Universal education in the United States is no longer a novel idea; in fact, K-12 education has become something most Americans take for granted. Even with issues of access and affordability in the world of American higher education, the possibility of obtaining a college degree is not out of the question for most Americans. For many in the world, however, education is far from a “given;” millions of children in developing nations never see the inside of an elementary school classroom and the concept of achieving any level of postsecondary education seems as likely as sprouting wings and flying to the moon.
Bob Zemsky, co-author of Remaking the American University: Market-Smart and Mission-Centered led a session for Presidents and Trustees of colleges and universities at the 2007 Higher Learning Commission annual meeting in Chicago. At the time, he was a member and participant on the Spellings Commission and he provided the audience with an update on the Commission’s findings from his perspective.
Paul Jansen and Debby Bielak, consultants at McKinsey & Company, published an article in the June 2008 Business Officer publication of NACUBO which summarizes the five key trends in higher education. In conducting their research, McKinsey engaged with institutions affiliated with the Forum for the Future of Higher Education in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The authors maintain that the five trends have the potential to be disrupters that could affect the status quo at many institutions.
American Public University System has focused on assessment and learning outcomes since 2004. Dr. Jennifer Stephens, our Dean of Assessment, publishes our learning outcomes on the web at http://www.apus.edu/learning-outcomes-assessment. We are committed to continuous improvement and making sure that we are providing online programs that match our students’ needs. I asked Dr. Stephens to provide me with a guest blog article summarizing the trends in accountability and our participation in the Transparency by Design initiative.
One of the more stimulating conversations occurred during the recent Chronicle’s Executive Leadership Forum. “Will Your College Close in 2012: Surviving the Demographic Shift” was the topic and it was moderated by Travis Reindl, Program Director of Jobs for the Future. In the future, “fewer applicants will be white and fewer will be from New England” were the lead issues for comment from the panelists who included Sarita Brown, President of Excelencia in Education, Roger Goodman, Vice President at Moody’s Investor Services, and Dawn Terkla, Associate Provost at Tufts University.