On Topic

Perfecting the online university

Some classrooms will survive, but digital advancements will draw more students away from traditional higher ed

Online degrees are poised to shake up the academy, says Kevin Carey, director of educational policy at the New America Foundation. That they haven’t yet is not the fault of technology as much as it is the perceived value of a traditional college diploma. That document tells little more than the applicant attended classes at a particular institution. Carey says digital assessments and data gathering from a “University of Everywhere,” pioneered by projects such as edX and Coursera, will provide far more insight on a graduate’s potential for success.

Managing money during volatile times

Colleges and universities are still trying to find equilibrium in a volatile economy

In How the Financial Crisis and Great Recession Affected Higher Education, Jeffrey R. Brown, a finance professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and co-editor Caroline M. Hoxby, a Stanford economics professor, examine universities as complex economic organizations that operate in an intricate institutional and financial environment.

Toward more responsive campus mental health care

How improved awareness and intervention might prevent future tragedies

Aradhana Bela Sood's new book on the Virginia Tech massacre highlights what can be done to better treat people who are struggling emotionally. Sood, a senior professor for child mental health policy at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, says threat assessment and treating students quickly are keys.

Trying to answer the unanswerable

Worcester Polytechnic Institute President Laurie Leshin talks about the motivation of discovery

A self-described “space nerd,” Worcester Polytechnic Institute President Laurie Leshin brings an infectious sense of wonderment and discovery to almost everything she does. Leshin will share that enthusiasm as a keynote speaker at UBTech in June, discussing “How innovation is unleashed by asking unanswerable questions.”

Higher ed is a tough world, but it’s a world we made

Roger Williams’ president says higher ed deserves much of the criticism it gets.

People often go to college for the wrong reasons, with assumptions about how it’s going to benefit them, says Donald Farish, president of Roger Williams University. An outspoken proponent of access and affordability, Farish—who will speak at the new UBThrive program this June—says colleges and students need to be more realistic about what to expect.

Technology demands a delicate balance in higher ed

Purdue’s CIO and UBTech speaker discusses the tension between education and technology

Gerry McCartney embraces technology as much as he rejects it. As CIO of the Purdue University system, as well as vice president for information technology, he knows that bringing technology to teaching requires a delicate balance. While it can simplify some processes, it still can’t replace what he calls “the learning moment.”

Breaking away from higher ed's herd mentality

Focus on academic and extracurricular achievements may come at the expense of individualism and independent thinking

In 2008, former Yale professor William Deresiewicz's scathing essay on elite colleges and universities went viral, gaining more than 100,000 views in a matter of weeks. His book Excellent Sheep: Thinking for Yourself, Inventing Your Life, and Other Things the Ivy League Won’t Teach You continues the theme.

Helping women in higher education help themselves

Simmons College President Helen Drinan says there’s still a long way to go toward equality

Helen Drinan is nothing if not outspoken. The president of Simmons College is a strong advocate of women’s rights, diversity and equal opportunity. Coming from a corporate background where she often had to stand up for herself in a male-dominated environment, Drinan pulls no punches when pointing out higher education’s shortcomings.

Preparing for the ‘after’ life in higher ed

A new book argues that colleges don’t do enough to promote post-graduate success

When Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa published Academically Adrift in 2011, it exposed the shortcomings of undergraduate learning.

Jump-starting the liberal arts conversation

How liberal education helps reshape ourselves and society

Read just about any editorial page these days and you’ll see a familiar refrain: “Is a college degree still worth it?” Wesleyan University (Conn.) President Michael Roth argues that not only is it worth it, but that it is more important than ever.

Higher education admittedly faces many challenges over cost and access. Online instruction, certificate courses and skills-based learning offer fixes, but Roth says there is much more to higher education than just getting a job.

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