Leading Voices in Higher Education: Jonathan Cole Interview

Leading Voices in Higher Education: Jonathan Cole Interview

September 20, 2019 0 By Ronny Jaskolski


[ Music ]>>I think you’re going to see in the 21st century a movement
towards much more cooperative strategies and structures
among universities. There are a series of strategic
initiatives that are going to lead us, I think, to have
to rethink the university in a variety of different ways. If we’re going to reach full
potential at these universities, and if we’re going to approach
it, especially in a world where science and technology
are changing everything so that it’s going to change the
relationships between teachers and students, for example, over
the next twenty or thirty years, we’re going to have to
rethink how we do things and what we’re doing, and
what our priorities are. As we move forward
and are dealing with increasingly complex
multi-disciplinary problems, I think we have to reorganize
and rethink about how we ought to reorganize the university so
that we have people interacting across disciplines in ways that
are facilitating the growth of knowledge rather
than impeding it. And that is going to mean
we’re no longer going to have a building built
that says chemistry on it, or which says electrical
engineering, or which says philosophy. We’re going to have spaces
which are going to allow for many people working
in different disciplines to learn what I call the new
foreign languages, the languages of other disciplines
sufficiently, so that they can use their
expertise and their knowledge to work together in producing
— producing discoveries. It used to be that people
came to class and listened to lectures, and they sat there,
and they were basically passive and they listened to the — the dissemination of
knowledge by gurus. It’s almost a kind
of Confucius idea of how masters will impart
their knowledge to young people. I think when technology, as
it is almost there today, and God only knows what it’s
going to be thirty years from now, is capable of
producing extraordinary lectures on almost any subject by
one person, that thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds
of thousands of people, can listen to and repeat,
and can listen to the areas that they think they
didn’t understand or didn’t get the
first time around. And they can do it in the
leisure of their dormitory room or their home, or
whatever it is. That’s going to be very
compelling as a force. But it isn’t going
to replace the moment when people have
to solve problems. And the interesting thing is that I think problem-solving is
apt to take place, increasingly, within the university itself. In smaller seminars, where
professors will oversee that problem-solving
arrangement and the confluence of different types of
intelligence will lead to better problem-solving
as well. There’s a general belief
that we are the leaders in higher education, and we
might have the attitude of, well, let’s wait until somebody
comes up the mountain and tries to challenge us to
the top of this hill. We shouldn’t do that, we
shouldn’t rest on our laurels, and we should try to
maximize the potential for these universities
going forward. [ Music ]