Harvard, Stanford…Apple University?

Apple appears to be starting its own school. The Mac-makers are forming a new project called Apple University — but much information beyond that is still anyone’s guess.

Here’s what we do know: Mr. Jobs and crew have hired the dean of Yale’s business school, Joel Podolny, to head up the upcoming Apple U. A note from Yale’s president indicates Podolny will “lead educational initiatives at Apple.” A follow-up note from Podolny himself says he will serve as “vice president and dean of Apple University.” (He then goes into a long-winded speech about how no company has had as “tremendous personal meaning” for him as Apple and how it has been a “fabric of [his] life.” We’ll spare you the details.)

The question, then, is what in the world Apple U will be — and who it’ll be for. Nerds worldwide are no doubt hoping for a full-fledged alternative to the four-year college. Just think if that did happen, and if other tech companies followed suit. The rivalries that resulted would be the stuff of comedic legend. The annual Apple-Microsoft football faceoff, in particular, would have to be the most hilarious sporting scenario imaginable.

But in actuality, the odds are against such an admittedly awesome reality. Most signs suggest the “university” is more likely to end up being some kind of internal employee training facility, possibly akin to the Jobs-founded Pixar Animation Studio’s Pixar University. (Random fact: Did you know there’s also a McDonald’s Hamburger University? I had no idea. But I would trade my degree for the Hamburgler’s stamp of approval in a heartbeat.)

The new dean, by the way, is currently researching “how leaders infuse meaning into their organizations.” Tips for leaders to instill meaning? Well, crap — the wrong company got him. This guy needs to go to Yahoo.