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Policy Perspectives

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"When Values Matter"
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This essay explores how competitive intercollegiate athletics affects both admission practices and the nature of academic community at private colleges and universities that practice selective admissions. As the competition intensifies for admission to these leading institutions, so too does the contention over how athletic ability should figure in the mix of factors that determine which students gain admission from a pool of highly capable and promising applicants. The subject of athletics has in fact become a focal point for a deeper set of uncertainties within the academy, including preeminently the question of what values these institutions seek to foster in their students and their learning communities. The essay argues that the missing element on many campuses has not been a discussion of athletics per se. What is missing is rather the articulation of institutional and educational values to provide a context for considering the role that athletics should play and the resources it should command. No one except the president can provide the leadership needed to begin these explorations. At the same time, no president can expect a productive result without the help of others, notably faculty and trustees. The essay argues that the decisions institutions begin to make on the basis of their own core values must ultimately become the subject of presidential discussions within athletic leagues, conferences, and national organizations. At stake is nothing less than the necessity of reaffirming—and in some cases, reintroducing—the positive values associated with participation in intercollegiate sports.

 

"Of Precept, Policy, and Practice"
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This essay describes a set of forces that have contributed to a division between the goals of public policy and of higher education institutions through the past three decades. It argues that higher education leaders and public officials have been co-dependent agents in a process that has transformed practices without redefining policy. The desire for prestige and market position often causes universities and colleges to pursue goals that differ from a state's rationale for supporting its public and private institutions. In seeking expanded sources of revenue to pursue new opportunities, universities and colleges have helped shift a greater share of the cost of higher education to students and their families, effectively raising the barriers of affordability for many.

The problem is that those with public responsibility, for the most part, lack an agreed-upon agenda, pursuing instead a variety of maintenance agendas that are themselves products of habit and history, and that accord the greatest funding to institutions and students who are most advantaged. The essay asks a series of questions to public officials and institutional leaders, the answers to which might help all parties determine how a state's policy environment can align more closely with the objectives of its higher education institutions.

 

"Who Owns Teaching?"
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"If one conceives of teaching as an outgrowth of an academic community, what kind of claim does that community hold on the teaching of individual faculty?" The answers to this question become more complex in a digital age that offers the means to reproduce and distribute intellectual content or expression of any kind. This essay derives from a national roundtable convened at Princeton University to consider how colleges and universities can build and sustain stronger communities centered around teaching.

"Who Owns Teaching" argues that while this activity remains central to the educational mission of universities and colleges, teaching often lacks a strong foundation as a subject of common engagement within the academy. The absence of a sustained and purposeful dialogue about teaching in most institutions allows the forces of commercial competition and public accountability to become the main drivers of educational quality. For-profit enterprise and public agencies have appropriated increasingly powerful roles in defining what teaching is, how to measure its success, and who should benefit from what is taught. Accompa nying the rise of commercial interests are growing challenges to the traditions of attribution, synthesis, and knowledge development that have informed the environment of open inquiry in college and university classrooms. The essay argues that colleges and universities need to build and sustain a more active community and culture of evidence around good teaching; define clear goals of what teaching seeks to achieve; and create consortial movements among higher education institutions to preserve fair use of information and ideas for purposes of teaching and learning.

 

"Who Owns Teaching?" - Exemplars: "Michigan State University"
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Under the leadership of President Peter McPherson and Provost Lou Anna Simon, Michigan State University has substantially increased its capacity for strategic innovation as a large, decentralized public research university with limited financial means. MSU systematically engages faculty, staff, and administrators in a mutual-interest approach to strategic innovation, working across organizational and hierarchical boundaries to achieve common purposes, in part through the agency of the Wharton-IRHE Executive Education program.

 

"Op. Cit."
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This essay, based on a national roundtable convened jointly by the Knight Collaborative, the Association of Research Libraries, and the National Humanities Alliance, is a companion piece to the March 1998 issue of Policy Perspectives, "To Publish and Perish." Like the earlier essay, "Op. Cit." concerns the academy s ability to sustain and develop a system of scholarly communication that makes individual contributions to the knowledge base broadly accessible for judgment both within and among academic disciplines. The essay focuses particularly on the concerns of scholars in the humanities and certain disciplines within the social sciences that have close affinities with the humanities. The societal tendency through the latter half of the twentieth century has been to value the practical advances in science, medicine, and technology over scholarship in such areas as literature, language, history, philosophy, politics, and art. Some fear that the very idiom of scientific research, with its emphasis on expediency of dissemination, may overshadow a more reflective model of scholarship in which publication is the result of an individual scholar's work to develop, extend, or refine the state of thinking in a particular subject.

