Tag Archives | Department of Education

Checklist for Change: Making American Higher Education a Sustainable Enterprise by Robert Zemsky

When I was a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, Bob Zemsky constantly reminded my classmates and me of two important things to remember when writing research papers or dissertations. The first was to show the reader the evidence; making statements or conclusions based on flimsy evidence was not a pathway toward graduation or a means of building a successful academic career post graduation.

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Grading the American Education System and Federal Education Policy

Last month, the Council on Foreign Relations’ (CFR) Renewing America initiative published a progress report and scorecard on federal education policy, providing striking comparisons between the US system and those found in other developed nations.  The report sheds light on the grimmest details of federal education policy and the shortcomings that led to the nation’s decline in worldwide educational rankings. 

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Online Disruption, MOOC Mania, and Change in Higher Education – How Crazy (or Bad) Will it Get?

(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. 

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Barriers to Adoption of Online Learning Systems in U.S. Higher Education

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. 

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Higher Education at a Crossroads

This week, I had the opportunity to attend the American Council on Education’s (ACE) annual meeting in Washington, DC.  The theme of this year’s conference was Reaching Higher, but the underlying theme seemed to be “the winds of change are upon us.”

Sunday’s session for presidents and chancellors had the following topics:  Vision and Change at BYU-Idaho: A Model for America’s Colleges and Universities, Information Technology:  Seize the Day, and a luncheon at which Terry Hartle, SVP of Government and Public Affairs of ACE spoke about the pending Department of Education regulations regarding Credit Hours, State Regulation, Gainful Employment, Accreditation, and Misrepresentation. 

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Student Attrition

America’s declining college graduation rates have been the subject of many a political speech or hearing lately.  President Obama set a long term goal for his administration to restore America’s prominence in the percentage of its citizens with college degrees.  When you examine the research literature regarding student attrition, persistence, or graduation rates, there are thousands of publications and numerous dissertations written about some aspect of those topics.

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The “Manageable” Debt Load of Recent Graduates

An August 11th article in The New York Times caught my attention.  Written by Tamar Lewin, the article describes a policy brief released by the College Board which concludes that for the most part, recent graduates are carrying “manageable” debt loads.  Using data published in the Department of Education’s National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, the policy brief notes that while the number of students using loans to pay for their post-secondary educations has increased in the last five years, the volume of students who carry overly burdensome levels of debt upon graduation remains small in comparison.

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President Obama Offers a Boost to Community Colleges

Last week President Obama announced the American Graduation Initiative, a 10-year, $12 billion plan focused on community colleges.  Community colleges play an integral role in the American higher education system and will play an even bigger role as America works toward President Obama’s goals of regaining America’s place as the world’s leader in college completion rates and establishing an American workforce that is able to compete with that of other nations. 

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President Obama’s Green Economy

From the earliest days of the most recent presidential election, President Obama made it clear that one of his highest priorities if elected would be addressing climate change, energy consumption and the economy.  It seems that within the first several months of taking office, President Obama has remained dedicated to those priorities.  More recently, he maintains that he has found a single solution that will address all three problems: the development of a “green economy.” 

The green economy, according to the Administration, will “invest in alternative and renewable energy, end our addiction to foreign oil, address the global climate crisis and create millions [five million, to be exact] of new jobs.”  President Obama has stated his intention to invest $150 billion over the next ten years in efforts meant to encourage private efforts to establish and use clean energy. 

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