Why We Need a State and Regional Approach to Higher Education in Silicon Valley

Colloquium | February 9 | 12-1 p.m. | Dwinelle Hall, Academic Innovation Studio, Dwinelle 117

 Michael W. Kirst, Professor Emeritus of Education, Stanford University & President, California State Board of Education; W. Richard (Dick) Scott, Professor Emeritus,Sociology,Stanford University

 Center for Studies in Higher Education

Postsecondary education and the San Francisco (SF) Bay Area economy are varied and complex – and they are integral to each other’s success. Colleges and universities of all types educate and train a diverse workforce, and the Bay Area employs highly skilled workers. Faculty and graduates serve as innovators and entrepreneurs; industrial labs push the boundaries of research and knowledge. These two “fields” share important values, including a keen interest in developing and using knowledge and a reliance on networks of professionals.

Yet higher education and the Bay Area economy are mismatched in many ways, and ill-suited for each other. The two fields have developed under different conditions, with different pressures, for different purposes, and so it is not surprising that they differ substantially in their values, norms, and pace of change. Most colleges developed in the 19th or 20th centuries and adopted bureaucratic structures that provide discretion to academic professionals. In colleges, the pace of change has been leisurely. In contrast, Silicon Valley has renewed itself multiple times in the past half-century, creating an industrial model that features an array of nimble, independent companies that rely on each other; a high degree of labor mobility across companies; and expertise and partnerships. This deep historical regional study of 350 Bay Area postsecondary institutions will be presented as a preview of authors’ Michael W. Kirst and W. Richard (Dick) Scott book Higher Education and the Silicon Valley: Connected But Conflicted to be published by Johns Hopkins Press in 2017.

No RSVP required. Lunch will be provided.

 cshe@berkeley.edu, 510-643-9212