Zemsky, R. (2009) Making Reform Work: The Case for Transforming American Higher Education Chapel Hill NC: Rutgers University Press

Zemsky says that this is the book the Spellings Commission should have written but didn’t. It doesn’t seem to have a lot to say specifically about e-learning or the impact of information technology on the university, but many of the issues he raises are critical to the success of e-learning. I will write a full review of this book and its implications for e-learning when I’ve had the chance to read it carefully.

Zemsky, R. (2009) The Don’ts of Higher Education Inside Higher Education, September 4

In the meantime, Zemsky argues in this op-ed piece that there are reforms that, while needed, should not be undertaken, because they will get nowhere and just bog down more practical reforms. The ‘do not try this on your own’ list are:

  • the NCAA’s big money sports (a very Usanian pre-occupation)
  • tenure (interesting comments about the University of Phoenix model)
  • accreditation (again, the US institutional accreditation system is so unique and bizarre that it too has little relevance outside the US, although he has some interesting comparisons to make with the Australian Universities Quality Agency)
  • investments in research infrastructure.

In a forthcoming Inside Higher Education article, he will provide some of his ‘to dos’ in terms of higher education reform, which I look forward to reading.

Lederman, D. (2009) A call for change, from within Inside Higher Education, September 4

Lastly, the above article covers differences between Zemsky and Charles Miller, the chair of the Spellings Commission, about what should have been in the Commission’s report. As Peter Plagens commented on this article,

Reading–or, more accurately, trying not to fall asleep while reading–about the dispute between Mssrs Zemsky and Miller is like reading about two celibate octogenarian archbishops discussing their differing views of how other people should conduct their sex lives. There’s not a gram of visceral understanding in it.

Well, I can’t beat that for a comment.


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