Carnegie Mellon University


"The Abundant University: Remaking Higher Education for a Digital World"

Why our current system of higher education is financially and morally unsustainable and how to address the crisis with the creative implementation of digital technologies.

For too long, our system of higher education has been defined by scarcity: scarcity in enrollment, scarcity in instruction, and scarcity in credentials. In addition to failing students professionally, we have seen how this system has exacerbated social injustice and socioeconomic stratification across the globe. In "The Abundant University," Carnegie Mellon University Professor Michael D. Smith argues that the only way to create a financially and morally sustainable higher education system is by embracing digital technologies for enrolling, instructing, and credentialing students—the same technologies that we have seen create abundance in access to resources in industry after industry.

"The Abundant University" explains how we got our current system, why it's such an expensive, inefficient mess, and how a system based on exclusivity necessarily cannot foster inclusivity. Further, Smith challenges the resistance to digital technologies that we have already seen among numerous institutions, citing the examples of faculty resistance toward digital learning platforms. While acknowledging the understandable self-preservation instinct for our current system of residential education, Smith makes a case for how technology can engender greater educational opportunity and create changes that will benefit students, employers, and society as a whole.