Revolution in Higher Education

Revolution in Higher Education

How a Small Band of Innovators Will Make College Accessible and Affordable

By Richard A. DeMillo

Foreword by Andrew J. Young

A report from the front lines of higher education and technology that chronicles efforts to transform teaching, learning, and opportunity.





A report from the front lines of higher education and technology that chronicles efforts to transform teaching, learning, and opportunity.

Colleges and universities have become increasingly costly, and, except for a handful of highly selective, elite institutions, unresponsive to twenty-first-century needs. But for the past few years, technology-fueled innovation has begun to transform higher education, introducing new ways to disseminate knowledge and better ways to learn—all at lower cost. In this impassioned account, Richard DeMillo tells the behind-the-scenes story of these pioneering efforts and offers a roadmap for transforming higher education. Building on his earlier book, Abelard to Apple, DeMillo argues that the current system of higher education is clearly unsustainable. Colleges and universities are in financial crisis. Tuition rises inexorably. Graduates of reputable schools often fail to learn basic skills, and many cannot find suitable jobs. Meanwhile, student-loan default rates have soared while the elite Ivy and near-Ivy schools seem remote and irrelevant.

Where are the revolutionaries who can save higher education? DeMillo's heroes are a small band of innovators who are bringing the revolution in technology to colleges and universities. DeMillo chronicles, among other things, the invention of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) by professors at Stanford and MIT; Salman Khan's Khan Academy; the use of technology by struggling historically black colleges and universities to make learning more accessible; and the latest research on learning and the brain. He describes the revolution's goals and the entrenched hierarchical system it aims to overthrow; and he reframes the nature of the contract between society and its universities. The new institutions of a transformed higher education promise to demonstrate not only that education has value but also that it has values—virtues for the common good.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262029643 360 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 14 b&w illus.


$19.95 T ISBN: 9780262533614 360 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 14 b&w illus.


Andrew J. Young.


  • Revolution in Higher Education would be a good book to start with for any campus contemplating going through a large strategic planning process. (And DeMillo is wonderfully incisive about the limitations of strategic planning). Both critics and fans of postsecondary disruption will be given plenty to react to in Revolution in Higher Education…. Your ideas and opinions will be better informed after reading this book.

    Joshua Kim

    Inside Higher Education

  • The author brings extensive experience and knowledgeable perspectives to the current problems with U.S. colleges and universities and institutions around the world that are mired in uncontrolled high costs, inappropriate traditional habits, and an unproductive focus on prestige and rankings…. DeMillo presents a well-informed account of the challenges and potential transformation in American higher education.

    Library Journal


  • DeMillo makes the case for a real revolution in higher education, which has not changed its format and practices for centuries. Millions will benefit from this transformation.

    Vint Cerf

    one of the founding fathers of the Internet

  • Revolution in Higher Education is a thorough but readable look into the innovations and tough questions that are poised to alter the higher education landscape. DeMillo makes his case so effectively that when disruption comes, none of us will be able to say we were not warned.

    Mitch Daniels

    President of Purdue University, and former Governor of Indiana

  • The new social contract envisioned by Richard DeMillo in his insightful and arresting new book, Revolution in Higher Education, is one that must be achieved if we are to succeed as a nation. DeMillo makes a compelling argument for the notion that a small band of innovators could generate an entire symphony of outcomes that make higher education more accessible, more affordable, and ultimately more aligned with the growing demand for talent that is shaping our twenty-first-century economy and society.

    Jamie Merisotis

    President and CEO, Lumina Foundation


  • Winner, 2015 American Publishers Award for Professional and Scholarly Excellence (PROSE Award) in Education Practice, presented by the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers