Home Trends in Higher Education Higher Ed Insights: Week of Oct. 10, 2016
Higher Ed Insights: Week of Oct. 10, 2016

Higher Ed Insights: Week of Oct. 10, 2016


Wally BostonA recent Inside Higher Education article, Oberlin Expands Its Reach, noted that Oberlin College is willing to open its library to online students in a Pioneer Academics program, and grant them credit for completing college level courses requiring a 15-30 page research paper. Oberlin is remunerated for the use of its library and for the credit granting. I would be a bit reluctant to award credit to someone never attending my institution and am curious why Oberlin chose to do so.

In what appears to be a first for acknowledging the rights of affected students disciplined, the Department of Education said that Wesley College violated the due process rights of students accused of sexual misconduct. It has been my concern for some time that misconduct hearings on many college campuses have not allowed due process rights for the accused. It will be interesting to see if there are changes as a result of this ruling.

Final regulations linking federal college grants to the evaluations and success of teacher graduates were announced last week. There appear to be many more opposed, than in favor of, the implementation of these regulations. The administration has deferred to the states to determine the evaluation of teacher prep programs in their state-approved schools of education, but most will likely be rating public institutions. Because of post-graduation teacher performance ranking, it’s likely that these regulations will significantly reduce the opportunities for teacher education through online programs (with on-ground practicums).

A partnership between a public, two-year college and a public university in New Jersey has been criticized because of the exclusive nature of the relationship.  Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC) and Rowan University entered into a 3 + 1 partnership in which RCBC students majoring in certain programs are allowed to remain for a third year and will matriculate at Rowan University for their fourth  to earn an undergraduate degree. RCBC will not host transfer fairs or tables for other four-year universities. Some institutions interviewed believe that this limits choice for RCBC students. RCBC notes that they continue to offer 2 + 2 programs but that they advertised for 3 + 1 partners and that Rowan University was the only school that responded. In an era of declining enrollments, this type of structure makes sense and we’ll likely see more such arrangements.

Rich DeMillo, author and former dean at Georgia Tech, wrote about alternative credentialing (a.k.a. online master’s degrees and micro credentials) and how they complement traditional degrees. He notes how the online master’s in Computer Science offered at Georgia Tech in partnership with Udacity has expanded enrollment by 4,000 students studying from 80 countries and increased computer science master’s students at U.S. institutions. While I am not convinced that traditional (face-to-face) degrees are mandatory for all (there are many excellent online bachelor’s programs), I agree that micro credentials and online master’s degrees are excellent complements to both traditional and non-traditional programs.

Wally Boston Dr. Wallace E. Boston was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of American Public University System (APUS) and its parent company, American Public Education, Inc. (APEI) in July 2004. He joined APUS as its Executive Vice President in 2002. In September 2019, Dr. Boston retired as CEO of APEI and retired as APUS President in August 2020. Dr. Boston guided APUS through its successful initial accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association in 2006 and ten-year reaccreditation in 2011. In November 2007, he led APEI to an initial public offering on the NASDAQ Exchange. For four years from 2009 through 2012, APEI was ranked in Forbes' Top 10 list of America's Best Small Public Companies. During his tenure as president, APUS grew to over 85,000 students, 200 degree and certificate programs, and approximately 100,000 alumni. While serving as APEI CEO and APUS President, Dr. Boston was a board member of APEI, APUS, Hondros College of Nursing, and Fidelis, Inc. Dr. Boston was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity by the U.S. Secretary of Education in 2019. He also serves as a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), as a Trustee of The American College of Financial Services, as a member of the board of Our Community Salutes - USA, and as a member and chair of the board of New Horizons Worldwide. He has authored and co-authored papers on the topic of online post-secondary student retention, and is a frequent speaker on the impact of technology on higher education. Dr. Boston is a past Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of the McDonogh School, a private K-12 school in Baltimore. In his career prior to APEI and APUS, Dr. Boston served as either CFO, COO, or CEO of Meridian Healthcare, Manor Healthcare, Neighborcare Pharmacies, and Sun Healthcare Group. Dr. Boston is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, and Chartered Global Management Accountant. He earned an A.B. degree in History from Duke University, an MBA in Marketing and Accounting from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business Administration, and a Doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. In 2008, the Board of Trustees of APUS awarded him a Doctorate in Business Administration, honoris causa, and, in April 2017, also bestowed him with the title President Emeritus. In August 2020, the Board of Trustees of APUS appointed him Trustee Emeritus. In November 2020, the Board of Trustees announced that the APUS School of Business would be renamed the Dr. Wallace E Boston School of Business in recognition of Dr. Boston's service to the university. Dr. Boston lives with his family in Austin, Texas.


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