The latest issue of the Atlantic profiles yet another attempt to reinvent American higher education. This time it is 39-year-old entrepreneur Ben Nelson who its taking a stab at it. The Minerva Project is an accredited institution (via an affiliation with the Keck Graduate Institute in Claremont, California) based in San Francisco. The team that is putting this together believes they have found a science-based approach to raise the productivity of higher education. They also believe people will be willing to pay a pretty high price for the experience. Here’s how the Atlantic piece summarizes it:
The Minerva boast is that it will strip the university experience down to the aspects that are shown to contribute directly to student learning. Lectures, gone. Tenure, gone. Gothic architecture, football, ivy crawling up the walls—gone, gone, gone. What’s left will be leaner and cheaper. (Minerva has already attracted $25 million in capital from investors who think it can undercut the incumbents.) And Minerva officials claim that their methods will be tested against scientifically determined best practices, unlike the methods used at other universities and assumed to be sound just because the schools themselves are old and expensive.
The mixture of misplaced hubris and interesting ideas make for an intriguing read. You can read the full story here.