Higher Ed: Buffeted By Change, Embracing Reform
by Francie Grace
How can higher education control costs? How does our education system measure up compared to the rest of the world? American Council of Education president Molly Corbett Broad touched on these questions and more in the March installment of the Maxwell School/ Public Agenda Policy Breakfast discussion series.
A former president of the University of North Carolina, Broad talked about issues including national standards for college readiness, student loan legislation, "helicopter" parents, tuition prices and other obstacles to college completion. She also discussed challenges like college costs and spending on athletics, and innovations such as no-frills colleges and three-year degrees. Such fast track programs, said Broad, are helpful only for the tiny proportion of students who arrive on campus already knowing exactly what they need to study, are ready to do college-level work, and won't need to change majors - something she sees as a big part of the learning experience for many college students.
So, are radical changes in the works? Radical, Broad observed, is a relative term for institutions that have been around for centuries, adding that "radical ideas" are nonetheless on the table for reform in higher ed. Colleges who ignore this trend, said Broad, will find that they are losing standing.
Click here to watch the video of the interview with National Public Radio's Robert Siegel. To learn more about these issues, check out our research, especially Can I Get A Little Advice Here?, Squeeze Play 2010, Campus Commons and Convergence and Contradictions in Teachers' Perceptions of Policy Reform Ideas.