The essay argues that scholars in the humanities and social sciences have a special opportunity—some would say a special obligation—to engage the broader public in the scholarly questions they pose and address. Exploring the possibilities of electronic publication offers one potential means of expanding the audience for work in these fields. The essay identifies several instances of scholarly projects and partnerships that hold the promise of bringing scholarly work in these fields to a wider audience through electronic publication. The essay also stresses the need for higher education institutions to educate scholars about copyright and related issues, and to consider new models for meeting the costs of scholarly communication and publication.

 

"Gender Intelligence"
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This essay is based on a Roundtable on the Opportunities for Women Higher Education, convened jointly by the American Association of University Women and the Knight Collaborative. "Gender Intelligence" examines factors that often impede the ability of women faculty members to experience the same opportunities and rewards as their male colleagues. While women make up nearly half of all higher education faculty in the ranks of instructor and assistant professor, women account for only 20 percent of full professors nationwide. The most formidable barriers that women encounter in the academy are in seeking promotion to the senior ranks and flourishing once they are there. The essay examines cultural forces that result in repeated, often unconscious devaluation of women faculty in their efforts to gain professional recognition and advancement. It calls on the leadership of institutions to develop a greater capacity to entertain conflict to hear the stories that delineate the experiences that men and women have in the course of a faculty career.

The essay's recommendation sketch the broad outlines of a cultural change that needs to occur throughout higher education. It calls on institutions to: recast the canonical picture of what it means to be on a successful career track; make leaders of those who understand the need for change; create productive venues for the telling and hearing of stories; systematically review institutional data comparing the professional experience of women and men; develop policies and programs that support faculty who seek a balance between the demands of career and family; and heighten the awareness of how the devaluation of women faculty persists in higher education.

 

"Gender Intelligence" - Exemplars: "Tusculum College"
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In the late 1980s, this liberal arts college faced a pattern of steady decline in student enrollment, campus morale, academic standards, financial support, and institutional reputation. Tusculum reversed this pattern by uniting faculty, administration, staff, and trustees in a process to renew the academic and financial vitality of the college by focusing on civic engagement as the foundation of a liberal arts education.

 

"Inside Out"
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What kinds of skills does higher education need to have—now and in the future? What strategies must higher education institutions pursue to produce and retain managers with the skills necessary to be effective? This essay, based on a roundtable convened jointly by the Knight Collaborative and the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), calls for a reconceptualization of the skills and experience required of higher education managers. At a time when new knowledge, new technologies, new markets, and new demands for service and accountability are reshaping higher education, colleges and universities are clinging to a parochial set of notions about the job descriptions and skills needed by those who would lead and manage the enterprise. The essay argues that without a substantial departure from current practice and habits of mind within the academy, a formidable gap will develop between the level of managerial skill required in the future and what is actually at hand within many higher education institutions. While institutions often turn to outsourcing as a way to fill their own skills gap, an over-reliance on this approach allows an institution to avoid the redefining of managerial tasks and qualifications it needs to attract the talent it requires.

The essay's recommendations call on higher education institutions to: develop purposeful strategies for attracting and retaining skilled managers, including those whose training and backgrounds fall outside of the traditional box; accord managers a license to take risks and reward those whose successful innovations advance institutional goals; and rethink internal career paths—trapping no one, but at the same time holding every manager truly accountable for the meeting of institutional goals. The essay recommends that institutions be cautious in outsourcing strategic decisions, keeping in mind that as more of the important and rewarding work takes place outside a given organization it becomes a fundamentally less interesting place for creative people to work.

