By Josh Fischman and Benjamin Pokross
Open channels of communication, along with concrete ways of appreciating employees and helping them balance work and home, are hallmarks of great academic workplaces. At colleges, such policies have become more important as a slow national economy delays or shrinks raises, according to The Chronicle’s 2012 “Great Colleges to Work For” survey, which identifies 103 outstanding institutions across the country.
At the same time, the report reveals that academe still struggles to find ways to show respect for employees. In that category—one of 12 areas measured by the survey—even colleges that did well got lower ratings from their employees than did colleges recognized in other areas, such as providing a good teaching environment.
By Audrey Williams
Academe needs a new model for the professoriate that better supports the growing number of instructors who are off the tenure track, the participants in a national project about the changing faculty have concluded.
The participants, who represent a cross-section of academe and its stakeholders, also said in a report being released this week that they need to align to gather data that will paint a clearer picture of higher education’s increasing reliance on contingent faculty.
A key reason for those two strategies to improve the jobs of contingent faculty members is that their poor working conditions may harm student learning, says the report, a “working document” produced by the Delphi Project on the Changing Faculty and Student Success.
The 49-page document, in part, details the challenges linked to the rising number of contingent faculty, who now make up about 70 percent of all instructors at the nation’s colleges and universities. But data that quantify the effects of this shift in the make-up of the faculty and the issues it creates aren’t readily available, the report says. Without hard numbers, campus policy makers may be unaware of the extent of the challenges they face.
- Adjunct survey paints bleak portrait (insidehighered.com)
- Freelance, part-time or fixed-term: Is this the future of academic careers? (guardian.co.uk)
- AAUP Proposes Giving Contingent Faculty a Bigger Role in College Governance (chronicle.com)
By Nachamma Sockalingam
Understanding learner needs is essential for providing quality education. One approach for accomplishing this is through the use of student evaluations. A common argument against the use of student evaluations is that students do not know their own needs. However, many studies have shown student feedback/suggestions to be reliable and valid. If we do not even attempt to understand their needs, we may fail to recognize the support they require to be successful.
To understand what adult learners need from their instructors, 2,719 students at a Singapore university were asked what their instructors could improve on as part of the end-of-course evaluation. The students’ suggestions were then filtered, analyzed and organized across seven categorizes, loosely reflecting the seven principles of good teaching outlined by Chickering and Gamson (1987).
- Essay urging a new option for faculty on course evaluations (insidehighered.com)
By Vicky Phillips
Online learning degrees are all the rage – even the Ivy League schools are offering them – but do they honestly live up to all the media hype?
There are some things about online learning that make students want to throw their computers out the window
At GetEducated.com we’ve collected over 1,000 online university reviews from real students taking online classes and the watchful public at large. A recent analysis of all of the 1,000+ reviews reveals that not all online learning degrees are alike.
In fact, there are a couple of real skunkers. Read what real students gripe about when it comes to their online learning experiences.
From Russ Poulin, WCET
This report describes patterns of continuity and change over time in four areas of the transition to adulthood among young adults as measured 2 years after their senior year of high school. The four areas are postsecondary enrollment, labor force roles, family formation, and civic engagement. The analysis population is spring-term high school seniors in 1972, 1980, 1992, and 2004.
• Overall, the percentage of young adults enrolled in postsecondary courses 2 years after their senior year of high school was higher in 2006 (62 percent) than it was in 1974 (40 percent).
• When comparing the postsecondary experiences of high school seniors in spring 1972 with those in spring 2004, the percentage of those who had ever enrolled in a postsecondary institution within 2 years of their scheduled high school graduation was 63 percent in 1974 and 78 percent in 2006.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
By Leila Meyer
Hybrid teaching methods that combine interactive online learning with limited classroom teaching produce equivalent learning outcomes to traditional classroom teaching methods, according to new research released recently.
The report, Interactive Learning Online at Public Universities: Evidence from Randomized Trials, found that when students completed an introductory-level statistics course using an ILO system, along with one hour each week of classroom instruction, their scores on a standardized test of statistical literacy (CAOS) administered before and after the course showed equivalent gains to scores from students who completed the same course through traditional classroom teaching methods only.
New Americans in Postsecondary Education: A Profile of Immigrant and Second-Generation American Undergraduates
From Russ Poulin, WCET
A new NCES Statistics in Brief, “New Americans in Postsecondary Education: A Profile of Immigrant and Second-Generation American Undergraduates”, presents data from the 2007–08 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study about the characteristics and experiences of 2007–08 undergraduates who immigrated to the United States or are second-generation Americans. The analysis points to differences in educational pursuit and attainment for these two groups compared to all undergraduates and American undergraduates whose parents were born in the United States. SourceL National Center for Education Statistics Digest; WICHE Policy Unit.
By Paul Fain
A U.S. Senate committee released an unflattering report on the for-profit college sector on Sunday, concluding a two-year investigation led by Sen. Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat. While the report is ambitious in scope, and scathingly critical on many points, it appears unlikely to lead to a substantial legislative crackdown on the industry — at least not during this election year.
Issued by staff from the Democratic majority of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, the report follows six congressional hearings, three previous reports and broad document requests. The final result is voluminous, weighing in at 249 pages and accompanied by in-depth profiles of 30 for-profits. It questions whether federal investment through aid and loans is worthwhile in many of the examined colleges.
The investigation found that large numbers of students at for-profits fail to earn credentials, citing a 64 percent dropout rate in associate degree programs, for example. It also links those high dropout rates to the relatively small amount of money for-profits spend on instruction.
Response of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities: http://www.career.org/iMISPublic/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home&CONTENTID=25566&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm
By Jamaal Abdul-Alim
Although a college education has increasingly become the sole path into the shrunken middle class, social stratification within the world of higher education threatens to undermine the American Dream.
That was one of the major points that economist Anthony Carnevale made during a presentation Monday at the annual at the 2012 NCCEP/GEAR UP Conference.
“Our post-secondary system has become highly segregated by class, by race and by ethnicity,” Carnevale, director of the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, said during a workshop titled, “The Growing Importance of Higher Education, Attaining Middle Class Earnings, and the Increasing Stratification of Access.”
- Has Higher Education Become an Engine of Inequality? (hollymccracken.wordpress.com)
From the American Council on Education
A fair number of misperceptions about higher education frequently seem to pop up—and linger—in the national discourse. In this issue, experts from inside and outside higher education shine a spotlight on 10 of the most persistent myths, with the goal of dispelling them once and for all.
- Game Changers in Education: A New, Free E-Book (educause.edu)