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Bipartisan Group of Senators Announces Report on Simplifying Federal Regulations for America’s 6,000 Colleges and Universities

February 26, 2015 Comments off

Bipartisan Group of Senators Announces Report on Simplifying Federal Regulations for America’s 6,000 Colleges and Universities
Source: U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

A bipartisan group of senators on the Senate education committee, Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), today announced a report detailing ways Congress and the Department of Education could streamline and reduce federal regulations for America’s 6,000 colleges and universities, while protecting students and taxpayers. Chairman Alexander also announced a hearing to discuss the findings of the report on February 24.

“The stack of federal regulations on colleges and universities today, which stretches as tall as I am, is simply the piling up of well-intentioned laws and regulations, done without anyone first weeding the garden,” said Senate education committee Chairman Alexander. “This report will guide our efforts to weed the garden and allow colleges to spend more of their time and money educating students, instead of filling out mountains of paperwork. I thank the members of the task force, Chancellors Zeppos and Kirwan, and the American Council on Education for their hard work on this report—and I look forward to discussing their findings in our committee.”

See also: Full Committee Hearing – Recalibrating Regulation of Colleges and Universities: A Report from the Task Force on Government Regulation of Higher Education

U.S. Postsecondary Faculty in 2015; Diversity In People, Goals And Methods, But Focused On Students

February 25, 2015 Comments off

U.S. Postsecondary Faculty in 2015; Diversity In People, Goals And Methods, But Focused On Students (PDF)
Source: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Our work aimed to fill important gaps in the knowledge by developing a greater understanding of postsecondary faculty, and their attitudes and beliefs as they affect pedagogical choices and impact student outcomes. We believe this is crucial, as faculty are the key interface between the system and students, often the first to see student needs, and in any event, are crucial in developing and adopting approaches to meet these needs. At the same time, U.S postsecondary faculty are diverse personally, both within and across institutions. Consequently, while many conjectures and hypotheses exist with respect to faculty goals, objectives, and behaviors, there is not a systematic understanding of how these may differ across the professoriate, and how any differences affect the faculty behaviors which most affect student outcomes.

The investigation focused on both the intrinsic and extrinsic motivational factors associated with perceptions of education held by postsecondary faculty in the United States. The research illuminates how different internal and external factors (motivational, behavioral, contextual enablers/barriers, values, beliefs, and demographics) come together to influence faculty members’ willingness to learn about new pedagogies, incorporate new ideas in their work, and spread new ideas regarding teaching and learning to peers and campus leaders

A New College Compact: Addressing the Cost & Quality Crisis in Higher Ed

February 24, 2015 Comments off

A New College Compact: Addressing the Cost & Quality Crisis in Higher Ed
Source: Third Way

For decades, Washington has focused almost exclusively on defraying the cost of college for families as tuition sticker prices have increased. But the time has come for a new national conversation to address the far more serious and fundamental problem: how to significantly increase the quality of college education while lowering the actual cost.

Take the 1.2 million students who will begin a four-year college in 2015. Based on current statistics, only 39% will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in four years, with 41% failing to graduate in six. Forty-four percent will not find work that requires a four-year degree, 25% will graduate with over $30,000 in debt, and a shocking 36% will demonstrate no meaningful gains in critical thinking.

Enmeshed in these dismal outcomes is the federal government, which, as one of the principal payers of college tuition, could have immense and unique leverage over postsecondary education. It controls access to valuable data and oversees the accreditation process, funds significant university research, and administers a massive loan and grant infrastructure. In fact, the federal government spends around $126 billion per year on undergraduate student aid, contributing 69% of total state, local, federal, and private aid.*4 But Washington has neglected to use that leverage.

From Hard Times to Better Times: College Majors, Unemployment, and Earnings

February 23, 2015 Comments off

From Hard Times to Better Times: College Majors, Unemployment, and Earnings
Source: Center on Education and the Workforce, Georgetown University
From press release (PDF):

The job market for recent college graduates has continued to improve but individual graduates’ chances of finding a job depends on their major, according to a new report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. The report is the third in a series of reports published by the Center that analyze unemployment rates for recent college graduates by major. The newest edition, Hard Times to Better Times, also analyzes changes in unemployment rates and annual wages for recent college graduates since 2009.