 

"Disputed Territories"
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Today, too many of the nation's colleges and universities simply proclaim the importance of civic engagement. Too few do much more than publish lists documenting their students' volunteer activities as evidence of a broader institutional investment in the public well-being. This essay addresses the need for higher education institutions to make education for civic engagement a more active component of their agendas. A number of indices suggest a declining rate of civic participation within the American population; the essay considers steps that universities and colleges could take to foster a greater propensity toward civic engagement in their graduates. The core recommendations are that higher education institutions should: (1) convene broad-ranging discussions of the meaning and importance of civic engagement in a democratic society; (2) develop curricular programs that actively impart an understanding of principles central to an inclusive, diverse democracy; (3) demonstrate a willingness to magnify those voices expressing views that could otherwise fail to be heard; (4) model responsible citizenship through their own processes of academic governance as well as through their engagement with immediate neighbors.

 

"Disputed Territories" - Exemplars: "Strategic Community Partnerships"
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Three colleges and a university, deeply rooted in their respective communities, recognize how closely their own futures are linked to the well-being of their surrounding regions. These four institutions—Franklin & Marshall College; Michigan State University; State University of New York, College at Geneseo; and Washington and Jefferson College—each engage in community partnerships to ensure the continued vitality of the community, the region, and the institution itself. The four institutions worked together in a Knight Collaborative Engagement on Strategic Community Partnerships to define principles of engagement and devise strategies appropriate to their particular circumstances.

 

"The Mission and the Medium"
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The force of emerging markets, spurred and enhanced by interactive technology, is creating new contexts for learning and new competitors in pursuit of higher education's traditional students. This essay examines the impact of these changes on higher education institutions. Technology is helping to blur the distinction between traditional, degree-based higher education, as symbolized in the academic gown, and programs of more focused certification in specific skills, symbolized in the merit badge. The challenge to traditional two- and four-year institutions is to remain true to their missions and core values while at the same time being responsive to changes in the market for higher education, which are driven in part by technology. New strategies are required to ensure that students continue to learn the value of an education that integrates the parts into a broader whole—preparing graduates both to succeed individually and serve as responsible citizens. Among other things, the essay calls on faculty to seek out the new learning tools technology makes available and pursue those innovations that hold the promise of improved learning and increased efficiency. It argues that the faculty role as disseminator of knowledge should increasingly give way to that of mentor and guide, helping students to integrate information from multiple sources into a coherent frame of meaning.

 

"The Mission and the Medium" - Exemplars: "Planning and Fundraising: From Bureaucratic to Strategic Management"
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As public funding bases dwindle and individual donors begin to identify themselves as investors as well as philanthropists, higher education institutions must increasingly seek out new ways to integrate academic planning, budget processes, and fundraising efforts. Seven institutions—Cleveland State University; Northern Arizona University; Pace University; Portland State University; Towson University; University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and University of Nevada, Las Vegas—participated in a Knight Collaborative Engagement on building more deliberate links between academic planning, budgeting, and fundraising.

 

"The Data Made Me Do It"
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This essay examines the ways in which higher education institutions use—or fail to use—data in making strategic decisions. It finds that while the culture of academia exhibits a strong appetite for data, higher education institutions too seldom make data the instruments of strategy in the fullest sense. The pervasive practice is to enlist data in narrow and parochial causes—to fight turf battles, impede change, or justify past and current actions at the unit or institutional level. Still lacking in most settings is the ability to draw data effectively into a process of responsible judgment and decision making within an institution—to make thoughtful use of data as a gauge of capacity and prospects. The essay features a strategy matrix to help academic leaders first identify and then sharpen an institution's understanding of the opportunities and challenges it faces. Finally, the essay calls upon the nation's higher education institutions to fund and maintain a mechanism for collecting paneled data on how well the system is serving the education needs of the nation as a whole. This database would not be for the purpose of comparing individual institutions; its focus would be on students and the Impact that their enrollment in higher education has on their learning and later experiences.

 

"The Data Made Me Do It" - Exemplars: "South Dakota Board of Regents Institutions"
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Working with its six public universities, the South Dakota Board of Regents built a set of financial and academic initiatives at the system level to improve educational quality, serve the state more effectively, and increase public trust in the capacity of these institutions to utilize resources to best advantage. The article focuses on the system-wide recasting of general education requirements as a key step in this process.

