Last month, I wrote about a new book, The College Stress Test, authored by my former professor and dissertation chair Dr. Robert Zemsky, Susan Shaman, and Susan Campbell Baldridge. Using data from the Department of Education institutional reports, the authors constructed a stress test that indicated only 10% of educational institutions face substantial market risk but that another 30% will struggle until they find a way to reduce student costs, change curriculum, and experiment with new modes of instruction.
Much has been written about the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on higher education. At this point in time, most, if not all, colleges and universities have shuttered their campuses and are attempting to continue the semester by teaching online. With the notices to parents (I have two daughters in college) that refunds will be forthcoming for a prorated portion of the semester for room, board, and fees for other services, I became curious about how issuing refunds to students would impact many colleges.
Dan Weisberg’s recent commentary "The biggest scandal in education is hiding in plain sight," posted on the Thomas B. Fordham Institute website, posits that there are huge grading inconsistencies across America’s high schools, and parents who rely on those grades are being misled by their schools and teachers. Weisberg writes that for millions of families, report cards are misleading and offer false confidence that children are well prepared for their futures.
As an avid follower of information technology trends, I have read hundreds of articles and several dozen books about artificial intelligence (A.I.) over the past six years. A few of the books have been reviewed on this blog beginning in 2014 (see Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era, The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts, RISE OF THE ROBOTS: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future, The Glass Cage: Automation and Us, and Review of The Second Machine Age: Work, Process, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee). Recently, two items triggered my Spidey sense (a term coined by Marvel Comics for the ability of superhero Spiderman to sense when something was about to happen).
When I read that Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce had issued another report about the value of certificates and associate degrees, I assumed that the research related to the database utilized to generate its analysis about the ROI of a college degree, which I critiqued in an initial, and follow-up, post. I was surprised when the paper revealed a different research basis.
My first review of one of Bob Zemsky’s books was in 2008 with Remaking of the American University: Market Smart and Mission Centered, that he co-authored with Greg Wegman and Bill Massy. While Zemsky has written more books post-2008, he’s continued to write about change in higher education and the higher education market.
I recently attended the 10th reunion of doctoral graduates at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE). The Executive Doctorate in Higher Education Management program is an Ed.D. program initiated two decades ago at Penn GSE by Professors Robert Zemsky and Marvin Lazerson. Unlike traditional doctoral programs, the Penn GSE program was modeled similar to Wharton’s Executive MBA program, with a cohort of students from around the country and overseas.
Not a day goes by where we don’t hear about the shortage of workers with the required education and training for more than six million unfilled positions in the U.S. Early in his presidency, Barack Obama called for increasing the number of Americans earning a college degree to maintain global competitiveness in an era with increasing technology innovations, some used to replace jobs in the workforce. Despite all the attention on higher education attainment, overall enrollments have decreased since 2010, with explanations ranging from a declining birth rate and low unemployment rates to an increasing perception that degrees may not provide the same return on investment for today’s students as for Baby Boomers and their parents.
In a recent Chronicle of Higher Education Review, University of Tennessee law professor Benjamin Barton authored an article, The Law School Crash, subtitled “What’s worse than a decade of financial turmoil? Not learning from it.” Barton’s news isn’t new. In fact, he mentions Brian Tamanaha’s 2012 book, Failing Law Schools, as an early critique of the disparity between the cost of law school and career and salary outcomes.
I recently wrote about the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce’s new report, the ROI of Liberal Arts Colleges, which was generated from the database created for their broader report, A First Try at ROI: Ranking 4,500 Colleges. Despite experiencing a liberal arts education through my undergraduate history major at Duke University, something about the report bothered me. Ultimately, I understood what was causing my consternation.