Fixing Higher Education (11)

February 28, 2011

Yesterday, Daniel deVise of the Washington Post posted another submission –really another pair of submissions — in his fixing higher education series on the College Inc. blog.

One submission comes from Steve Glickman, Student Body President at the University of Maryland.  He offers eight quite varied suggestions.  One common thread is the need for better funding, from the federal government, from alumni.  He also calls for merit pay for professors (he doesn’t say what “merit” would consist in), reform of college athletics along the lines of the Knight Commission, and increased attention to K-12 education.  (The “Knight” in Knight Commission, by the way, comes from the Foundation that first supported the effort, not the coach who became a poster child for some things that are wrong with college sports.)

The other submission comes from Peg Miller, “executive editor of Change magazine and a scholar at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education.  I like her list of fixes so much I’ll just add it verbatim.  More constructive clarity in fewer words would be hard to accomplish:

1. To address students’ rising costs, colleges and universities should agree to not spend tuition or student-fee revenues on athletics.

2. To reduce the incentives for mission creep and competition for the “best” (i.e., the most privileged) students, colleges and universities should refuse to participate in ranking systems.

3. To improve teaching and learning, disciplinary societies should create sample learning goals, standards, rubrics, and assessment methods for their fields.

4. To reduce remediation, colleges should work with high schools on coordinating the Common Core Standards with their college-ready standards.

5. To meet the President’s attainment goals without compromising the quality of the college degree, colleges should assess student learning, use the results to improve instruction, and assess again–and make all results public.

6. To improve learning and lower the costs of “gateway” course, colleges should adopt the principles of course redesign promulgated by the National Center for Academic Transformation.

Notice she, too, goes after college athletics.  If only she had added a point about the evils of merit aid.

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About Doug Bennett

Doug Bennett is Emeritus President and Professor of Politics at Earlham College. He has a wife, Ellen, and two sons, Tommy (born 1984) and Robbie (born 2003).
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