Research + News | Topic: Higher Ed Innovation

Extending Community College Would Help 20-Somethings Emerging Into Adulthood

Is 13 years of universal schooling enough when young people are taking longer than previous generations to grow up and engage in a fast-changing economy? Read the article here.

Four Ideas to Help Colleges Becomes Relevant Again

A blog from Tim Elmore and Growing Leaders looks at ways to help those in education really equip students for life. Read the post here.

The End of Higher Ed As We Know It?

Does college have a future? Perhaps you’ve wondered if and when it’s all going to come crashing down. Concerned analysts cite the fact that colleges are facing massive budget cuts, enrollment declines, competition for students, and a student body that’s decreasingly prepared for reading, writing, and arithmetic. A declining job market, exorbitant college costs, and mounting student debt are leaving more and more families and their kids looking to postpone college, pursue other vocational options, or enroll in non-traditional forms of higher education.

In the September 2014 edition of The Atlantic, Graeme Wood reports on a young entrepreneur who is challenging the traditional higher ed establishment as well as a host of for-profit universities by re-thinking college. . . making it an educational experience without lectures, traditional classrooms, extra-curricular activities, and tenured professors. Instead Ben Nelson’s accredited Minerva Project (or “University”) is designed to effectively educate students by keeping them highly engaged with material that they are then able to apply to life. While it’s too early to know whether or not Minerva will be a success – both as an institution and in educating students – there’s much to Ben Nelson’s philosophy that is worth thinking about.

From the article:

“Minerva, which operates for profit, started teaching its inaugural class of 33 students this month. To seed this first class with talent, Minerva gave every admitted student a full-tuition scholarship of $10,000 a year for four years, plus free housing in San Francisco for the first year. Next year’s class is expected to have 200 to 300 students, and Minerva hopes future classes will double in size roughly every year for a few years after that. . .

The Minerva boast is that it will strip the university experience down to the aspects that are shown to contribute directly to student learning. Lectures, gone. Tenure, gone. Gothic architecture, football, ivy crawling up the walls—gone, gone, gone. What’s left will be leaner and cheaper. (Minerva has already attracted $25 million in capital from investors who think it can undercut the incumbents.) And Minerva officials claim that their methods will be tested against scientifically determined best practices, unlike the methods used at other universities and assumed to be sound just because the schools themselves are old and expensive. Yet because classes have only just begun, we have little clue as to whether the process of stripping down the university removes something essential to what has made America’s best colleges the greatest in the world.

Minerva will, after all, look very little like a university—and not merely because it won’t be accessorized in useless and expensive ways. The teaching methods may well be optimized, but universities, as currently constituted, are only partly about classroom time. Can a school that has no faculty offices, research labs, community spaces for students, or professors paid to do scholarly work still be called a university?”

Read the entire article here.

Enhancing Higher Education Outcomes

NENortheastern University sponsored its second annual national survey to shed new light on Americans’ attitudes toward the future of higher education in the United States.

The survey provides insights on Americans’ views on the role of higher education in producing desirable outcomes, particularly the ability of graduates to succeed in today’s global economy.

Key Findings:

Americans continue to believe in the importance of higher education, but express concerns about the system’s ability to prepare graduates for success in today’s competitive workforce.

Despite the recent focus on STEM degrees, most Americans and particularly business leaders say it is more important for graduates to be well-rounded and possess broader capabilities such as problem solving and communication skills.

Americans express declining confidence in online education, and they remain divided over the long-term benefits and impact of Massive Open Online Course (MOOCs).

Americans resolutely believe in the importance of experiential learning for long-term career success.

Americans are divided on whether the greatest responsibility for preparing recent graduates for success lies with employers, colleges/universities or the graduates themselves.

Read the full summary of “key findings” here.

Read the full report here.

Do Students Prefer Online or Face-to-Face Courses?

According to a study released by the Community College Research Center at Columbia University, “most students preferred to take only ‘easy’ academic subjects online; they preferred to take ‘difficult’ or ‘important’ subjects face-to-face.”

Read the press release here.

Download the full report (.pdf) here.

Americans Believe Higher Education Must Innovate

According to a national opinion poll con­ducted for North­eastern University by FTI Con­sulting, seven in 10 Amer­i­cans believe higher edu­ca­tion is “extremely” or “very impor­tant” to achieving the Amer­ican Dream. Among those who have attended col­lege, 83% con­sider col­lege a good invest­ment. In addi­tion, most Amer­i­cans say col­lege pro­vides impor­tant intel­lec­tual ben­e­fits (88%) and is impor­tant to finding a good job (75%). But 83% — an over­whelming majority — say the U.S. higher edu­ca­tion system needs to change in order to remain com­pet­i­tive with other coun­tries around the world.

Read the report here.

Download the results of the Innovation in Higher Ed Survey (.pdf) here.