University Stalwarts That Won’t Be Seen in the Future

When the word "university" is said, it brings certain images to mind. But as academic institutions surge into the future, more and more of those long-time images are being cast aside in favor of new ones. Wonder what's disappearing?

Tenure: For a professor to become tenured was the icing on the cake. It was a locked-in contract that guaranteed employment until they either retired or did something horribly wrong, but it's something clearly on the decline. In 1975, almost 1 in 2 professors were either tenured or tenure-tracked, and by 2011, that number fell to 1 in 4. The final nail in the coffin is that now almost 67% of teachers are either part-time adjuncts or grad students.

Affordable Tuition: In the 2010-11 school year, the average tuition at a private institution was $32,617, and $15,918 at a public institution. Going back 20 years, it was $13,327 for the former and $5,253 for the latter. But if you were lucky enough to attend university in the 1980-81 school year, all you would have had to pay was $5,594 and $2,550, respectively. It's costing more and more to become highly educated. But the worst part is, tuition prices are outstripping inflation, so it proportionately costs even more to go to university.

In-Person Classes: It was only a matter of time before computers and the Internet brought learning to the living room. In the 2002-03 school year, online learning comprised almost 10% of all enrollment, a number that's spiked to about 34% in the 2012-13 school year. The benefits of online learning are many: it can cost less, there's no commute, the scheduling is more flexible, and a wider range of students from around the world can take part.

Textbooks: Course materials in the form of books are still widely seen, as they're often a source of revenue for professors who team up with publishing companies. But thanks again to the Internet, hard copies of books are being replaced with e-books, websites, PDFs, course kits and, yes, even pirated online copies of books. Knowledge is so widely found today that students are no longer restricted to getting it from one source.

Gender-Specific Programs: It wasn't too long ago that fields like nursing were "for women" and engineering "for men." The shift in gender paradigms recently has meant that more of each are studying what they want instead of what society says is right. According to the American Medical Colleges, almost 82% of all OB-GYN residents in the country were women in 2010, a profession that was traditionally delegated to men.

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