Governor Scott Walker, still confident from his recall victory, has announced a proposal to create the “University of Wisconsin Flexible Degree Program
”. Although the public education system is, by and large, no fan of Governor Walker, this proposal is a promising new entry in an increasingly stale and sclerotic higher education system (and, in any event, more threatening to the burgeoning for-profit higher education world).
The major innovation seems to be a revamping of the university credit system, so that students will receive credit for courses by demonstrating competency, rather than being forced, for instance, to sit through a semester of classes on a subject they may have already mastered on the job or outside of the schooling system.
The reforms will also allow for a more self-paced learning schedule, and easier movement between different Wisconsin educational institutions. The University of Wisconsin system is facing fairly severe budget cuts, and this as-yet unfinalized proposal may strike the skeptic as a poor solution.
Regardless of Walker's motivations, it's going to take something at least as original as his plan (if not much more) for our higher education system to adapt to the changing needs and capabilities of our society.