 

"The Third Imperative"
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This essay describes a change of orientation that has occurred since mid-century with regard to both the provision of federal student financial aid and federal funding of research conducted in higher education institutions. In many ways the earlier federal commitments to advancing the public good through policy mechanisms has given way to an increased reliance on markets as the principal means of achieving societal objectives. The essay explores the question of how higher education can preserve the academic values and processes that are its defining elements in an environment that is less inclined to confer special status to any kind of institution. The worst outcome of all, it says, would be for traditional institutions of higher education to continue with business as usual in the face of this changing environment. Previous Policy Perspectives have stressed the need for universities and colleges to be "mission centered" and "market smart." This essay adds a third imperative: the need for institutions to become more politically savvy. Higher education would do so in part by learning to speak in more of a single voice in Washington, and in part by a concerted effort to explain its values and purpose in terms that resonate more strongly in today's society and among its political leadership.

 

"The Third Imperative" - Exemplars: "Arizona State University"
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The Arizona Board of Regents had threatened to eliminate tenure in order to make its universities more accountable and more flexible in responding to new societal demands. Leaders at Arizona State University, working with regents as well as faculty members, forged a post-tenure review policy that addresses the concerns of all parties.

 

"Coming Around"
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This essay focuses on higher education in the state of Florida as part of a broader examination of the context for state and federal policy in an age increasingly dominated by market forces. Over the next decade, the size of the 18-to-24-year-old cohort in Florida is expected to increase by approximately 200,000; the growth of this population is likely to yield an additional 80,000 young men and women who will seek some form of postsecondary education. Like many states, Florida faces the challenge not just of increasing capacity but of improving the quality of undergraduate education its students receive. "Coming Around" stresses the need for public policy that brings about educational results that market forces in themselves cannot achieve. Among its recommendations are: the need for greater mission differentiation among institutions; the need for truth in pricing; the need to define learning outcomes and gauge the success of institutions in meeting those goals; the need for better coordination between the state's policy on higher education and the needs of the business community; and the need for public policy that considers Florida's independent institutions as an integral part of the state's system of higher education.

 

"Coming Around" - Exemplars: "Wheaton College"
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To overcome a long-standing division between faculty and administration over the issue of faculty salary, Wheaton College created a "profit-sharing" plan that adjusts faculty salary in relation to the institution's financial well-being.

 

"A Lens to the Enterprise"
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The transformations that have occurred in health care through the 1980s and 90s offer insights of several kinds to higher education. This essay draws a series of lessons from the experience of community-based medical schools and clinical campuses in the United States. These smaller settings are in many ways the liberal arts colleges of the medical landscape; in an age when research capacity and greater size confer competitive advantage, there are increasing challenges to maintaining a smaller learning environment that stresses education and service. Founded in the 1970s, these community-based medical schools and clinical campuses exemplify ways in which institutions of higher education can maintain vitality after a change occurs in the political and economic conditions that gave rise to their founding. Major lessons include: the need to resolve the dichotomy in a mission that includes a commitment to research as well as to teaching and clinical practice; the need to develop alternative conceptions of faculty roles, responsibilities, evaluation, and reward; and the need to develop strategic partnerships that help an institution to serve more effectively a local community or region, as well as an extended constituency.

 

"A Very Public Agenda"
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Based on a roundtable convened by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education in conjunction with the Knight Collaborative, this essay examines the changing relationship between the forces of markets and of public policy in shaping higher education. Policy was once considered a primary instrument for achieving public purposes through higher education. Yet, as the competition for public resources increases, the societal commitment that powered an earlier vision of broad access and choice has been subject to the same abridgment that produced welfare reform and made balancing budgets a top priority. What most often replaces public policy as a means of expressing public needs is simply the cumulative action of higher education markets. To be sure, these markets are heavily subsidized by public investment. Given this fact, the essay asks: How can public subsidy best ensure that the markets for postsecondary education yield the greatest possible fulfillment of the public good? Can the leverage that such public appropriations provide purchase educational attainment as well as institutional access? What public objectives require the explicit action of policy to achieve—and what objectives are best achieved through the workings of the market? How can public agencies devise and fund incentives that encourage institutions to be both market smart and mission centered? The essay makes several recommendations toward the fulfillment of a broadened conception of access—understood to mean not just matriculation but successful educational attainment.

