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How to Think about College Commencement Speakers

BY BRIAN C. MITCHELL It’s graduation season. Sometime, hopefully before the end of the previous fall semester, those colleges and universities seeking a commencement speaker locked in the deal. It’s interesting to look at the wide variation in approaches to commencement spread across America’s colleges and universities. Some colleges have done away with a commencement…

The Call to Nationalize Private University Endowments

BY BRIAN C. MITCHELL Crain’s Chicago Weekly published a fascinating, head-scratching and troubling opinion piece recently by two professors from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northeastern Illinois University critical of the “wealth hoarding” of large private research institutions. They note: “In the past few weeks, as faculty at Chicago State University reviewed their…

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College Business Officers on the Future of Higher Education

BY BRIAN C. MITCHELL Earlier this month Inside Higher Education and Gallup cooperated to produce the third annual survey of college and university business officers on a range of “hot button” higher education topics. A total of 457 campus and system chief business and financial officers participated. The response from the for-profit community was weak…

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How Data Can Help Shape Higher Education Policy

BY BRIAN C. MITCHELL Much of the discussion about how to fix the broken higher education business model sounds a little like conversation about how best to squeeze blood out of a turnip. Where can the cuts occur? What can be delayed? What new programs can produce revenue quickly? These are legitimate questions. They represent…

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One Lesson From the 2016 Higher Ed Survey of Chief Academic Officers

BY BRIAN C. MITCHELL Inside Higher Education just released the 2016 Survey of College and University Chief Academic Officers, conducted by Gallup and answered by 539 chief academic officers and provosts. In several categories, the results are telling. In a nutshell, almost all respondents stressed the continuing importance of the liberal arts. Interestingly, most recognized…

The Transfer Problem: The Case for Private Colleges

In November, the Edvance Foundation released a report titled, “Strengthening the Transfer Pathway,” that identified opportunities for private colleges and universities to accept a much more robust stream of transfer students. Among the findings, the report noted that the transfer pathway is full of potholes. The directional signage is inconsistent and contradictory along this path.…

Strengthening the College Transfer Pathway

Higher education leaders have a major problem from which they cannot hide. The transfer pathway from community colleges to four-year colleges and universities is badly broken. And, it’s partly their fault. The facts are clear. Just 20 percent of first-time, full-time community college students seeking an associate degree earn one within three years. Only 35…

The Maine Higher Education Experiment: What’s the Real Lesson Here?

The University of Maine recently announced that it would start charging qualified students from Massachusetts the same tuition and fees that they would pay to attend the University of Massachusetts’ flagship campus at Amherst. For nonresidents, this represents a savings of about $15,000 off the comprehensive fee’s sticker price for Massachusetts residents. The offer also…