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This is the latest prediction on the future of colleges. Chester Finn
proposes replacing theCarnegie system for classifying
colleges with the new NSPI classification that divides collegesinto 3
types: " brand-name"," massprovider", and "convenience"
institutions.

Brand-name campuses are selective, high status places who cater mostly to
full-time students from traditional age groups and have a ommitmnet to
trational academic values, a liberal-arts,core, publication-minded facult
ymembers, governance by the professoriate -  and a reputation of high
quality. Most of their studentgraduate in four years- examples, Duke,
Williams, Berkeley

Mass-provider institutions, enroll millions of students of all
ages,educational backgrounds, and career aspirations - many of whom attend
part-time. These campuses may lack status but they award a lot of
traditional degrees in th ehumanities, social sciences, and
natuarl sciences, as well as all manner of technical and professional
fields. They subscribe to academic freedom, a faculty-  prescribed
curriculum and a traditional professorial career path.  e.g., Central
Michigan and the University of Dayton.

Convenience institutions, are celebrated for their user- friendliness and
market- responsiveness rather than their lineage to Oxford. They are a mix
of public, non-profit, and proprietory instiutions including most community
colleges and technical institues and include the
profit-making U. of Phoenix,  Motorola University, distance education etc.
They are unconventional providers of just about any set of skills and
credentials that anybody wants at just about any time of day or night
through just about any medium of instruction.  They serve job-
minded adults  - former school drop-outs , career changers and people
looking for a path in life.

Finn warns that at mass-provider schools schizophrenia will set in as
traditional faculty members won't be flexible enough to adapt to the
changing market and more p/t and non-tenured faculty will be hired.

Convenience colleges are truly flexible, cost less to attend, and operate
like businesses. They will continue to expand -- the U. of Phoenix  with
100,000 students claims it hasn't reached one percent of their potential
student population.
Finn predicts that the bachelor's degree will lost its economic edge
unless it comes from a prestige institution where competition for
admission will stiffen.  In other words, Neiman Marcus and Price Club will
do well but the middle institutions like Pennys and Sears
will be adrift in red ink.

Teh faculty inm mass  provider schools  will  need to stress teaching as
effectively and efficiently as possible and not be torn by the
research/ teaching split.  In other words, they must acknowledge that they
were put on earth to impart knowledge not create it.

Finn predicts that the surge in enrollment from the baby boom echo will
only last about a decade then"mass provide" colleges will have
trouble filling classrooms as there aren't many populations left once the
convenience colleges enroll most of the returning adults.

To offset the problems and reduce costs, Finn suggests that colleges should
unite - i.e. one  prestige institution should merge with 30 ass providers
thus cutting down the need for duplicate chemistry departments, deans,
liraries, and administrtors, etc. .


Note: Chester Finn was formerly with the US Office of Education and is now
at the Hudson Think Tank.

Ref: Finn, C. E., Jr. Today's academic market requires new taxonomy of
colleges.  Chronicle of Higher Education, January 9, 1998, B4 &5.

Martha M.