Bryan Alexander

Let me share some stories about higher education from this week.  These aren’t technology stories, not futuristic accounts.  Instead each anecdote illustrates the enormous financial pressures squeezing most of American colleges and universities.  None of them are unusually dramatic: no closures in this post, no queen sacrifices.  Just the steady ratcheting up towards crisis.

Item: the University of Massachusetts Boston told 400 adjuncts that they might not be rehired this fall.  That is about one third of the campus instructional staff, and more than half of the non-tenured faculty:

There are 1,271 total full- and part-time faculty, according to university officials. About 775 of those are nontenure track, about 400 of whom have received notices that they might not have jobs in the fall.

Note that this comes after fall classes are already on the books.  See, things are in flux:

Although many adjuncts have already been scheduled for classes…

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PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL–(Marketwired – May 10, 2016) –  Campus Technology Conference, an higher education technology event produced by LRP Conferences, LLC, an affiliate of LRP Publications, today announced Richard DeMillo, Ph.D., computer scientist, author, and executive director of the Center for 21st Century Universities at the Georgia Institute of Technology, will be the Opening Keynote presenter for the 23rd annual higher education technology event. Setting the tone for the four-day event being held Aug. 1 – 4, 2016 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, DeMillo’s presentation, A Revolution in Higher Education: Tales From Unlikely Allies, will explore the complex issues confronting contemporary institutions and how unexpected partners are working together to transform higher education.

Source: Campus Technology Reveals Dr. Richard DeMillo to Keynote 2016 Conference

MSR Selingo Demillo

Affordable access to quality higher education has been a cornerstone of American life since the nation’s founding. American higher education is admired around the world as a model of excellence and innovation, but there is a consensus today that higher education in the U.S. is not on a sustainable path. My books Abelard to Apple and Revolution in Higher Education (both from MIT Press) chronicled the events that led to the current state of affairs and describe an optimistic but much changed ecosystem for higher education.

There are no simple solutions to the problems plaguing colleges and universities. A small band of innovators has taken up the challenge, launched a revolution and has started to remake higher education. The result will be a new, more sustainable ecosystem. Technology holds the key to innovation in higher education. I want to describe the world that the innovators are building, using as examples the innovations like the ecosystem pioneered at Georgia Tech, powered by online education, unexpected partnerships, business reinvention and a willingness to disrupt the status quo. What will the University of the 21st Century Look like? It will be very different from the ones we attended.

Join Jeff Selingo, best-selling author of College (un)Bound and There Is Life After College for our on-stage discussion in Redmond at Microsoft Research of what the revolution is all about.

Video courtesy of Microsoft press here.

 

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This bearded fellow is Bryan Alexander, who runs a wonderful future-oriented blog about higher education.  Bryan has been conducting a read-along of Revolution in Higher Education. As he was approaching the last chapter, he sent me a note asking me to be interviewed on his new Future Trends Forum,   On February 16, I spent an intense hour with Bryan and a pile of viewers discussing topics ranging from access and affordability to the nature of innovation in colleges and universities.  It was an interesting (and not entirely accidental) contrast to a similar interview that Bryan had conducted a week before with Audrey Watters, who more or less savaged the very notion that higher education could be doing a better job.

An edited version of that interview along with Bryan’s notes is located here.  The YouTube video is embedded below.  I encourage you to follow Bryan’s entire FTF series.

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Josh Goodman from Harvard’s Kennedy School will be giving a seminar January 7 on Georgia Tech’s Online Masters Degree in Computer Science  at Stanford University’s Center for Education and Policy Analysis.

Tilte: Can MOOCs Increase Access to Education? Evidence from a Large New Computer Science Degree Program

Summary: Though MOOCs and online technology have generated excitement about their potential to increase access to education, most existing research has focused on comparisons of student performance across online and in-person formats. We provide the first evidence on the impact of online education on the amount of education pursued. Georgia Tech’s Online M.S. in Computer Science is the first model combining the inexpensive nature of MOOCs with a degree program from a highly-ranked institution, a price-quality pairing that has not been seen before. A regression discontinuity design around an admissions threshold shows that access to this low cost, high quality option substantially increases the amount of formal education pursued, with demand driven largely by mid-career Americans for whom in-person options are not appealing. Our estimates suggest that, by satisfying previously unmet demand for mid-career training, this single program will boost annual production of American computer science master’s degrees by eight percent.

SmartMoney's "payback" survey of 50 t

With the price of higher education rising much faster than inflation, many students and families find themselves struggling to pay for college, or looking for ways to reduce or offset the costs. Author and colleague Jeff Selingo is Visiting Scholar at Georgia Tech’s Center for 21st Century Universities.  Jeff and I recently sat down with Rick Clark to answer the question “Is College worth it?”This series of 14 videos is designed to help, with expert advice and creative ways for meeting this challenge, beginning with the question: “Is College Worth It?”

 

Videos available here.