Still, looking back at the book, I realize that several issues I highlighted have become even more relevant over the past seven months — particularly the racial and economic disparities in educational opportunity and the potential and limits of online education. Meanwhile, some of the crucial issues bubbling up today — the “trust gap” between college leaders and faculty and staff members, for one — didn’t seem as “live-or-death” important in 2014.
I wasn’t as farsighted as another author, Bryan Alexander, who actually speculated on the potential effects of a pandemic in his early-2020 book, Academia Next. And I feel no sense of satisfaction in seeing fissures I called out six years ago deepening today. Frankly, it’s painful. But I do think re-examining where I thought the sector was headed — and what its biggest challenges were — could help us comprehend the current crisis and, eventually, dig out