“College Presidents—New Captains of the Titanic”
By Benjamin Ginsberg
After the Titanic struck the iceberg, the ship’s captain and senior executives were said to be unworried. How could their mighty ship sink? The hubris and arrogance of the ship’s captain and senior officers was astonishing. They seemed to believe that because they were handsomely recompensed, resplendent in their uniforms and saluted by their toadies, their little world would never end. While the passengers and lowly crew members were beginning to panic, the officers urged them to remain calm. They were confident that the ship was unsinkable and on course. The dining rooms remained open and the ship’s orchestra played on to soothe the foolish passengers and crew who prattled about an utterly impossible impending disaster. Unfortunately, more than a century later, the good ship Titanic remains at the bottom of the ocean. Some of her passengers survived but 1500 did not, victims of the captain’s decision to maintain course and steam full speed ahead despite numerous warnings from experienced crew members that there were icebergs in the vicinity.
The Titanic came to mind as I scanned the results of a 2014 survey of college presidents recently published in the Chronicle of Higher Education under the title, “The Innovative University: What College Presidents Think About Change in American Higher Education.” According to the survey, the great majority of college presidents believe that American higher education is heading in the right direction, that cost-cutting should not be a major focus and that they are providing excellent value for students. READ MORE HERE