 

"A Teachable Moment"
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This essay concerns the important role of the nation's universities and colleges in educating a citizenry that can understand and apply basic principles of science and technology. While the quality of undergraduate teaching in the natural sciences, mathematics, engineering, and technology has improved markedly in many settings through the past decade, considerable work remains to make these subjects less foreboding to many non-majors who seek a more general knowledge. The essay makes several recommendations for improving the quality of undergraduate teaching and learning in the scientific disciplines. These include developing a research base that documents best practices in science teaching; restating the mission of departments to stress the importance of educating not just majors but those who seek primarily a general knowledge of scientific subjects; developing more effective linkages and partnerships among two-year and four-year institutions as well as with K-12 institutions; fostering a stronger culture of teaching within departments; and taking more explicit steps to convey to the public the intellectual excitement and the societal benefits of scientific inquiry.

 

"A Teachable Moment" - Exemplars: "Babson College"
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Babson College’s traditional, lock-step undergraduate business curriculum was underpreparing graduates for a changing business environment; the college designed a coherent program that stresses interdisciplinary collaboration, better supports individual learning needs, and more explicitly links theory with field-based learning.

 

"A Teachable Moment" - Exemplars: "Eastern New Mexico University"
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To extend the benefits of its strong baccalaureate program to an underserved population of women in an urban region, Mount St. Mary’s College created an associate’s-level Alternative Access program. This program incorporated multicultural perspectives into its curriculum, combining academic rigor with the support systems necessary for young women to persist and succeed.

 

"A Teachable Moment" - Exemplars: "Mount St. Mary’s College"
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To extend the benefits of its strong baccalaureate program to an underserved population of women in an urban region, Mount St. Mary’s College created an associate’s-level Alternative Access program. This program incorporated multicultural perspectives into its curriculum, combining academic rigor with the support systems necessary for young women to persist and succeed.

 

"To Publish and Perish"
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This Policy Perspectives is about the challenge of maintaining access to significant research and scholarship at a time when both the volume and price of information have increased nearly three-fold in the last decade alone. The underlying issue is the disjunction between the sociology and the economics of academic publication itself—the processes through which the research community disseminates knowledge and judges the quality of work produced by its members. The essay contrasts the expectation of an open exchange of information within the academy to the pricing and copyright practices of commercial publishers that control many of the major scholarly publishing venues. "To Publish and Perish" recommends several initiatives for decreasing the control that commercial publishers exert over academic publishing, including a strengthening of linkages among library consortia to help shape the market for published materials; helping faculty of institutions to understand what is at stake in signing away their intellectual property rights to publishers; investing in electronic forms of scholarly communication; and decoupling publication and faculty evaluation for the purposes of promotion and tenure. This essay was based on a special roundtable hosted by Johns Hopkins University and convened jointly by the Association of Research Libraries, the Association of American Universities, and the Pew Higher Education Roundtable.

 

"A Promise Worth Keeping"
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Demographic and economic changes in California over the past 30 years foretell many of the issues confronting other states and higher education institutions throughout the United States. This essay focuses on the challenges of that state to sustain quality and meet a growing demand for access to higher education. There is a need for policy decisions regarding how and to what extent the promise of access to a quality higher education can be sustained, as the number of traditional-aged and non-traditional learners continues to grow. This essay describes the context for policy and poses a set of questions that such policies must confront. It calls on higher education institutions to exhibit greater willingness to work collectively both within and across institutional boundaries, as well as to develop more effective partnerships with K-12 institutions to ensure that more students in the educational pipeline come to benefit from the social and economic acceleration that higher education provides.

 

"A Promise Worth Keeping": Exemplars# "Alverno College"
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To help students at this women’s college become effective citizens and lifelong learners, Alverno College refocused its liberal arts education on student learning through the integration of ability development and knowledge assessed through performance.

 

"A Promise Worth Keeping": Exemplars# "Portland State University"
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In the face of declining state revenues, Portland State University transformed its fragmented curriculum into one that meets the mission of an urban university by: undertaking administrative restructuring, reinventing the curriculum with an interdisciplinary focus, and initiating experiential learning programs that benefit both students and the community.

 

"A Promise Worth Keeping": Exemplars# "Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute"
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To reverse shortfalls in student learning and reduce a structural budget deficit of $25 million, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute made its educational experience more student-centered through the innovative use of technology in the classroom and the replacement of the lecture/lab/recitation format with smaller, interactive studio courses.

