergraduate major. In fact, the situation got summed up for me in yesterday’s Arab Tribune where they reported that the Marshall county education apparat had transferred a junior high shul special education teacher to teach science at the high shul level. Science and maths teaching in the teacher taliban is broken – seriously and cannot be fixed without a pogrom of the teachers.
But the point still remains, whether because of nerd apathy (or antipathy), or simple greed as the primary selection criterion for a major, leading to a further increase in the number of thucks, that students are trying to avoid nerd courses even more than in my day and the cash strapped, administration punished nerd departments are watering down the courses. We are graduating a cohort of science ignoramuses. Irrespective of their mystical inclinations. And this will only stop when we have another threat like Containment.
The liberal arts education will become a lifelong endeavor. People will take ongoing courses in English, the arts, history, and the humanities. Knowing something of the world around you will be a status symbol… and for businesses, these ongoing courses will provide tremendous networking opportunities.
This one I actually have to agree with. That’s because what the author is talking about is traditional, or, at least, classical, Capellan education and that has been on the decline in this country since we threw the British out.at kind of education. Except for the people who are monied enough to actually pay for their children to attend those few colleges founded before that time, no one really puts any importance on this type of ‘education’. Unless you are going to be a captain of traditional industry/commerce, or a high officer of government, you cannot earn a living with that kind of education. In fact, you may not be able to period; it is just that those folks who can pay for their children to attend those colleges also do not need for their children to have to earn a living.
That does not mean that there are not poor people who have talent and interest in these subjects. History is full of rare instances of poor kids excelling at Capellan disciplines; unfortunately it has been substantiated by the American dream away from the effort into a right of some sort. Rather reminds one of transubstantiation.
My fundamental problem is that I do not see this persisting learning current. I cannot find it except in hothouse environments. It is not common nor diffuse. And it certainly isn’t going to generate revenue to perpetuate the college wing of the education apparat, even if they want to evolve into such a classical metaphor and form.
Time to put on my scientist hat in earnest; show me the data.
 The prefer the appellation progressive. Given the widespread absence of praxis in academia I tend to reserve that designation from them, in general.
 No drek, it is indeed a mitzvah. Even if it is from a shiksa.
 Ayeh. I mean that in the torah sense, not the way all those christian religionists have warped the meaning.
 ‘The Age of ….’ books. Too fuzzy and theoretical for ‘real men’ managers and organizations.
 See yesterday’s blot.