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Moribund Academia as a Change Leader
by Steven R. Van Hook, PhD


Academia is leading the world in a transformational shift. We are confronted with free easily-duplicated knowledge – online and media-rich in a way no classroom can replicate, no fee meter ticking.

Already we speak of flipping education, where students learn online and attend onground classrooms simply to interact.
Instructors and institutions are struggling to stay relevant. There’s no lecture I can give where students can’t access up-to-the-instant information on their devices that completely eclipse my materials.
All we have to offer are jealously-guarded and aggressively-defended certifications.
Yes, and our contextual wisdom. But just how wise are we?
The transformational issues faced by students go beyond our engrained wisdoms. Indeed, our grounded perspectives may be a hindrance to their development.
How well we handle the indicator socioeconomic changes in academia impacts our global future in so many ways.
As the guardians of human knowledge, how capably will our best minds adapt, and incubate the developing minds in their charge, who will in turn take our successes and failures to every other corner of civilization?
The challenges we face in a transforming academia foreshadow what is already here just about everywhere else.
What about when energy becomes abundant and easily created in each of our homes? Already individual customers are feeding power back into the grid and watching their meters run backwards, pay deposited rather than due.
How about when we can readily 3-D print anything we need ... from simple functional guns to a Porsche, New York steaks, high-fashion clothes, even the elemental parts of life itself – limbs, organs, brains?
We are not only on the cusp; we already have toes across the threshold.
Can we develop new systems that distribute wealth, when the measures of wealth itself become self-distributing, as knowledge has become despite the best efforts of entrenched powers to control it?
Most importantly, can we shift our mindsets to modes of personal growth, rather than material enrichment that have governed our social interactions since we rose from the muck?
There are no easy answers to a transformation where even the questions come hard.

~ Steve

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