 

"Turning Point"
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Drawing from the "Return to St. Louis" discussions of November 1996, this essay charts the issues that higher education institutions continue to face, including the need to respond to the reshaping of conceptions by market forces of what should be taught and how, the need to contain the rising price of attaining a higher education, and the need to revitalize and streamline academic governance. The essay proposes four steps by which institutions can act more decisively to meet these and other challenges: first, establish a basis of trust among members of a campus community through the sharing of institutional data and other means; second, link advocacy with reform to ensure that the values an institution professes to its external constituencies align with actions taken to bring about effective learning within; third, recast governance to avert the impediments to meaningful change that a handful of disaffected faculty can create; fourth, control costs by focusing on institutional strengths and becoming more efficient. The essay concludes by setting out the agenda for the new Knight Higher Education Collaborative for the next two years.

 

"Rumblings"
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This essay is based on a special national roundtable on the public and private finance of higher education, convened in partnership with the California Higher Education Policy Center. "Rumblings" traces a gradual shift in the sources and philosophy of higher education finance over the past 30 years. As public funds and initiatives have diminished, the market has increasingly come to take their place as the dominant shaper of postsecondary education in the United States. If in earlier times public support for higher education was considered an investment in the well-being of society, the new message is that the primary return on the investment in education is individual, rather than collective, and that those who benefit directly should assume the greatest share of the cost. The essay poses a series of policy questions and guiding principles to stir continued discussion of the classic questions concerning higher education finance: "Who pays?" "Who benefits?" "Who should pay?"

 

"Shared Purposes"
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This essay is about the ability of institutions to evoke the energy and loyalty of their faculties and to build faculty-administrative partnerships that yield an institution capable of effecting needed change through purposeful resolve, rather than through impulsive response and counter-attack. Bridging the gap that often exists between faculty and administration requires that each party understand and respect the different orientation that the other brings to the institution. Administrators and faculty must build a partnership that upholds the value of intellectual freedom, while at the same time responding to external demands that the institution become more accountable to public expectation. "Shared Purposes" derived from a special roundtable convened in September 1995 by the American Council on Education (ACE) in conjunction with the Pew Higher Education Roundtable, as part of the ACE Project on Leadership and Institutional Transformation, funded by The W. K. Kellogg Foundation.

 

"Double Agent"
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Based on a special roundtable convened by the Pew Higher Education Roundtable in conjunction with the American Association for Higher Education (AAHE), this essay explores the potential of the academic department to play the key role in reshaping higher education institutions. While the department has often epitomized those forces that impede the improvement of teaching and learning, the effective department in this conception is a double agent, working equally in the cause of its discipline and its institution, linking its membership to both venues. Rather than focusing on individual faculty members as the unit of reward, institutions should reward departments for successful performance in meeting institutional goals. Led by effective chairs, departments can be instrumental in fostering a greater commitment to teamwork, making successful teaching and learning a subject of collective dialogue and inquiry, and ensuring quality control.

 

"A Calling to Account"
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The changing environment for higher education has encouraged a growing number of administrators, trustees, and even some faculty to ask a new, "Who ought to be responsible for what? How can both the financial viability and academic independence of the institution best be preserved?" The essay argues for a closer, more effective working relationship among the three parties directly responsible for the governance and management of the institution: faculty, president, and trustees. This essay, which is about that complex partnership, grows out of a special roundtable convened jointly by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) and the Pew Higher Education Roundtable in December 1994.

 

"Twice Imagined"
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After surveying five broad societal changes and their effects on colleges and universities, the essay posits two versions of higher education's future—one in which institutions come to compete along a narrow set of reputational measures, and another, more promising future in which institutions come to pursue more distinctive educational missions while at the same time exhibiting a greater willingness to share resources and engage in partnerships with one another. Attaining the more hopeful future will require that institutions reinforce the sense of common purpose among themselves; that they move learning to the center of the teaching enterprise; and that they recast graduate education to ensure that new Ph.D.s have the opportunity to teach the kind of students they are likely to encounter in their faculty careers.

 

"Twice Imagined# Cases"
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After surveying five broad societal changes and their effects on colleges and universities, the essay posits two versions of higher education's future—one in which institutions come to compete along a narrow set of reputational measures, and another, more promising future in which institutions come to pursue more distinctive educational missions while at the same time exhibiting a greater willingness to share resources and engage in partnerships with one another. Attaining the more hopeful future will require that institutions reinforce the sense of common purpose among themselves; that they move learning to the center of the teaching enterprise; and that they recast graduate education to ensure that new Ph.D.s have the opportunity to teach the kind of students they are likely to encounter in their faculty careers.

