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Policy Perspectives

November 1996
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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"
April 1996
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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"
February 1996
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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.