Higher Education News
The latest topics include the athletics scandal at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the unbundling of higher education.
A visit to the Badger State suggests views of colleges — their value and their importance — don’t necessarily fall along partisan lines.
The proportion has barely budged in a decade, a result of barriers that are both external and self-imposed.
Scott B. Weingart, Carnegie Mellon’s first-ever specialist in the discipline, is helping rethink graduate education.
In this week’s address, President Obama laid out his vision for quality, affordable higher education for all Americans.
Today, a college degree is the surest ticket to the middle class and beyond, but it has also never been more expensive. Everyone, from elected officials to universities to business leaders, has a part to play in making college affordable for all students. The President has already made historic investments in college education affordability, and earlier this week, he announced a Student Aid Bill of Rights – a set of guiding principles behind his vision for affordable education.
In his address the President urged everyone to visit WhiteHouse.gov/CollegeOpportunity and sign this declaration, because together we can ensure students who work hard for a college degree do not graduate saddled with debt.
A year ago when Secretary Arne Duncan introduced an effort to promote teacher leadership called “Teach to Lead” to thousands of educators, none of us had any real idea of what it was going to become. The speech that introduced it was long on aspirations but short on plans and details. To be quite honest, there was a hefty bit of skepticism among many I spoke with that the US Department of Education wasn’t going to do anything more than rhetoric around teacher leadership. I wrote Arne to ask if I could remain as a Teaching Ambassador Fellow for a second year in a hybrid role working part-time for the Department to help structure Teach to Lead, while also teaching in Omaha. I offered to be one of the people who would lie awake nights, making sure this all came together! It was impossible to know then that Teach to Lead would come to involve thousands of educators from throughout the country, producing hundreds of meaningful ideas to improve education for young people while strengthening the teaching profession.
Was I crazy to sign on to such a vaguely defined project? Obviously. But I was also passionate in my belief that only teachers could bring about real system reform that put students first. I had experienced teacher leadership as the backbone to student success. Over the previous 5 years my school, Miller Park Elementary, had been transformed. Student achievement, and students’ belief in themselves, had soared. What made us successful – teachers leading transformation in collaboration with our principal, students and parents – had to happen everywhere. My mantra, “When teachers lead, kids succeed!” comes from experience.
The Teach to Lead team, comprised primarily of teachers from the Department of Education and National Board, knew that we had to have something that was “scalable” (capable of reaching teachers across the country). We developed a website that has over 2,000 members on the virtual community “Commit to Lead” where teachers can share their ideas and receive feedback from colleagues. The website is also a place to access the resources of our 70 support organizations and read the inspiring stories of teachers who are leading change.
Three national Teach to Lead Summits were held in Louisville, Denver and Boston during the winter. The Summits were run by teachers – we set the agenda and ran the show. We asked teachers to help us score the ideas to select participants. We placed teachers as prominent speakers and trainers. Teach to Lead was going to walk the talk.
Over 350 teachers from 38 states came alone or in teams, equipped with their ideas for change. The energy in the room at each Summit was palpable! Teachers were claiming their authority as change agents and the networking was compounding their drive towards success.
We provided training on logic models and our growing list of support organizations provided the critical friends who asked the hard questions and pushed participants to think deeper. We held workshops to learn more about working with administrators, resource development, talking with policy makers, mentoring and more. Our participants arrived with nascent ideas and left with over 100 fully formed action plans to implement at home – and new skills to get it done!
At the end of the Denver Summit, a teacher from Eagle County schools in Colorado told me, “I’ve been to many weekends for teacher leaders and sometimes I feel like I’m a part of somebody else’s agenda. This is the first time I feel like I was supported in moving forward with my own agenda which is the agenda of helping my students.” We were on the right track, but we continued to listen to feedback, reflect and adapt to make Teach to Lead stronger.
Today, our last year of work on Teach to Lead culminated on stage at the National Board’s Teaching & Learning conference with a panel of 4 exceptional teacher leaders and Secretary Duncan. In front of a crowd of thousands, Arne talked about Teach to Lead, stating, “I was hopeful [about teacher leadership] last year. I am convinced we are onto something really important and special now. Change has to come from teachers who own it and lead it.”
