Wednesday, March 27, 2013

New Report reiterates that state funding model for higher education is broken

Another report has concluded that the financial model for higher education is broken. The difference this time is that the report calls on both state lawmakers and campuses to share in the burden of fixing the problems.

See the report at: Improving Postsecondary Education Through the Budget Process: Challenges & Opportunities | NASBO

Friday, March 22, 2013

In Wisconsin, When Bargaining Is Illegal, We Bargain ‘Informally’ | Labor Notes

In Wisconsin, When Bargaining Is Illegal, We Bargain ‘Informally’ | Labor Notes

In Wisconsin, When Bargaining Is Illegal, We Bargain ‘Informally’

Lacking formal bargaining rights, the Milwaukee Graduate Assistants Association waged a campaign of escalating direct action in fall 2012, after a dean tried to cancel a benefit. Their "campaign of annoyance" was soon successful...
In Wisconsin, When Bargaining Is Illegal, We Bargain ‘Informally’ | Labor Notes

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Recent Deep State Higher Education Cuts May Harm Students and the Economy for Years to Come — Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

 Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

By Phil OliffVincent Palacios, Ingrid Johnson, and Michael Leachman
March 19, 2013

As states prepare their budgets for the coming year, they face the challenge of reinvesting in public higher education systems after years of damaging cuts — the product of both the economic downturn and states’ reluctance to raise additional revenues.   In the past five years, state cuts to higher education funding have been severe and almost universal...

Recent Deep State Higher Education Cuts May Harm Students and the Economy for Years to Come — Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

SUNY Signals Major Push Toward MOOCs and Other New Educational Models - Wired Campus - The Chronicle of Higher Education

SUNY Signals Major Push Toward MOOCs and Other New Educational Models - Wired Campus - The Chronicle of Higher Education

March 20, 2013, 4:55 am
By Steve Kolowich
The State University of New York’s Board of Trustees on Tuesday endorsed an ambitious vision for how SUNY might use prior-learning assessment, competency-based programs, and massive open online courses to help students finish their degrees in less time, for less money...

SUNY Signals Major Push Toward MOOCs and Other New Educational Models - Wired Campus - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Bold Move Toward MOOCs Sends Shock Waves, but Details Are Scarce - Government - The Chronicle of Higher Education

A Bold Move Toward MOOCs Sends Shock Waves, but Details Are Scarce - Government - The Chronicle of Higher Education

March 14, 2013
By Lee Gardner and Jeffrey R. Young

Supporters of newly proposed legislation in California hope to reduce the number of students shut out of key courses by forging an unprecedented partnership between traditional public colleges and online-education upstarts. But on Wednesday specific details of how the deal would work were hard to pin down...

A Bold Move Toward MOOCs Sends Shock Waves, but Details Are Scarce - Government - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

California bill to encourage MOOC credit at public colleges |

This could be the start of the wholesale contracting out of higher education on the west coast.

March 13, 2013 - 3:00am
Paul Fain and Ry Rivard

A powerful California lawmaker wants public college students who are shut out of popular courses to attend low-cost online alternatives – including those offered by for-profit companies – and he plans to encourage the state’s public institutions to grant credit for those classes...

California bill to encourage MOOC credit at public colleges read original article at Inside Higher Ed

Monday, March 11, 2013

Minimum gains in Faculty Pay in 2012

March 11, 2013 - 3:00am
Median salaries for tenure-track faculty members at four-year colleges and universities were up 2.1 percent in 2012 -- matching the rate of inflation for the year, according to a study being released today by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources...
Study finds minimal increases in average faculty salaries | Inside Higher Ed

Friday, March 8, 2013

How the Online Revolution in Higher Education Will Eliminate Faculty Jobs | Tikkun Magazine

The world of higher education seems poised to enter a period of stark change: the onset of mass online education. Awash with excitement over this development, too many pundits are failing to discuss the cultural and ecological problems that the Internet revolution exacerbates...
How the Online Revolution in Higher Education Will Eliminate Faculty Jobs | Tikkun Magazine

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Aid for Higher Education Declines as Costs Rise -

State and local financing for higher education declined 7 percent in fiscal 2012, to $81.2 billion, according to the annual report of the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, and per-student support dropped 9 percent from the previous year, to $5,896, in constant dollars, the lowest level in at least 25 years...
Aid for Higher Education Declines as Costs Rise -

Getting Down to the Reality of a $10,000 Bachelor's Degree

It's one of those YouTube clips that probably would have evaporated if it had featured anyone other than Bill Gates...
Original article at The Chronicle of Higher Education

