Perfect University

San Francisco’s Minerva: ‘perfect university’ or student gamble? By Nanette Asimov. pay

Students, chosen not merely for brains but for a unique characteristic or talent, live together in a different country each semester except during freshman year, when they’re in San Francisco.

“The seminars are really intense. You’re on the spot,” said Haar. “Your face is on screen. Everyone in your class can see you — and you’re having these really intense conversations. You have to have read the background materials so you can make informed statements.”

As a student last year, Haar took the four required classes: “multi-modal communication” (art, music, poetry and prose); “complex systems” (sociology); “formal analysis” (data and logic); and “empirical analysis” (the scientific method).

Nelson says his point is to peel away extraneous costs that strangle innovation in higher education: athletics, for example. Or paying professors to do research rather than teach.

The college never went through the rigorous, years-long evaluation that most schools endure to become accredited. Instead, Minerva piggy-backed on the Keck Graduate Institute’s accreditation by becoming a program of that school. wikipedia

“Every employer and every university knows that employers look for people who are able to think critically, communicate effectively and interact well with others,” he said. “It’s no mystery that universities don’t actually teach any of those things. So when a university comes along that teaches the things that employers need, obviously, the graduates will be highly sought after.”


As schools everywhere look to video conferencing as a silver bullet to make education cheaper or more profitable, this one takes it for granted and moves on to other innovations now enabled.