November 4, 2016
Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-grant universities, wrote recently in the Los Angeles Times: “Nearly 500 public universities have pledged to collectively increase the number of Americans earning a degree and share best practices that help to move the needle.” That’s an important step forward that deserves the support of the president of the United States.
October 19, 2016
David May is the project director for Advancing Mathematics Pathways for Student Success, a project sponsored by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. Organizers are attempting to coordinate efforts among colleges around the country that are trying to guide more students into statistics. Colleges in at least 15 states have joined the movement. He said the effort in Maryland has made it a "model state." "I think Maryland is going to be one of the places that we will point to as a place where they've gone about it in a good way, getting the faculty involved, getting the state involved, and not having it be a college-by-college effort," he said.
September 29, 2016
Hillary Clinton announced her new higher education plan this summer with a burst of fanfare, promising to invest $500 billion to eliminate tuition for millions of students at public colleges and universities across the country. The move was an expansion of an earlier, less ambitious proposal, and was seen as a conciliatory gesture to her left-leaning primary opponent, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and his supporters ahead of the Democratic Party’s convention.“We appreciate that Mrs. Clinton understands that states are disinvesting from higher education in their states,” said Peter McPherson, the president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, who expressed approval that a candidate was trying to broaden access to higher education in a bold way. “But her plan at this juncture doesn’t fill out the details.”
September 19, 2016
When Brandon Ruotolo started looking for academic jobs, he knew one thing for certain: He wanted a tenure-track position. Ruotolo spent five years as a postdoc in England, which does not offer tenure. So he knew he wanted the job protections and academic freedom that tenure offers. But he also knew about the downside. The chemist had heard the tenure horror stories of seemingly competent colleagues who got turned down after long, behind-closed-door deliberations.
September 19, 2016
Increased faculty diversity has long been a goal of many colleges and universities. But a number of institutions have recently put their money where their mouths are, so to speak, launching expensive initiatives aimed at making their faculties more representative of their respective student bodies and the U.S. population. And while these initiatives are comprehensive, targeting multiple potential points of entry into -- and exit from -- the faculty candidate pool, a good portion of the funds are reserved for recruiting underrepresented minorities already working in academe or new Ph.D.s.
September 15, 2016
Building on the College Scorecard program it launched last year, the U.S. Department of Education announced today that it may soon start providing “cautionary indicators” to warn students about potentially problematic schools. While the government didn’t provide specifics about the warnings, college representatives and former Obama Administration officials said the red flags might include low student loan repayment rates, troubled finances, or programs whose graduates end up in low-paying jobs. Currently, the department only issues warnings about colleges facing severe financial difficulties. It has not said when the new changes might go into effect.
September 6, 2016
The data in Third Way’s report on public universities suffers from deficiencies. Importantly, the federal graduation data it uses counts students who transfer institutions as dropouts.
This deficient data led Third Way to the mistaken conclusion that six-year federal graduation rates reflect student success at Michigan public universities. With more complete data from the National Student Clearinghouse, the Student Achievement Measure (SAM) captures the full set of student outcomes. Using SAM, 44% of students graduate from Oakland University in six years, another 15% graduate elsewhere, and 21% are still enrolled. At Wayne State University, 34% of students graduate from WSU in six years, another 7% graduate elsewhere and 28% are still enrolled. Far from “dropout factories” the vast majority of entering students at OU and WSU either graduate or are still in school.
Judgments about student success must start with complete data. Anything less isn’t good enough.
September 6, 2016
The head of Mexico's agriculture agency will be visiting New Mexico State University next week. The university made the announcement Thursday, saying Jose Eduardo Calzada Rovirosa will be on campus Sept. 9. His visit will include the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. The agreement aims to strengthen communication, promote scientific research and collaborate with Latin America, the Caribbean and other countries. Calzada Rovirosa also will meet with University Chancellor Garrey Carruthers and Rolando Flores, the new dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. An NMSU graduate, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto appointed Calzada Rovirosa as the country's agriculture secretary in August 2015. He previously served as the governor of the Mexican state of Querétaro.
August 22, 2016
Although the American public is often told that a college education will consign them to six figures of debt and diminished financial prospects, the truth is that 36% of public four-year university graduates complete their degrees without any debt, the average debt among borrowers is $25,500, and less than 2% graduate with more than $60,000 in debt. Never mind that a bachelor’s degree adds up to $1 million to a worker’s lifetime earnings. Even some college, particularly a two-year degree, adds to lifetime earnings. Nearly 500 public universities have pledged to collectively increase the number of Americans earning a degree and share best practices that help to move the needle. Nearly 500 public universities have pledged to collectively increase the number of Americans earning a degree and share best practices that help to move the needle. Many institutions are using predictive analytics and Web-based advising to help students chart a clear path to graduation. Some are providing retention micro-grants to low-income students – who are often in their senior year and on track to graduate, but at risk of dropping out because they are just a few hundred dollars short on tuition. Other institutions have proved that an advising session at the beginning of a student’s senior year can appreciably increase their chances of graduating.
August 22, 2016
The conversation about the assessment of student learning in higher education has shifted somewhat in recent years. While some critics still question whether colleges are doing enough to try to understand what and how much their students learn, there is no doubt that most institutions -- often prodded by their accreditors and other external pressures -- are engaged in more activity aimed at assessing student learning. Several national groups announced a new program last fall aimed at recognizing institutions that have gone beyond sporadic efforts to assess student learning and sought to assure a more systemic, cross-campus approach that uses results to drive experimentation and change.