Archive for March, 2012

Leading the Way: Women Making a Difference, Part I

By The Diverse Staff

We here at Diverse have been privileged to meet dynamic women in the world of higher education and beyond. They lead some of the most demanding and consequential organizations and programs on the planet. No longer sitting on the decision-making sidelines, they have shattered the glass ceiling and, subsequently, have introduced new ways of thinking about and approaching leadership.

As the editorial team sat down to plan the Women’s History Month edition for 2012, the team thought it would be appropriate to introduce a sampling of these women to all of our readers. This list is by no means exhaustive. Easily, the staff could have come up with 50 or 100 women whose accomplishments would merit inclusion in this group of extraordinary women. So trying to choose 25 was a major challenge, but we relished the opportunity to introduce these women to the readers who may not know these outstanding leaders in their respective fields.

This list represents a small sampling of what higher education professionals know to be true—when it comes to leadership, women are now taking on long-overdue roles. Diverse considers these women representative of the noteworthy traits and characteristics found throughout the academy and beyond. Their ranks will continue to grow and spread. Diverse foresees that these women will provide encouragement to their colleagues as well as those who will follow in their esteemed footsteps.

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Why Research Universities Must Change

By Hunter R. Rawlings

It is my view that most of us engaged in education at our nation’s leading research universities focus our attention upon the wrong issues.  These universities are wondrously complex institutions that defy easy analysis or understanding.  We therefore tend to concentrate upon their most visible components, such as scientific research, star professors, state-of-the-art facilities and technology, economic development, international impact, and football and basketball teams.

It has become a cliché that American universities are the best in the world. This claim, while valid in important dimensions, can lead to complacency and neglect of serious problems.

Much of our international reputation is based upon two outstanding features of American universities: unrelenting commitment to an atmosphere of free and open inquiry, and excellence in scientific research. These twin advantages attract the best talent from around the world to American universities, not only to our graduate programs but increasingly to our undergraduate colleges as well.

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Tribute to A Friend & Advocate

By Holly McCracken

Today I’m breaking with my tradition of posting relevant articles in this blog to announce the passing of a friend, advocate, and worldwide educator, Dr. Mattilou Catchpole. I became acquainted with Dr. Catchpole while at the University of Illinois in Springfield. As you will read in her obituary, she was a remarkable person, well ahead of her peers in using technologies, providing healthcare, and educating women, particularly those in developing countries. It is with great sadness that I wish her well on the next leg of her journey. Be well, Mattilou.

Read Mattilou’s Obituary:

Quantifying the (Academic) Self

By Anastasia Salter

Looking at my calendar alone, it’s hard to get much of a sense of what I do each week. In between blocks of meetings, “office hours”, and scheduled classes, there are oddly placed gaps that are inevitably packed and yet unstructured. Perhaps that’s part of what makes faculty workload a popular target: David Levy’s editorial in the Washington Post, “Do college professors work hard enough?”, has added fuel to the endless debates about faculty workload. It includes accusatory gems like: “Though faculty salaries now mirror those of most upper-middle-class Americans working 40 hours for 50 weeks, they continue to pay for teaching time of nine to 15 hours per week for 30 weeks, making possible a month-long winter break, a week off in the spring and a summer vacation from mid-May until September.” Follow-ups to the editorial even take this a step further, suggesting that academics are inefficient.

Many have joined in the conversation to counter Levy’s arguments, and accounts like Philip Nel’s tracking of an academic week and the many accounts of Day of Digital Humanities offer very different pictures of what a workload in academia looks like. Debates like this are possible in part because time in the classroom might appear to be the only “scheduled” part of the day. As anyone facing spring annual reports, another season on the job market, or another milestone is well aware, quantifying productivity is necessary for accountability. However, that accountability is about more than punching a time clock, and the hours of investment in prepping a new course, advising students, grading and administrative or alt-ac labors might well go unrecognized by those outside evaluations.

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Connecting Two Worlds: Collaboration between Higher Education and Corporate Learning

By Elliott Masie

Higher education and corporate learning are ideal candidates for ongoing collaboration. Yet these two worlds are almost 99 percent disconnected.

Colleges and universities enroll approximately 15 million full-time students in the United States. Most of these learners will soon be joining the more than 139 million employees in the U.S. workforce, where their education will continue through corporate education, training, and development. There are many similarities between the learning and technology challenges faced by IT directors at colleges and universities and those faced by their counterparts in corporate education. All are being asked to provide more agility for students and teachers with a rapidly changing technology base, the expanded consumerization of information technology, and more connected, more demanding learners.

It is thus exciting to think about a deeper connection between the IT functions of higher education and the IT functions of corporate learning. Higher education and corporate learning are ideal candidates for ongoing collaboration. Yet these two worlds are almost 99 percent disconnected.

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Disrupting Ourselves: The Problem of Learning in Higher Education

By Randy Bass

A growing appreciation for the porous boundaries between the classroom and life experience, along with the power of social learning, authentic audiences, and integrative contexts, has created not only promising changes in learning but also disruptive moments in teaching.

Our understanding of learning has expanded at a rate that has far outpaced our conceptions of teaching. A growing appreciation for the porous boundaries between the classroom and life experience, along with the power of social learning, authentic audiences, and integrative contexts, has created not only promising changes in learning but also disruptive moments in teaching.

By “disruptive moments,” I’m not referring to students on Facebook in classrooms. I mean “disruption” in the way Clayton Christensen uses the term. Christensen coined the phrase disruptive innovation to refer to a process “by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves ‘up market,’ eventually displacing established competitors.”1 By using the phrase “disrupting ourselves” in this article’s title, I am asserting that one key source of disruption in higher education is coming not from the outside but from our own practices, from the growing body of experiential modes of learning, moving from margin to center, and proving to be critical and powerful in the overall quality and meaning of the undergraduate experience. As a result, at colleges and universities we are running headlong into our own structures, into the way we do business.

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The Stanford Education Experiment Could Change Higher Learning Forever

By Steven Leckart

Last fall, the university in the heart of Silicon Valley did something it had never done before: It opened up three classes, including CS221, to anyone with a web connection. Lectures and assignments—the same ones administered in the regular on-campus class—would be posted and auto-graded online each week. Midterms and finals would have strict deadlines. Stanford wouldn’t issue course credit to the non-matriculated students. But at the end of the term, students who completed a course would be awarded an official Statement of Accomplishment.

People around the world have gone crazy for this opportunity. Fully two-thirds of my 160,000 classmates live outside the US. There are students in 190 countries—from India and South Korea to New Zealand and the Republic of Azerbaijan. More than 100 volunteers have signed up to translate the lectures into 44 languages, including Bengali. In Iran, where YouTube is blocked, one student cloned the CS221 class website and—with the professors’ permission—began reposting the video files for 1,000 students.

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