Navigating Structural Disruption in Higher Education:

Changing Higher Ed Podcast 177 with Host Dr. Drumm McNaughton and Guest Dr. Michael D. Smith

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Navigating Structural Disruption in Higher Education | Changing Higher Ed Podcast 177 with Host Dr. Drumm McNaughton and Guest Dr. Michael D. Smith
Changing Higher Ed Podcast | Drumm McNaughton | The Change Leader

17 October · Episode 177

Navigating Structural Disruption in Higher Education

35 Min · By Dr. Drumm McNaughton

This thought-provoking conversation dissects the structural disruptions in the higher education landscape. Drawing parallels with the entertainment industry, McNaughton and Smith explore the strategic turbulence ahead for higher education leaders.


Delving into the dynamic crossroads of technology and education, this episode shines a spotlight on the transformative power of structural disruption.

Drawing parallels between the seismic shifts in the entertainment industry and today’s higher education landscape, this discussion underscores the urgent need for academia to adapt. Listen in as McNauthton and Smith unravel how elite institutions can pave the way for a more inclusive and affordable future in higher education.

Key Discussion Points:

  • Introduction to structural disruption and its defining role in today’s higher education.

  • A glance back at the entertainment industry and how technology shifted the ground beneath it.

  • Unraveling the parallels: Both sectors controlled critical, scarce resources, but how are they adapting or resisting change?

  • The tale of Joyce Carol Oates: A microcosm of the larger issue in higher education, exploring the challenge of exclusive access to premier knowledge resources.

  • The urgent need for change: Tackling the financial and moral challenges in higher education and understanding the roots of increasing public distrust.

  • Bright spots on the horizon: Institutions that are harnessing technology for more inclusive and affordable education. 

Three Critical Takeaways for Higher Education Leaders:

  • Recognizing the challenges
  • Understanding their systemic nature
  • Embracing technological solutions


This episode serves as a wake-up call for higher education transformation. Drawing lessons from past industries, there’s a pressing need to redefine missions, methods, and mindsets to ensure your institution remains relevant, accessible, and equitable in today’s digital world.


About Our Guest

Dr. Michael D. Smith is J. Erik Jonsson Professor of Information Technology and Marketing at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College of Public Policy and Management. Smith is coauthor of the book “Streaming, Sharing, Stealing: Big Data and the Future of Entertainment” (MIT Press, 2016) and author of the new book “The Abundant University: Remaking Higher Education for a Digital World” (MIT Press, 2023).


Michael D. Smith on LinkedIn


About the Host

Dr. Drumm McNaughton, host of Changing Higher Ed® podcast, is a consultant to higher education institutions in governance, accreditation, strategy, change, and mergers.


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