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Professors’ Big Stage -

read it on
I just spent the last two days at a great conference convened by M.I.T. and Harvard on “Online Learning and the Future of Residential Education” — a k a “How can colleges charge $50,000 a year if my kid can learn it all free from massive open online courses?”
You may think this MOOCs revolution is hyped, but my driver in Boston disagrees. You see, I was picked up at Logan Airport by my old friend Michael Sandel, who teaches the famous Socratic, 1,000-student “Justice” course at Harvard, which is launching March 12 as the first humanities offering on the M.I.T.-Harvard edX online learning platform. When he met me at the airport I saw he was wearing some very colorful sneakers.
“Where did you get those?” I asked. Well, Sandel explained, he had recently been in South Korea, where his Justice course has been translated into Korean and shown on national television. It has made him such a popular figure there that the Koreans asked him to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a professional baseball game — and gave him the colored shoes to boot! Yes, a Harvard philosopher was asked to throw out the first pitch in Korea because so many fans enjoy the way he helps them think through big moral dilemmas.
Sandel had just lectured in Seoul in an outdoor amphitheater to 14,000 people, with audience participation. His online Justice lectures, with Chinese subtitles, have already had more than 20 million views on Chinese Web sites, which prompted The China Daily to note that “Sandel has the kind of popularity in China usually reserved for Hollywood movie stars and N.B.A. players.”
O.K., not every professor will develop a global following, but the MOOCs revolution, which will go through many growing pains, is here and is real. These were my key take-aways from the conference:
¶Institutions of higher learning must move, as the historian Walter Russell Mead puts it, from a model of “time served” to a model of “stuff learned.” Because increasingly the world does not care what you know. Everything is on Google. The world only cares, and will only pay for, what you can do with what you know. And therefore it will not pay for a C+ in chemistry, just because your state college considers that a passing grade and was willing to give you a diploma that says so. We’re moving to a more competency-based world where there will be less interest in how you acquired the competency — in an online course, at a four-year-college or in a company-administered class — and more demand to prove that you mastered the competency.
¶Therefore, we have to get beyond the current system of information and delivery — the professorial “sage on the stage” and students taking notes, followed by a superficial assessment, to one in which students are asked and empowered to master more basic material online at their own pace, and the classroom becomes a place where the application of that knowledge can be honed through lab experiments and discussions with the professor. There seemed to be a strong consensus that this “blended model” combining online lectures with a teacher-led classroom experience was the ideal. Last fall, San Jose State used the online lectures and interactive exercises of M.I.T.’s introductory online Circuits and Electronics course. Students would watch the M.I.T. lectures and do the exercises at home, and then come to class, where the first 15 minutes were reserved for questions and answers with the San Jose State professor, and the last 45 were devoted to problem solving and discussion. Preliminary numbers indicate that those passing the class went from nearly 60 percent to about 90 percent. And since this course was the first step to a degree in science and technology, it meant that many more students potentially moved on toward a degree and career in that field.
¶We demand that plumbers and kindergarten teachers be certified to do what they do, but there is no requirement that college professors know how to teach. No more. The world of MOOCs is creating a competition that will force every professor to improve his or her pedagogy or face an online competitor.
¶Bottom line: There is still huge value in the residential college experience and the teacher-student and student-student interactions it facilitates. But to thrive, universities will have to nurture even more of those unique experiences while blending in technology to improve education outcomes in measurable ways at lower costs. We still need more research on what works, but standing still is not an option.
Clayton Christensen, the Harvard Business School professor and expert on disruptive innovation, gave a compelling talk about how much today’s traditional university has in common with General Motors of the 1960s, just before Toyota used a technology breakthrough to come from nowhere and topple G.M. Christensen noted that Harvard Business School doesn’t teach entry-level accounting anymore, because there is a professor out at Brigham Young University whose online accounting course “is just so good” that Harvard students use that instead. When outstanding becomes so easily available, average is over.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Online Education May Make Top Colleges More Elite, Speakers Say - Technology - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Online Education May Make Top Colleges More Elite, Speakers Say - Technology - The Chronicle of Higher Education