 

"Cross Currents"
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It is the liberal arts college—residential, devoted to instruction in a broad curriculum of the arts and sciences, designed as a place of growth and experimentation for the young—that remains the mind's shorthand for an undergraduate education at its best. This issue explores the challenges facing these institutions, including new pressures on the ideals of campus community and the budgetary strain that results from increasing expenditures on student financial aid. Liberal arts colleges are urged to sustain their commitment to "teaching as conversation," to take the lead in rethinking the undergraduate curriculum, and to build truly collaborative networks among themselves.

 

"Cross Currents# Voices"
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It is the liberal arts college—residential, devoted to instruction in a broad curriculum of the arts and sciences, designed as a place of growth and experimentation for the young—that remains the mind's shorthand for an undergraduate education at its best. This issue explores the challenges facing these institutions, including new pressures on the ideals of campus community and the budgetary strain that results from increasing expenditures on student financial aid. Liberal arts colleges are urged to sustain their commitment to "teaching as conversation," to take the lead in rethinking the undergraduate curriculum, and to build truly collaborative networks among themselves.

 

"To Dance with Change"
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This issue describes three external forces affecting the circumstances of higher education institutions: a growing concern that higher education should provide its graduates with the means to secure employment; the potential of alternative, technology-based suppliers to capture part of higher education's traditional market; and an increased tendency among policymakers to let market forces rather than institutions define the public good. The essay calls on colleges and universities to perform tasks more efficiently with fewer personnel, to simplify the curriculum, and to make the academic department collectively responsible for the quality of its courses and programs.

 

Distillations: On Reversing the Ratchet
Robert Zemsky, William F. Massy, and Penney Oedel
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Insert from "To Dance With Change"

 

"An Uncertain Terrain"
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This essay draws on campus-based roundtable discussions at 30 institutions; the "terrain" to which this issue's title refers lies in the realm of reform and restructuring. The essay examines the forces that enable and impede change within institutions, and describes the responses of faculty to language that casts students as "consumers" of education. It also conveys faculty concerns that convoluted means of governance pose a threat to the quality of their institutions, as well as describes a pervasive sense of loss of scholarly community.

 

"A Transatlantic Dialogue"
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This issue derives from a special roundtable consisting of college and university leaders from western, eastern, and central Europe as well as the United States. It examines the proposition that societal demands and market forces are reshaping universities all over the world, and that a failure to understand external exigencies puts institutions of higher education at risk.

 

"A Transatlantic Dialogue# Voices"
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This issue derives from a special roundtable consisting of college and university leaders from western, eastern, and central Europe as well as the United States. It examines the proposition that societal demands and market forces are reshaping universities all over the world, and that a failure to understand external exigencies puts institutions of higher education at risk.

 

"A Call to Meeting"
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This issue suggests that the time for diagnosing the problems facing institutions of higher learning is past, and that educators and administrators must now begin to explore practical strategies for identifying their primary missions, reducing their budgets, and restructuring the delivery of their product. Some suggestions provided in this essay include: employing full-time faculty to teach core courses; simplifying curricula; instituting responsibility center budgeting; and contracting out for administrative functions where possible.

 

"Testimony from the Belly of the Whale"
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According to former Harvard Dean of Arts and Sciences Henry Rosovsky, tenured faculty tend to "make their own rules" without much regard for their obligations to the institutions that employ them. Taking Rosovsky's insight as a point of departure, this essay proposes several means of encouraging better faculty citizenship, such as establishing value frameworks within schools, discussing incentives and enforcement, investing department chairs with greater authority, and separating research and educational missions.

 

"Keeping the Promise"
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Critical points of discussion are recounted from a special meeting convened jointly by the Pew Higher Education Research Program and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. At a time when education is competing with other societal needs for scarce public resources, colleges and universities must, among other things, find ways of stemming the loss of institutional focus, develop appropriate measures of educational quality, rethink conditions of employment, and build stronger partnerships with K-12 schools. States should reward schools that adhere to appropriate missions and should consider the role of appropriations in offsetting tuition increases.

