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Riding the Fifth Wave in Higher Education

A Survival Guide for the New Normal

James Ottavio Castagnera

The Fifth Wave in higher education is breaking on American shores. Unlike the four waves that preceded it from colonial times through the post-WWII mega-versity expansion, this wave is disrupting all sectors of the higher education industry. It will sweep away those institutions—be they public, private non-profit, or for-profit—that fail to recognize and meet the threat. Harvard professor Clay Christensen, the father of "disruptive innovation," predicts that as many as half of all American universities will close or go bankrupt within the next 10 to 15 years (See Inside Higher Ed, April 28, 2017).

Riding the Fifth Wave in Higher Education: A Survival Guide for the New Normal charts the dimensions of the Fifth Wave challenge and offers numerous general and specific suggestions for surfing the wave and surviving its tsunami-like impact. Part One of this concise handbook explains why our industry is in treacherous waters and outlines the impact of the Fifth Wave to date on all three major sectors of American higher ed. Part Two offers a range of practical responses, including ways we might break out of the tuition-discount "death spiral" and the facilities "arms race," as well as identifying our prospects for removing the albatross of onerous federal regulations from around our necks before it drags us under. If you have time to read only one book about today’s crisis in American higher education, Riding the Fifth Wave in Higher Education is the right choice. If you plan to research the topic in depth, Riding the Fifth Wave in Higher Education is the perfect place to start.

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Chapter 7. Addressing the Facilities “Arms Race”


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Herewith, a 2017 press release from central New Jersey’s Rider University:

Students attending Mercer County Community College can now experience campus life at Rider University as part of a new housing partnership between the two institutions.       The formal agreement—one of several signed on Dec. 14 at a ceremony on Mercer’s West Windsor campus—allows Mercer students to live in Rider’s residence halls at a reduced rate. As campus residents, the students will have full access to the University’s resources, including libraries, dining halls, and exercise and sports facilities. They will also be encouraged to participate in Rider’s 150 student clubs and organizations, intramural sports and on-campus events, such as concerts, musicals, and Division I athletic events.       “Rider University and Mercer County Community College have a long history in partnering for the common benefit of our students, and this innovative idea is an exciting new component of how we can help create successful university graduates,” said Rider President Gregory G. Dell’Omo. “We look forward to sharing Rider’s vibrant campus life with Mercer students.”       The housing agreement applies to both domestic and international students. For those who decide to continue their education at Rider toward a bachelor’s degree, the University will offer tuition discounts in addition to the reduced housing rates.       “This agreement is so important for those who could not otherwise take advantage of a college education,” said MCCC President Dr. Jianping Wang. “Rider...

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