By Steve Kolowich

Online education may have arrived at the upper echelons of higher education, but it's not going to make elite colleges any cheaper to attend.
Massive open online courses and other online tools, however, may change many aspects of top undergraduate campuses. That was the conclusion of a private summit, held here on Monday and sponsored by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, at which many of online education's heaviest hitters discussed the future of residential higher education, particularly at elite institutions, in a digital age.
After years of standing by while the online wave gathered momentum at lower-tier institutions, MIT and Harvard last year gave online education a $60-million bear hug by collaborating to found edX, a nonprofit MOOC provider that could also serve as a laboratory for studying the dynamics of virtual classrooms.
The universities made it clear then that they intended to use their MOOCs to improve, not supplant, traditional courses.
Monday's daylong conference, which was largely off the record except when permission was granted, featured many of the voices commonly associated with the current upheaval in higher education. They included Clayton M. Christensen, the Harvard Business School professor, who gave a crash course in his influential theory of "disruptive innovation"; and Salman Khan, the founder of Khan Academy, an online-lecture repository, who appeared, Oz-like, as a 12-foot-tall talking head projected on the wall above the stage.
Online tools that track how much students use certain course materials could give professors insight into how they should design their traditional courses, several panelists said.
Professors might be surprised by what the data tell them. Eric Mazur, a professor of physics at Harvard, drew murmurs from the crowd—which mostly consisted of Harvard and MIT faculty members—when he showed research indicating that students at a lecture have brain activity roughly equivalent to when they watch television.
Eric S. Rabkin, a professor of English at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, suggested that professors could direct students to learn the most basic material in a course at their own pace, via online modules. Professors could then use the time saved, he said, on the parts of the course that require more thoughtful, individual attention, such as giving feedback on long essays.
"Maybe we could have 100 people register for a seminar," Mr. Rabkin said. The students could work through the first 12 weeks independently and online, "and that teacher can finish the seminar five different times in the course of a 15-week semester, spending the last three weeks with each of those groups of 20."

Getting Their Money's Worth

Some attempts to use MOOCs to improve the experience of traditional students have not panned out. One panelist said early attempts at his university to foster interaction between learners in the traditional and MOOC versions of a course met with resistance from the tuition-paying students, who wanted a distinct experience for their money.
Those students may eventually come around, but the amount they are paying for a traditional college experience probably will not—at least not at top colleges. None of the institutions represented at the summit is likely to use any revenue or savings from the use of online tools to lower tuition, said one provost. No one at the session disagreed.
It's more likely that online tools will be used to increase value at the same price, said another provost. That means more seminars, more project-based courses, and more mentorship opportunities, he said.
That is a privileged position. William G. Bowen, the former president of Princeton University who has studied the efficiency of online tools, reminded the audience that they occupied "really rarefied air" in deciding how they might want to use online education.
But professors who are serious about reaching the masses online, he said, will have to think about innovation and design with a broader, more diverse audience in mind.
"I would humbly suggest that the kinds of assessment and standards and all the rest that I'm sure are appropriate at MIT and Harvard and so forth," Mr. Bowen said, "have very little relevance for the large parts of American higher education, particularly in the state systems, that are under genuine siege."

U. of Maryland Weighs Big Changes for Faculty Off the Tenure Track - Faculty - The Chronicle of Higher Education

U. of Maryland Weighs Big Changes for Faculty Off the Tenure Track 1
The U. of Maryland at College Park has some 3,000 non-tenure-track faculty members, including more than 700 part-time instructors and about 1,800 research faculty members, according to a report the campus's University Senate is scheduled to consider this week. The report calls for giving them more pay, job security, respect, and clout.

The University of Maryland at College Park is poised to embark on an unprecedented effort to improve the conditions of its faculty members who are off the tenure track.
The campus's University Senate, which represents faculty members, administrators, students, and staff members, is scheduled to vote on Wednesday on an internal task-force report that extensively documents the disparities between different categories of faculty members there and proposes sweeping changes intended to give non-tenure-track faculty members more pay, job security, respect, and clout.
A University Senate vote in favor of the report will not amount to an explicit endorsement of its recommendations, which include calls for the institution to give non-tenure-track faculty members new titles, pay them at levels commensurate with their tenure-track colleagues, shield them from extensive demands to perform work for which they are not compensated, and improve their prospects of obtaining long-term employment contracts.
However, should the University Senate approve the report, as is expected, the campus's administration, faculty members, and various shared-governance bodies will be obliged to seriously consider carrying out what the document proposes.
The report's findings, in themselves, break ground in terms of the detail and candor with which they describe how much the institution relies on non-tenure-track faculty members and how little many of them receive for their efforts.
For example, the report says that the campus's non-tenure-track faculty members are especially highly represented among the instructors in special programs geared toward the campus's best students, and are "significantly more likely to teach courses that require direct contact with students" and "much less likely to receive teaching support" from teaching assistants or other college personnel than are faculty members who are tenured or on the tenure track.
The process by which the campus's non-tenure-track faculty members are hired, the report says, varies by academic unit, creating "confusion and frustration for faculty and unit administrators alike." The semester-by-semester reappointment of many faculty members results in high administrative costs and unseen costs associated with such faculty members' "low morale and frustration."
Maria Maisto, president of the advocacy group New Faculty Majority, on Monday praised the Maryland report for gauging the views of the sorts of contingent faculty members represented by her organization. "Its ethos is really to recognize and respect the role of these faculty," she said.
Ms. Maisto added that she was especially pleased to see the report's effort to document the "hidden costs" colleges incur in relying on contingent faculty members. "People think," she said, "that contingency is a cost-saving device. This is exposing how expensive it is on so many levels."

