I haven't read Joel Best's Flavor of the Month: Why Smart People Fall for Fads yet, but this is one hell of an interesting beginning:
I could not have—and would not have—written this book without the inspiration provided by various administrators at the three universities where I’ve spent nearly twenty-five years chairing academic departments. Department chairs attend many meetings at which the future is unveiled, priorities are articulated, and innovations are announced. Over the years, I have been assured that our university—if not all of higher education—was about to be transformed by affirmative action, the Pacific Rim, assessment, active learning, cooperative learning, distance learning, service learning, problem-based learning, responsibility-based management, zero-based budgeting, broadening the general education requirements, narrowing the general education requirements, capstone courses, writing across the curriculum, multicultural education, computer networking, the Internet, water (don’t ask), critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, and I don’t know what else. I have gone on retreats; participated in program reviews; served on task forces; puzzled over mission statements; written five-year plans, three-year plans, and niche reports; and listened to proclamations from provosts, assistant provosts, deans, associate deans, and wannabe deans. I have been assured with tight-lipped seriousness: “This is not a fad.” Still, after all these amazing transformations, today’s universities do not seem all that different than they were when I was a student.