eCampus News recently took up the debate around whether higher ed should be an incubator for start-up culture, or if encouraging students down entrepreneurial paths is a distraction from the real reasons they’re on campus.
Proponents say taking advantage of the available resources on campus makes the most sense for students hoping to build a sustainable company. Instead of deterring the students, institutions should focus on ways to support them and encourage them to take risks that will benefit their futures.
- Dissenters say the purpose of higher ed is to give students the proper foundation upon which to build their businesses following graduation. Instead of “taking on the obligations” and pressures around business management, students should instead be researching and testing their ideas, they argue.
As the debate rages on over the purpose of higher ed, this discussion will become even more pertinent. Is it more important for institutions to graduate students for the workplace, or should priority be placed on encouraging them to stretch themselves, take risks and experience new things? Is the aim to produce better employees or better citizens — and are the two mutually exclusive?
There is an unprecedented amount of emphasis placed on demonstrating the return on investment in higher ed today. Institutions will need to find ways to both nurture students’ ideas and humanity and prepare them to compete in a global marketplace, if the institutions themselves hope to remain competitive in a tumultuous higher ed marketplace.