Why We Haven't Reformed Higher Education (Yet)

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Derek Bok, former president of Harvard University. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
Derek Bok, former president of Harvard University. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Shortly after taking office in 2009, President Obama made his first speech to a joint session of Congress. In it, he proposed a huge increase in the number of students earning degrees, saying "By 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. That is a goal we can meet."

His goal, along with the introduction of new technologies and online learning, led educators to predict that higher education was on the precipice of major change.

However, nearly a decade later, the former president of Harvard University says higher education hasn't stepped up to the challenge. In fact, he says very little change has occurred and he blames the inertia on universities, government officials and students themselves.


Derek Bok, president of Harvard University from 1971-1991 and acting president from 2006-2007 and author of "The Struggle To Reform Our Colleges."

This segment aired on September 20, 2017.


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