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Opinion | Why Stanford Should Clone Itself


Here’s a revolutionary concept: A prime non-public college like Princeton or Yale (or maybe a famend school like Amherst or Swarthmore) ought to open a brand new campus.

The establishment wouldn’t need to decrease its requirements, as a result of the perfect and brightest would queue for admission. Professors with glittering résumés would bounce on the alternative to show there — certainly, for the adventurous Yale-caliber tutorial, the chance to be current on the creation could possibly be a robust draw. Cities would carry out handstands to land such a college.

Harvard-San Diego, Yale-Houston — this concept is just not merely off the desk in academe. It is just not even inside the realm of those universities’ creativeness. But why ought to it boggle the thoughts? If Yale can open a campus in Singapore, why can’t it begin one in Houston?

Institutions like these, which guard their status with mother-bear fierceness, predictably concern that in the event that they took such a daring step, their coin-of-the-realm status would endure and that their U.S. News & World Report rating would slip a notch or two. Yet if Harvard-San Diego have been really a clone of the mom ship, because it may nicely be, it’s exhausting to see how the college could be worse off. On the opposite — as a result of it will purchase what economists name first-mover benefit, it will be lionized. It’s not exhausting to ponder a Bill Gates or Laurene Powell Jobs writing an eight-figure test to assist underwrite the enterprise.

Companies like Tiffany, which visitors in luxurious gadgets, are reluctant to increase, and De Beers limits the variety of diamonds available on the market. Exclusivity is an important a part of what they’re promoting, and in the event that they get greater, they danger diluting their model.

Unlike Tiffany or De Beers, top-ranked universities don’t promote themselves as avatars of exclusivity. If you’re taking them at their phrase, their calling is to teach the perfect and the brightest — to advertise what Stanford University’s mission assertion calls “the public welfare.” Educating extra college students who would profit from that chance, not tinkering with the conduct of the admissions workplace, is one method to notice that mission.

David Kirp (@DavidKirp) is a professor of the graduate college on the University of California, Berkeley, and the writer, most lately, of “The College Dropout Scandal.”

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