A former University of Virginia associate dean, Nicole Eramo, received a favorable verdict from a federal jury in her defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone magazine. A 2014 article entitled A Rape on Campus stated that university administrators did little to help women who were sexually assaulted. It was published at a time when colleges around the U.S.
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.
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.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.