Another panelist, Chris Todd, a history teacher and a teacher leader in residence at the Connecticut State Department of Education said “Every teacher has the potential to be a teacher leader. The expertise that comes from experience makes for a better policy recommendation.”
The next step for Teach to Lead is to get even more “boots on the ground”; we are choosing 2-3 ideas out of each Summit to develop through Leadership Labs. The Labs are opportunities for local teams to receive hands-on targeted technical assistance from the Teach to Lead team and supporter organizations, convene stakeholders to discuss the status of plans and future actions, and develop approaches to integrate teacher leadership into systems and structures within local contexts. Our first Lab was in Marshall, Michigan and in just one day, our teacher leaders received tremendous community support including:
- Expanding their project to neighboring middle schools through a joint effort
- Partnering with 2 universities to assist with data collection and analyzing as well as providing pre-service teachers to help with after-school programs and other interventions
- Highlighting their project as an exemplar by the Michigan State Department of Education
- The assistance of two social workers from local organizations
- Greater access to mental health care for their students
Working on Teach to Lead this past year has been a joy. It has given us the opportunity to offer a megaphone to the voices – and incredible ideas – of teachers around the country. We’ve begun to change the culture of what it means to be a teacher by proving that teacher leadership can transform both student learning and the education system.
From the beginning of this effort, I was a fierce advocate for doing this right. To me, that meant empowering teachers to design and implement this initiative. I’m so proud to say we’ve done that in Teach to Lead with Arne’s fervent support. As he said during this morning’s panel, “If there’s a seat at the table, grab it. If there’s no seat at the table, make your own table.”
What an honor it has been to work with the Teach to Lead team and my colleagues across the country! Margaret Mead said it best, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Thanks for letting us make our own table, Arne.
Describing a quest to further transparency and “evidence-based philanthropy,” a foundation official says grant recipients will be increasingly held accountable for their work.
It’s that time of the year again … time to think about celebrating Pi Day!
March 14 – (3/14) – has become an unofficial holiday dedicated to the rather unique irrational number that can be calculated to over a trillion digits beyond its decimal point.
A lot can be said about Pi Day, but did you know this year’s Pi Day is especially exclusive?
On 3/14/15 at 9:26:53 a.m., the calendar date and time will match up numerically with the first 10 digits of Pi: 3.141592653.
Hungry for more? Check out these resources and think about incorporating some STEM-themed activities for children in your classroom or at home.
- Head to your local or school library and check out a book about Pi! These three titles are a good place to start.
- Try making a pi-themed pie or have a pi memorization contest.
- Make a pi necklace or have students prove pi.
- Check out more ideas about celebrating Pi Day!
Dorothy Amatucci is a digital engagement strategist at the U.S. Department of Education.
After 25 years of concentrated effort, the University of Missouri at Columbia can claim some success. But only some.
Perhaps the biggest legacy of the free online courses, say some of their pioneers, is unintended: increased pressure on colleges to spend more money on teaching.
The move carries some risk — a grand-total price could scare families away — but at the University of Dayton, transparency seems to be helping.
Nobody would confuse the Integrated Student Information System with a brutal Middle Eastern caliphate. But some institutions aren’t taking any chances.
The measure’s Democratic sponsor says the state cannot afford to continue granting waivers to the offspring of public-university workers.
Part-timers teach many of the institutions’ classes and are at the forefront of completion efforts. Professional development is essential, college leaders say.
As a senior in high school, I felt as if I was the only one not excited about graduation because I had been denied acceptance to the universities for which I had applied. I had given up on having a glamorous college experience and had no idea what the future had in store for me and enrolled at a community college.
During my two years in community college, I reflected on career choices and my future as a whole, all the while using that time to boost my GPA. Once I figured out what I wanted to do, I applied to four-year universities and was accepted to the perfect school for me.
As you are preparing to apply for college, keep community college in mind. It’s a great place to begin your higher education.
Here are four reasons why:
- Community college is affordable
The cost of attendance for two years at my community college cost less than one semester at a state college. This is huge advantage that most students don’t realize until they graduate and have to start repaying loans.
