The Ivory Tower has been our operative metaphor to describe academia for a long time.  Yet recent developments suggest a change may be in order.  The skyrocketing cost of college tuition, the crushing burden of student loan debt, the alleged “corporatization” of the university, the increased reliance on contingent faculty, the growth of online learning, the decline of the humanities, and concern among employers that graduates are not well equipped for the job market–these forces are all causing people to question the value, health, and future of academia as an institution.  Below is a list of resources exploring this cluster of issues.  If you come across something not included here, please contact me.

General Resources

Chronicle of Higher Education

Inside Higher Eduction

Academe Blog


Louis Menand, The Marketplace of Ideas:  Reform and Resistance in the American University

Martha Nussbaum, Not For Profit

Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind

Mark C. Taylor, Crisis on Campus

Andrew Delbanco, College:  What it Was, Is, and Should Be

Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus, Higher Education?  How Colleges are Wasting Our Money and Failing our Kids

Gaye Tuchman, Wannabe U:  Inside the Corporate University

Bill Readings, The University in Ruins

Frank Donoghue, The Last Professors:  The Corporate University and the Fate of the Humanities

Mark Bosquet, How the University Works:  Higher Education and the Low-Wage Nation

Christopher Newfield, Unmaking the Public University:  The Forty Year Assault on the Middle Class

Nancy Folbre, Saving State U:  Fixing Public Higher Education

Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, Academically Adrift:  Limited Learning on College Campuses

Glenn Harlan Reynolds, The Higher Education Bubble

Clayton Christensen and Henry Eyring, The Innovative University:  Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out


“Napster, Udacity, and the Academy”

“The Single Biggest Change in Education Since the Printing Press”

“Dark Satanic Mills of Mass Education: Some Proposals for Reform”

“Do Online Courses Spell the End for the Traditional University?”

“College of Future Could Be Come One, Come All”

“Year of the MOOC”

“Faulty Towers:  The Crisis in Higher Education” 

“Bad Education”

“The Closing of American Academia”

“The PhD Now Comes With Food Stamps”

“How the American University was Killed, in 5 Easy Steps”

“The Need for Reform in Graduate Humanities Education”

“Graduate School in the Humanities: Just Don’t Go”

“Changing the Way We Socialize Our Graduate Students”

“No More Plan B: A Very Modest Proposal for Graduate Programs in History”

“Hybrid Academy, or How #altac Chanages Pedagogy”

“No More Plan B: A Very Modest Proposal for Graduate Programs in History”

(Photo:  Painting by Michael Whelan)