 

"Learning Slope"
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The growing tendency, both within the general public and among leaders of institutions, is to regard higher education as a service industry, whose product is educational outcomes. This issue of Policy Perspectives discusses the incentives that draw faculty away from mentorship and toward the more advanced aspects of their own fields. It contends that institutions and faculty are too often unfamiliar with students' needs, and that academic departments can bring leverage to bear on the task of conveying pride in performance.

 

"An End to Sanctuary"
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The stereotype of college as an elite enclave for young adults enjoying a respite before facing the rigors of "real" life obstructs meaningful discussion about the actual obligations of higher education institutions. This issue contends that the core purposes of education may be discovered by asking questions about what kind of product institutions of higher learning are expected to deliver and to whom, the role such institutions should play in their graduates' lives, and the responsibilities colleges and universities have in maintaining the social fabric of the nation.

 

"Not Good Enough"
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One factor in the diminishment of America's global economic position is a failure on the part of educational institutions to meet the needs of at-risk students. This essay argues that higher education institutions must develop more explicit partnerships with K-12 schools, and it notes that states, as primary funders, have enormous power to effect change.

 

The Other Side of the Mountain


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The public's concern over tuition increases that exceed the rate of inflation is little alleviated by institutions' claims that quality is costly. This issue describes approaches to cost reduction that have been implemented successfully by various public and private institutions. Strategies include planning in advance to work effectively with smaller staffs, involving faculty in the search for ways to pare down costs, and making use of available expertise via bottom-up management and top-down leadership.

 

Distillations: "Cost Containment: Commiitting to the New Economic Reality"
Robert Zemsky and William Massy
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Insert from "The Other Side of the Mountain" Volumn 3 Number 2, February 1991

 

"Back to Business"
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Faculty culture determines to a large extent the quality of teaching in an institution of higher learning. When research imperatives begin to eclipse a faculty's commitment to undergraduate instruction, colleges and universities suffer a decline in the quality of education they provide. This issue contends that it is time to reassert the primacy of educational missions and, in particular, the preparation of the future professoriate.

 

"The Lattice and the Ratchet"
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This issue proposes a diagnosis of institutional cost expansion over the last ten years, elucidating the trend by means of metaphors that describe the expansion of administrative support systems (the "lattice"), and the tendency for faculty's commitment as a group to institutional goals to decrease as their individual commitments to research and personal goals increase (the "ratchet").

 

"Stalled"
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Despite efforts over three decades and the expenditure of billions of dollars, economic and educational disadvantage remain linked. This issue of Policy Perspectives posits a national obligation to imagine ways in which both inclusiveness and quality may be enhanced, and it offers seven recommendations for recasting federal education policy. They include prioritizing the needs of traditional-aged students, retaining the voucher system of distributing federal student aid, establishing sustaining connections between four-year and community colleges, and addressing the flow of federal moneys into vocational schools.

 

"Breaking the Mold"
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Non-traditional students account for a growing proportion of higher education enrollment. While colleges and universities have made progress in marketing to older, ethnically diverse, and economically disadvantaged students, they tend to forget that different kinds of students may require different kinds of education.

 

"Double Trouble"
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This issue examines factors affecting cost within higher education institutions, as well as the widespread perception that tuition increases in recent years are the result of greed within institutions. The essay suggests that colleges and universities are well-advised to fix revenues at the beginning of their budget cycles, make choices among competing missions, and develop stronger trustee leadership.

 

"Business of the Business"
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It is often assumed that anyone who knows a subject well can teach it. But good teaching is not necessarily well-understood or rewarded, even within academe. This issue affirms the central importance of teaching and learning in institutions of higher education. Without advocating a "single definition of learning, teaching, or assessment," it proposes some means for improving higher education's primary mission.

 

"Out of Sorts"
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The American dream remains illusory for many, as long as racial and ethnic diversity in American institutions of higher education remains a "stalled promise." This issue considers the access gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students, and it proposes that solutions to the quandary may be advanced by public policy that rewards institutions for graduating and placing students, rather than merely enrolling them.

 

"Seeing Straight Through A Muddle"
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The inaugural issue of Policy Perspectives outlines three areas of focus for the Higher Education Research Program: the rising cost of higher education; the socioeconomic stratification of admissions and enrollment ("educational sorting"); and the quality and enhancement of teaching and learning.