Monthly Archives: October 2013

It’s not just a HBU thing

Aaron Taylor has an article in Inside Higher Ed calling for historically black colleges to move to Division II. He makes some very good arguments. However, it’s worth noting that some of us think this argument goes beyond HBU programs and the the NCAA and the media have some obligation to creating meaningful competition and fan interest in schools beyond the big programs that make them the most money.

There is something worse than forgetting to attach the attachment

Yesterday, I found that I had typo on an online review sheet that led some students to read an extra chapter before an exam. Reading that an Iowa TA accidentally sent nude photos of herself to her class made me feel better about my mistake.

UT President Powers on our higher ed investment

University of Texas President Bill Powers has an op-ed piece (“Higher ed needs investment“) where he outlines the case for reviving the state’s investment in higher education. Powers concludes with a broad argument about who bears responsibility for making the most of an investment in higher education :

University administrations need to aggressively control higher education’s cost. But the responsibility for the cost of public higher education also rests with the public. Higher education affordability should be a nationally shared priority. State governments should begin making up lost ground by returning to their historical investment levels for higher education. It will help hold the line on the cost to students, and it’s the best investment of public dollars we can possibly make.

What Powers leaves out is the failure of state leaders to set real priorities and the rising costs of the increasing bureaucracy spawned in the hall state and federal bureaucracies. The very officials complaining about college costs have contributed to them in their posturing over pointless “accountability” programs that accomplish nothing except make universities hire more people who work with state bureaucrats rather than students.

Is Perry “Going After” UT-Austin?

New accusations that Rick Perry is trying to go after the University of Texas and President Bill Powers (“Willeford: Perry “Going After” UT-Austin, Powers“).

Perry probably has little real interest in going after UT. However, he has shown an inclination to tag along on some of the half-baked ideas spawned by Jeff Sandefer and other large donors. However, Perry is smart enough to avoid a public fight with the UT. He ditched Sandefer and this “reforms” every bit as quickly as he ditched mandatory HPV vaccines and the Trans-Texas Corridor.

Perry makes mistakes. He seldom repeats them.

Gallup poll on online education

A new Gallup poll (“In U.S., Online Education Rated Best for Value and Options“) that shows Americans have a mixed view on online education. This was evident from way the poll was reported by Insider Higher Ed (“Americans’ Views of Online Courses: Gallup survey finds majority of adults see online courses as equal to or better than classroom-based courses in several key ways“) and the Chronicle of Higher Education (“Traditional Education Beats Online in Key Areas, Opinion Poll Finds“).

The results were mixed:

Gallup Results

Americans saw online education providing more options and a better value than traditional schools.  At the same time, they have doubts about online education’s quality of instruction, reputation with employers, and reliability of testing and grading.

The demographics behind respondents’ preferences for getting college degrees versus getting job specific skills/knowledge. College-age Americans favored job skills by a wide margin as did 30 to 49-year olds (although by a smaller margin). That means our students and their parent agree on the value of job skills.


Just more evidence that we need to do a better job of promoting what we offer.

A Guide to Grade Complainers

“Ms. Mentor” has some great advice in an article (“Taming the Complainers – Do Your Job Better“) about how to deal with those students who complain about grades.


The Risks of Performance-Based Funding

There’s a an interesting discussion on performance-based funding in a article in the Chronicle of Higher Ed (“Trustees Hear About Risks of Performance-Based Support for Colleges“). Community college leaders are worried about  poorly designed incentives and  unintended consequences of such formulas.