I recently came across four articles, none of which make explicit reference to each other but each of which seems to have been written with at least some ambiguous notion of what at least one of the others is focusing on. I am going to treat the four articles in an order that allows me to bring some coherence to the discussion, but I want to emphasize that I am imposing that coherence on the discussion. The fact that it didn’t exist otherwise is really the main point of this post. It seems illustrative of the way in which many of the discussions of the more central issues in higher education frequently dissolve into passionate assertions of opinion that are worse than useless—that are more damaging than silence—because they are not actually about the same things, because no one is stipulating a starting point, what is actually at issue.
The first article, “How Can College Students Become Successful Entrepreneurs?,” first appeared in Quora and was later republished in Slate. The author, Nate Berkopec of New York University, discusses the shortcomings of many degree programs in entrepreneurship, asserting that any program that consists largely of conventional courses is very much shortchanging its students. In Berkopec’s view, the most effective way to understand entrepreneurship is to become engaged in it, and those degree programs that take students out of the classroom and provide them with first-hand experience of what it means to be an entrepreneur will be the most successful. More specifically, Berkopec suggests that it is important for students to learn some of the basic skills essential to today’s start-up entrepreneurs, such as html coding. More broadly, Berkopec argues that students should be encouraged to create their own start-ups and not to think in terms of first joining existing enterprises. Continue reading