A hand-picked (lovingly) collection of news, reports,  and essays of interest to leaders in higher education by Keith Hampson, PhD. 

photo-1474776707116-d2ab67d97547Impact and Nonimpact of Online Competition

A summary by Inside Higher Ed of a useful paper by David J. Deming, Michael Lovenheim and Richard W. Patterson (Summary). The original paper is available here (requires sign-in).
The paper finds the growth of fully online degree programs has led to increased spending and falling enrollments at some place-based colleges but had little impact on tuition rates.
“In a well-functioning marketplace, the new availability of a cost-saving technology should increase efficiency, because colleges compete with each other to provide the highest-quality education at the lowest price,” the paper, which has not yet been peer reviewed, reads. “Nonselective public institutions in less dense areas either are local monopoly providers of education or have considerable market power. Online education has the potential to disrupt these local monopolies by introducing competition from alternative providers that do not require students to leave home to attend.”
The researchers, who are based at Cornell University, the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the United States Military Academy, used data collected by the federal government’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System to track enrollment, revenue, expenditure and tuition trends between 2000-2013 — before and after the rule change. They used the data to test three predictions: that competition from more fully online programs would lower tuition rates for face-to-face programs, lead to increased spending on instruction and student support services, and drive down enrollment in areas with low competition between colleges.
The data only provided support for two of those predictions. For one, colleges located in areas with low competition were more likely than others to experience a decline in enrollment. The finding was only statistically significant for less selective private institutions, which saw enrollment declines following the 2006 rule change. Instructional spending also increased at public institutions, though the trend began before the rule change — perhaps because the colleges were anticipating increased competition from online programs, the paper suggests.”
Read the full review of the paper here. The original paper can be found here (sign-in required).

Over Exposed: Where are the International Students?

By David Morris
“To that end, I have compiled data from HESA for the 2014-15 academic year to look at which institutions might be most vulnerable to Theresa May’s challenge to create a business model without international student recruitment. I have also compared the numbers of international students with the results of the EU referendum, to try and establish whether areas that voted to Leave have high numbers of student immigrants that may be causing anxiety in those communities.
Where in the UK are international students?
International students are spread across the UK. Northern Ireland has much lower numbers as a proportion than England, Scotland and Wales. International students are roughly evenly split between undergraduates and postgraduates, meaning that postgraduate courses are far more reliant on international students as a proportion of their total.”

Read the full post here.

Note: WonkHE has followed up the above article with “International Recruitment and TEF: Modelling the Amber Warnings. Available here.

NCAA Confirms Escort Allegations at Louisville

To those outside of the USA, the behaviour of big-league NCAA (college/university) athletics is almost “Trumpesque” in its idiocy and its obvious disconnect from the mission of higher education. This story concerns the use of “escorts” at the University of Louisville for the basketball team. This sort of activity has been going on for years. A former coach of mine was recruited by a SEC university in the 1970s. During his visit to the campus, he was asked to select from a list of available escorts – photos included. (Incidentally, he chose to study in Canada and later earned a Rhodes Scholarship.)
“Last year, Louisville’s supporters scoffed at charges. Now NCAA has confirmed them and the university is objecting to the association’s finding that powerful head coach failed to monitor his program. The coach is invoking 9/11.
The University of Louisville committed four major National Collegiate Athletic Association violations when a former men’s basketball assistant paid an escort service to provide strip shows and sex for recruits and other players, the NCAA stated in a notice of allegations sent to the university Thursday. The Level I violations charge the program’s head coach, Rick Pitino, with “failure to monitor” his employee, a serious allegation that could result in a suspension for the coach.”

Read the article here. 

Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology

An annual report – more useful than most. The highlights are available here. Highlights. The full report can be found here (requires submitting your email address, name, etc.): Full Report.
“Most faculty members say data-driven assessments and accountability efforts aren’t helping them improve the quality of teaching and learning at their colleges and universities, according to the 2016 Inside Higher Ed Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology. Instead, instructors and a large share of academic technology administrators say the efforts are mainly designed to satisfy accreditors and politicians — not to increase degree completion rates.
It has been another tumultuous year in educational technology. The past 12 months have seen new ways to deliver education and course materialsnew start-upspromising to revolutionize teaching and research, and new questions about the role of technology in and outside the classroom.”

Professionalization and the Skillz to Pay the Bills

by Dr Aimee Morrison
A long-overdue rant about the tendency of academics to conduct themselves in an unprofessional manner; failing to learn basic technical skills found in virtually every other work setting, etc. Humorous, but important, too.
“Last week, I was ranting on Facebook about the number of students who won’t check their emails at all (YOU ARE ALL GOING TO FLUNK OUT BECAUSE THAT’S WHERE WE SEND DEADLINES), who won’t use their university accounts (FORWARD TO YOUR GMAIL IF YOU WANT BUT THIS IS A WORKPLACE), or who just never attach their names to their emails so that everytime I want to email them, I have to actually look through the university directory. Or they email me, and I have to reverse lookup the email address to figure out the name of the student.”
. . .
“My sister works in the private sector. She wears real pants to work every day, uses a corporate intranet, meets deadlines, writes professional emails, uses spreadsheets, runs meetings. She has no patience at all for the life of the mind I describe to her, where everyone habitually misses deadlines, no one is trained on the main parts of their jobs, no one knows the org chart or the policies or the paperwork. Use a spreadsheet. Add. Their. Names. To. Their. Emails. And it is ridiculous, really.”

Student Debt and the Class of 2015

By the Institute for College Access and Success

The average student loan debt has surpassed $30K in the US. Might be worth cross-referencing this report with the one the above (see “Impact and Nonimpact of Online Competition”) which notes the limited impact of costs by online education, to date.

“Student debt for college grads is on the rise, according to the latest figures from The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS). The nonprofit released its eleventh annual report on the student loan debt of recent graduates from four-year colleges. The report includes national, state and college data on student debt from federal and private loans.”
Read the full report here.

This Week’s Worthwhile Diversion

I Used to be a Human Being

An endless bombardment of news and gossip and images has rendered us manic information addicts. It broke me. It might break you, too.
By Andrew Sullivan

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