"The dominance of family, social, psychological, and cultural forces on a student’s decision to attend and remain at college should not be underestimated."

What Values Should a College Education Support?

BY BRIAN C. MITCHELL Tim Goral published an extremely interesting interview with former president of the Appalachian College Association, Alice Brown, in University Business last month. Ms. Brown’s comments reflected the wisdom of a professional who has served for 15 years leading a consortium of 35 private, liberal arts colleges in North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia,…

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Think Colleges are Liberal? The View from Shared Governance

BY BRIAN C. MITCHELL Governance is sometimes a messy business. On the national political level, for example, the intersection of ideology, political posturing, and the demands and inflexibility of competing interests within the two political parties and between the branches of government has led to the deep dysfunction that angers voters. College Campuses are Generally…

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Powerful Tool for Community College Transfers

BY BRIAN C. MITCHELL One of the most persistent problems facing American higher education is how best to create a seamless pathway among the various higher education sectors. This is especially problematic for community college students seeking to transfer to four-year colleges and universities. For them, the transfer pathway is a bumpy one full of…

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What’s Behind Drop in College Enrollments?

Reporting in “CNN Money,” Heather Long notes that college enrollments have been dropping since 2010. By the fall of 2014, there were more than 800,000 fewer students than in 2010. Ted Mitchell, US Under Secretary of Education, suggests: “Historically, as the economy improves and Americans get back to work, college enrollment declines.” Ms. Long notes…

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Access, Affordability & Survival in American Higher Education

The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) published its report on tuition and revenue trends last month. NACUBO surveyed 401 colleges and universities, including 305 smaller colleges, 57 comprehensive and doctoral universities, and 39 research institutions. It also compared this year’s results with previous data collection. The data show that American higher…

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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…