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What if There Were no Colleges and Universities?

A wise person recently asked a question that made my head churn. I need your help to make butter out of this.

The person asked, “What if there were no colleges?”

For many people, this question creates tension and anxiety. Maybe that is part of the answer already. When I think of how to fulfill our vocation at CiRCE (or consult with school leaders) I ask myself and my team to think about what we call the “three global factors”, which are

  1. Energy
  2. Work
  3. Goodwill

More and more, it becomes obvious to me that work can only be done, as we learned in high school physics, when energy is applied. But what I notice about organizations, and especially schools, is that people focus on work, but not on energy.

Draw some conclusions and applications for yourself.

This has called me to direct more and more of my own attention to the question of how to sustain, arouse, and direct energy within an organization. Let’s think for a moment about that in regard to our country and the colleges.

What do our colleges and universities do with our national energy? Do they nourish and sustain it? Do they arouse it? Do they direct it to wise ends? Somewhat more specifically, if there were no colleges, where would the energy that goes into the colleges go? What does not get energy because colleges do?

At this point, I’m going to leave this in question form for the simple reason that in my own mind I am only in the Invention or Discovery process. I need your help to think about this.

What does not get energy because higher ed does? What does higher ed do with the energy it draws? If that arouses other questions in your mind, please reflect on them too.

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