Last week’s announcement that Sweet Briar College would close in August came as a shock to many. Some alumnae have organized a fundraising campaign to keep Sweet Briar alive and others are wondering why a college with an $84 million endowment and 700 students had to close while it still had cash in the bank. The board cited an unsustainable enrollment decline as one of the reasons.
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While much has been written about college persistence and retention related to traditional college students (18-22 year-olds matriculating immediately after high school graduation), substantially less has been written about adult students, particularly those whose jobs and family obligations make it difficult to attend college in a traditional face-to-face classroom structure. Many of the published research papers about non-traditional or online student persistence have been single-institution studies, offering little ability to make comparisons between studies because of the lack of common definitions and benchmarks.
Last week, I attended the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) and American Council on Education (ACE) Summit for Online Leadership and Strategy in San Antonio. Less than two years ago, I was asked to serve on the UPCEA Center for Online Leadership and Strategy Advisory Council. Part of the Center’s role was to plan the first summit that took place in San Diego last year.
On October 30, my colleagues Dr. Phil Ice, vice president of research and development, Dr. Melissa Layne, director of research methodology, and I presented a research paper at the Online Learning Consortium (formerly Sloan Consortium) annual conference in Orlando, FL. The research was conducted utilizing data submitted to the National Student Clearinghouse as well as the outcomes and analysis of the Clearinghouse data as compared to our data.
At a recent conference entitled “What is Liberal Education For?,” scholars gathered at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of its Santa Fe campus as well as to continue the debate about the merits of a wide, knowledge-encompassing degree versus something more practical and focused.
By Jeffrey McCafferty, Associate Vice President, Strategic Planning at the American Public University System
Late summer and early autumn is one of my favorite times to visit New York City. The weather is warm, people are bustling, and there is a sense of starting anew as summer vacations have concluded and all are back to work.
(keynote delivered at the Distance Learning Administration Conference on June 5, 2013)
I began writing this speech nearly three months ago. A week and a half ago, I wrapped it up and thought I had better run through it one last time in case any new educational technology had been released that I needed to discuss today.
Pilot Program Forces Discussion of Online Learning, MOOCs, Student Retention, and the Future of Higher Education
Earlier this week, the California State University System (CSU) announced an online pilot program with Udacity, a for-profit provider of MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses). Udacity will provide a remedial algebra course, a college level algebra course, and a statistics course as part of the pilot that will initially be limited to 300 students at San Jose State University and several local community colleges.
Ithaka S+R recently published a report funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and titled, “Barriers to Adoption of Online Learning Systems in U.S. Higher Education.” I have written extensively on this blog about the economic constraints facing institutions of higher education, issues of student persistence and retention, and the litany of other issues daunting the American higher education system today.
Vincent Tinto’s research related to student retention is well known among academicians. His 1975 paper in the Review of Educational Research creating a theoretical construct of the major factors leading to student retention has been cited in hundreds, if not thousands of papers and publications. Additionally, Tinto’s sociological construct of the college dropout influenced future researchers toward examining the cause of dropouts instead of blaming the victim.
- ‘THE END OF COLLEGE: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere’ by Kevin Carey March 25, 2015
- Remaking College: The Changing Ecology of Higher Education March 17, 2015
- Change is Hard but – if Needed – Change before it’s Too Late March 10, 2015
- Recalibrating Regulation of Colleges and Universities February 26, 2015
- Educational Attainment: Tracking the Academic Success of Servicemembers and Veterans February 19, 2015
- Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns August 6, 2008
- The “Myths” About Online Education May 4, 2010
- In the clamor for increasing graduation and persistence rates, are we ignoring the student at risk factors and student characteristics? February 22, 2012
- Higher Ed’s Economic Challenges May 25, 2010
- Charlene Li’s Groundswell May 27, 2008
- Change is Hard but - if Needed - Change before it’s Too Late |: […] Briar alive and others are wondering why...
- Wally Boston| Recalibrating Regulation of Colleges and Universities |: […] the growth in Department of Education re...
- Wally Boston | Educational Attainment: Tracking the Academic Success of Servicemembers and Veterans |: […] much has been written about college pers...
- Wally Boston| What Stays in Vegas |: […] in the future will most likely increase,...
- Wally Boston| Grade Level: Tracking Online Education in the U.S. |: […] year’s report is notable for several c...
Blogs I Read
- Access with Success (Larry Penley)
- All Things Digital (Walt Mossberg)
- Center for College Affordability & Productivity
- Changing Higher Education
- Courageous Learning
- Durham in Wonderland
- New Realities in Higher Education
- Solutions for Our Future
- Southwest Airlines
- The College Puzzle
- Technology & Learning
- American Military University
- American Public University
- American Public University System
- Center for Teaching and Learning
- The Stream Multimedia
- Community of Scholars
- Scholar of the Week
- Education Trends
- Inside Higher Ed
- Journal of Internet Learning
- Campus Technology
- University Business
- Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition
- Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration
- Excelsior College Presidents Forum
- Policy Studies Organization
- Connections Academy
- American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment
- Jefferson County Economic Development Authority