The report finds that college remains very much worth the cost in the post-recession economy for most students: unemployment rates declined for recent graduates in most majors. Recent college graduates are more likely to be employed than high school graduates in the middle of their careers in every major, with the exception of social sciences and architecture.

College graduates maintained their wage advantage over high school graduates in the post-recession economy, the report finds, though the size of the wage advantage depends on major: recent college graduates who majored in engineering earn 158 percent more than experienced high school graduates, while those who majored in education earn only 31 percent more than experienced high school graduates.

The report’s other major findings are:
• Unemployment rates for recent college graduates are the lowest for agriculture and natural resources majors (4.5%), physical sciences (5%), and education (5.1%). The majors with the highest unemployment rates are architecture (10.3%) and arts (9.5%).
• Recent college graduates who major in arts, psychology, and social work earn $31,000 per year, only $1,000 more than the average high school educated worker. By comparison, recent graduates who majored in engineering earn $57,000 per year, almost twice as much as the average high school graduate.

Systematic inequality and hierarchy in faculty hiring networks

February 23, 2015 Comments off

Systematic inequality and hierarchy in faculty hiring networks
Source: Science

The faculty job market plays a fundamental role in shaping research priorities, educational outcomes, and career trajectories among scientists and institutions. However, a quantitative understanding of faculty hiring as a system is lacking. Using a simple technique to extract the institutional prestige ranking that best explains an observed faculty hiring network—who hires whose graduates as faculty—we present and analyze comprehensive placement data on nearly 19,000 regular faculty in three disparate disciplines. Across disciplines, we find that faculty hiring follows a common and steeply hierarchical structure that reflects profound social inequality. Furthermore, doctoral prestige alone better predicts ultimate placement than a U.S. News & World Report rank, women generally place worse than men, and increased institutional prestige leads to increased faculty production, better faculty placement, and a more influential position within the discipline. These results advance our ability to quantify the influence of prestige in academia and shed new light on the academic system.

In-state tuition policies under the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act

February 23, 2015 Comments off

In-state tuition policies under the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act (PDF)
Source: Education Commission of the States

Ensuring access and affordability to a postsecondary education for veterans and their dependents has long been a focus of federal and state education policy. Developing policy to support educational attainment among these individuals has required state policymakers to address residency requirements for veterans to determine eligibility for in-state tuition benefits. Yet recent revisions to federal statute — changes that go into full effect in July 2015 — have shifted the policy landscape in a significant and meaningful way.

Beginning July 1, 2015, the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act (Choice Act) requires that all public postsecondary institutions offer in-state tuition rates to qualified veterans and their dependents, regardless of state residency status. This ECS Policy Analysis provides state and postsecondary leaders with a review of the Choice Act requirements, key information on deadlines, considerations for evaluating state policy for compliance and examples of policy actions.

Legal Implications of Student-Based Relationships in Higher Education

February 17, 2015 Comments off

Legal Implications of Student-Based Relationships in Higher Education (PDF)
Source: Western Kentucky University

Many business entities have faced no liability in regards to customer-based crimes. However, colleges and universities are faced with the constant concern of liability in regards to “customer-based relationships” (its students). One would assume that the student themselves may be held liable for any personal damages they cause, but depending on the actions taken by the college or university, the university as a whole and its officials may be faced with tort liability. With this being said, university officials must be ever cognizant of the expectations of compliance within state and federal mandates. The Federal and State governments do grant immunity from liability when procedures are properly followed; however, the law does state that misunderstandings and absence of knowledge of protocol do not fall under the immunity from liability. With these standards for immunity, it is important that all university officials and employees be aware of compliance guidelines for various facets of student-based relationships in order to prevent liability.

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