You are correct in the, increasingly, diverse roles for higher education and the impossibility of meeting expanding needs. The reality of writing for popular medium, even long form, such Medium means eight minute reading limit. I plan to expand on this as I have time as it is changing quickly now.
The whole education thing needs to be taken apart and redesigned. I’m suggesting that is what is being forces educators now, obviously. Teaching is inherently a multimedia and synchronous, asynchronous hybrid. That is the first message. It has always been that way. The oldest form of higher education continues to be ‘reading’ under the direction of expert in the subject with subsequent discussions.
I’m vary at home with that, which colors what I say, as my graduate work was history and philosophy. But I’ve been a technologist for a lot longer than that and have spent forty years in the community college system. So the focus for the mass of tertiary education students is, and should be. Career and Technical Education.
Those are the most difficult to do fully online but have been increasingly hybrid, courtesy of industry controls and standards, for almost twenty years.
Having gotten that out of the way, I totally agree that research universities with graduate programs are the remaining success stories of western higher education. These are research based and heavily reliant on graduate students doing ‘apprenticeships’ in the traditional sense.
The problem is the muddle of extended secondary education with a series of rite de passage events. The belief in generalist education in the liberal arts is valid but is no longer relevant in the ways it once was. None of us are tied to university library for our information now. Those may have excellent resources but they are also, usually, online.
Within the context of disruptive change and paradigmatic shifts, traditional forms ultimately divide into new forms. Education being very close to religion in levels of conservatism we have maintained the same structure fo higher education that is attempting to meet needs that are no longer needed while failing to meet the needs that are there.
I tried to outline this a couple of years ago by posting a community college for 2030. That produced the sound of crickets but I still think thsi deconstruction and rebuild is what needs to be done.