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"
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"
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"
Insert from "The Other Side of the Mountain" Volumn 3 Number 2, February 1991