Community colleges offer class times designed to accommodate a variety of schedules, making a part-time job manageable for full-time students. There is now a limit on the maximum period of time that you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans and the Pell Grant, so make sure to keep track of how you’re progressing in your degree program. You don’t want to lose eligibility for these types of financial aid!
- Better Transfer Opportunities
Community college is a perfect solution for those who don’t have the best grades coming out of high school. While obtaining my associate degree, I was able to boost my GPA and resume by working. After graduation I transferred to a university that I would have otherwise not been accepted to in high school. Community college can be seen as a second chance as long as you are willing to make the commitment and college admissions offices understand that some students need more time and experience to discover what they want out of life.
TIP: Many community colleges have “Guaranteed Admissions Programs” whereby students who successfully complete their associate degree at a community college are offered automatic admission to participating four-year colleges and universities.
- Attain multiple degrees
Unlike universities, community colleges provide the opportunity for an associate degree that feeds directly into a bachelor’s degree. The time a typical university student will have spent on one degree, a community college transfer will have received two degrees!
Talla Hashemi is a junior at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill majoring in Journalism and Public Relations. She is a virtual intern for the U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid.
Professors say Hong Kong University is facing growing government interference due to academe's support for recent pro-democracy demonstrations.
Cross-posted from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy blog.
As we celebrate Open Education Week 2015, we look forward to implementing the new U.S. Open Government Partnership National Action Plan to promote Open Educational Resources and building momentum for Federal open education initiatives. The availability of high-quality, low-cost digital content in our schools is a priority for the President and a pillar of his ConnectED Initiative. Fostering the use of Open Educational Resources in our nation’s K-12 and post-secondary classrooms can help meet this goal.
Open Educational Resources are learning tools that reside in the public domain or that have been released with intellectual property licenses allowing their free use, continuous improvement, and modification by others. Open Educational Resources can deliver two great benefits for students: lower cost in obtaining the educational resources needed to succeed in school, so that students and schools can redirect funds for other instructional needs; and access to a universe of high-quality, updated content that can be tailored minute-by-minute by educators to reflect new developments and current events.
The Department of Labor has been at the forefront of advancing Open Educational Resources. The Department recently developed new granting policies for its Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Training Grant Program (TAACCCT), which aims to expand post-secondary education and training capacity. For the first time, the Department has incorporated requirements for grantees to openly license all educational content created with grant funds, promoting institutional collaboration and sharing of Open Educational Resources. Since the program’s inception, grantees at over 700 colleges have launched over 1,500 new programs of study, including degree and certificate programs that prepare students for careers in emerging and expanding industries. By requiring all content, curricula, and learning objects created using TAACCCT funds be licensed using a Creative Commons Attribution license, the Department of Labor is investing in the world’s largest collection of Open Educational Resources.
The Department of Education’s Learning Registry project is another example of Federal efforts to increase the discoverability of open educational content, particularly for use in K-12 contexts, by aggregating and sharing data about online educational content through an open source platform. Several states, including Illinois and California, have built portals that allow educators to search, save, and share Learning Registry resources from institutions including the Smithsonian, National Archives, and NASA.
In the coming year, we will continue to build on these successes at the Federal level as we look to promote the use of Open Educational Resources. Current plans include launching an Online Skills Academy to leverage free and openly-licensed learning resources and using technology to create high-quality, low-cost pathways to degrees, certificates, and other employer-recognized credentials. In addition, the Department of State will conduct three overseas pilots to examine new models for using Open Educational Resources to support learning in formal and informal contexts. The results of the pilots will be shared later this year at a workshop – co-hosted by the Department of State, the Department of Education, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy – on challenges and opportunities in open education.
We look forward to working together to advance these initiatives.
Sara Trettin is Digital Engagement Lead in the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education.
Dipayan Ghosh is a Policy Advisor in the Office of the Chief Technology Officer at the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
The tentative contract could be a model for graduate students at other private colleges. But first they face the challenge of getting their unions recognized.
David L. Boren’s expulsion of two students got cheers. But it might create legal challenges.
A series of focus groups commissioned by New America captures the complexity of repayment.