Expecting Resistance

The task force that prepared the report was established early last year by the University Senate's executive committee and by Ann Wylie, who was then the College Park campus's provost. The panel's members studied policies and procedures both at their university and at peer institutions, engaged focus groups, and examined campus data dealing with teaching loads and research grants awarded to faculty members over the past four years. The panel surveyed administrators last July and faculty members last September, and examined who was teaching every active undergraduate course section offered on the campus last fall.
Marybeth Shea, a lecturer in English at College Park who has been working on the campus since 1987, described the report's findings as "sobering and stunning," and called the university's willingness to undertake such a self-examination "quite brave."
Mary Ann Rankin, who became the institution's provost in October, last week declined through her executive assistant to comment on the report until it had been more thoroughly vetted on the campus. Juan Uriagereka, College Park's associate provost for faculty affairs, said that the report "touches on the fundamental issues we all would like to address" but that some of its recommendations "are more realistic than others."
Devin H. Ellis, who represents non-tenure-track research faculty on the University Senate, predicted institutional resistance to some of the report's recommendations, such as a call for the university to change its academic title system and refer to all faculty members who are not tenured or tenure-track as either "professional faculty" or "professional-track faculty." The report argues that its recommendations "should not be seen as an attempt to undermine the tenure system."
Mr. Ellis, who is director of policy and research for a university program that uses role-playing simulations to teach international negotiating skills, said he expected the level of support for other recommendations to vary significantly by academic discipline because non-tenure-track faculty members in some disciplines fare much better than do those in others in terms of merit pay and other matters.
The University Senate's discussion of the report comes as the University System of Maryland, as a whole, works to carry out a set of policies intended to improve the conditions of adjunct faculty members and graduate assistants. Adopted by the system's Board of Regents in December 2010, the policies call for improvements in adjuncts' pay, job security, and employment rights, and are intended mainly to make the system's campuses more competitive with peer institutions.
The report being considered by the University Senate raises the bar by, for example, calling for the salaries of tenured and tenure-track faculty members to serve as the basis for comparison in determining whether those off the tenure track are adequately paid. "Enacting the recommendations presented here will establish the University of Maryland's leadership in creating a model for how a major research institution fully engages all members of its faculty regardless of their tenure status," the report says.
Likely to help the prospects that such recommendations will come to fruition is the additional clout non-tenure-track faculty members throughout the system gained as a result of last year's decision by its board to let them use union or other third-party representatives to voice their concerns to administrators.
Democratic state lawmakers responded by dropping a proposal to give full collective-bargaining rights to the system's adjuncts, graduate-student employees, and tenured and tenure-track faculty members. Such measures could come up again, however, if Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, and other members of his party see little improvement in the conditions of the system's non-tenure-track faculty members.

Major Players

The report slated for discussion at College Park says that, all told, the institution employs 3,000 non-tenure-track faculty members. Their ranks include more than 700 part-time instructors, about 1,800 research faculty members, and about 200 faculty members who fulfill service roles on or off the campus.
The university employs 1,600 tenured or tenure-track faculty members. They are delivering about the same number of academic credits they did 15 years ago, but the share of academic credits they offer has diminished as the institution turned to non-tenure-track faculty members, staff members, and teaching assistants to handle new course sections.
Among its key findings, the report says that non-tenure-track faculty members bring in nearly $100-million a year in research funds and play "a major role" in the university's service and outreach efforts. They hold just three designated seats on the University Senate, however, whereas tenured and tenure-track faculty members hold nearly 100.
Based on what part-time instructors earn per hour, nearly half of those working at College Park this semester would make less than $40,000 annually if employed there full time, the report says.
The task force's survey of faculty members found substantial levels of dissatisfaction over compensation, workload, access to funds for professional development, and criteria used by their superiors in weighing promotions and merit-pay increases. Many have little knowledge of their department's policies that affect them or of opportunities to participate in the university's shared governance.
The report says the task force's members extensively searched Web sites maintained by the university and its academic departments, and generally had great difficulty finding information that administrators said was available online.
Among its recommendations, the report calls for creating a new career track, with benchmarks for evaluation and promotion, for non-tenure-track faculty members who primarily teach. Noting that many such faculty members do additional work, such as advising students, for which they are not paid, it says administrators should compensate them for tasks beyond those specified in their contracts.