Part of the reason may be that tenure makes all real change impossible. Another part of the reason may be that the academic world is rent asunder by the Lefty Fundamentalist whose views have petrified and putrefied a large part of most faculties.
Whatever the case, America is going to see a decentralization of higher education. The academic ranking is already shifting. The U of Chicago is already in rapid ascent thanks to alumni who graduated many decades ago. The same is true of swarms of colleges and universities that have escaped the death grip of Lefty Fundamentalism. Schools such as the Scripps Colleges, Colorado College, Stanford and a few others.
Decentralization is a main force of commerce, now it is spreading to education. New York was the financial center of the planet in 1947. The advent of low cost national phone rates spread financial operations across the country. Air conditioning spread it to the South.
The same decentralization has happened to San Francisco. San Francisco was the undisputed commercial capital of the Bay Area in 1967. A major new downtown commercial building hasn’t gone up in San Francisco since then; a third of a century ago. The commerce and pulse of work is now decentralized in the S.F. Bay Area thanks to Bart, good telecommunications, freeway expansion and the decentralizing power of FedEx and UPS.
The University of California at San Francisco has been the driving force in biotechnology, yet all seventy biotechnology companies that UCSF has generated are outside of San Francisco.
Things are so bad it looks like San Francisco will lose the new Stem cell Foundation headquarters to Los Angeles. LA was already a large decentralized city located mostly in one county and it is able to offer unlimited free private plane service as a perk to entice the Stem cell Foundation. LA has plenty of major corporations that can work together with the polity to make such a generous offer. San Francisco has no major corporations. The big corporations, which were formerly in S.F., have either left the Bay Area altogether or just left San Francisco.