Hi from Santiago, Chile, where I am doing a bit of work this week. This last term has been an awfully busy one, and so I’m cutting the blog off for the holidays, today – a week earlier than usual. You will, however, still get a weekly email from me over the break (except for the actual week of Christmas), and I’ll be back again full-time on Monday, January 6th.
Thanks to all of you for reading over the past few months, and for all of you who are active on the comment board, and for giving me hell on twitter – you should all know I am sincerely very grateful for your feedback. It keeps me on my toes, and I nearly always learn something. Much appreciated.
Since its the holidays, I know you’re all dying for some reading recommendations for the holiday season. So here’s a brief re-cap of some of the more notable reads from the past year:
The Great University Gamble, by Andrew McGettigan. This is a genius little book. It clearly explains, in a refreshingly small number of pages, all the baffling changes that the UK higher education system has undergone in the past decade (but especially in the last three years under the conservatives). The UK is a deeply weird place these days – you don’t know how weird until you’ve read this book.
Higher Education in America, by Derek Bok. Actually, with the possible exception of the sections on professional education, this one’s a bit of a snoozer. But it’s one of those “serious” books everyone is supposed to read, so I’ll put it on this list so you can ask for it as a gift, and not spend your own money on it.
Stretching the Higher Education Dollar, edited by Kevin Carey (one of my favourite US higher ed commentators) and Andrew Kelly, this is an interesting look at some of the most potentially “disruptive” ideas currently circulating. It’s unfortunately a little heavy on first-heavy practitioner experience (i.e. guys blowing their own horn), and short on third-party analysis, and so occasionally the articles have the feel of being written by people who’ve drunk their own Kool-Aid, but it’s not bad for all that.
The Entrepreneurial State, by Mariana Mazzucato. This is getting a lot of good press (made the FT books of the year list), and it’s not a bad read. Personally, I think the author frequently overstates her case – assuming risk and being entrepreneurial aren’t the same thing – but it’s a useful corrective to the market-fetishist nonsense that often passes for innovation literature.
And finally, if anyone feels like getting me a gift (hi, mom!), number 1 on my wish list is the incredibly lush-looking, The Library: A World History. Must-have nerd porn.
Happy holidays, everyone!