The first computers were free-standing machines. Later, we learned how to hook them up and the result was an enormous increase in computing power. A parallel shift in our notion of selfhood is called for. The current default self, subscribed to by most people most of the time, is a stand-alone model. The new default self, to be posited in this essay, is more like a computer network.
Higher education today embodies individualistic, hypercompetitive achievement norms which contribute to inequality in a number of ways. And it has enormous, if often unacknowledged, power shaping career plans of its students and helping to authorize "what counts" in the intellectual life of the nation.