higher education | WAMC

higher education

9/15/20 Panel

Sep 15, 2020

  

     The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, investigative journalist and UAlbany adjunct professor Rosemary Armao, The Empire Report’s J.P. Miller, and former Associate Editor of The Times Union Mike Spain.

The pandemic crisis is causing colleges to look at fundamental issues right now (like how to survive) so while concerns about legacy preference and athletics slots are taking a back burner for the moment, money matters now more than ever, as schools scrounge for full-paying students.

Those who can pay full freight (or maybe make some nice donations) look extra attractive. As the pandemic’s impact on higher education continues to evolve it may be even more important to scrutinize the ethics around admissions and the inequities baked into our system.

Melissa Korn and Jennifer Levitz are the Wall Street Journal reporters who have led much of the reporting on the shocking saga of “Operation Varsity Blues.” They have just written a new book: "Unacceptable: Privilege, Deceit & the Making of the College Admissions Scandal."

James Baldwin
Excelsior College

July 31 marked James Baldwin’s last day as president and CEO of Excelsior College. With a current enrollment of more than 23,000, the private, online institution based in Albany was founded in 1971 and has had just three presidents. The 65-year-old Baldwin was appointed president in October 2016. 

Last week, as the state budget hearings continued, lawmakers heard pleas from academics, faculty and students that higher educational institutions are struggling, and that New York’s public policies make things worse.

Fred Kowal: NY25 - A Vision For The Future

Jan 24, 2020

In 2011, the State University of New York and the Office of the Governor launched “SUNY 2020,” a long-range plan to promote SUNY as a catalyst for regional economic development and affordable education.

Paul Tough is the author of "Helping Children Succeed" and "How Children Succeed." He is also the author of "Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America." He is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine and a regular contributor to the public-radio program "This American Life."

Tough's new book "The Years That Matter Most" tells the stories of students trying to find their way, with hope, joy, and frustration, through the application process and into college.

Drawing on new research, the book reveals how the landscape of higher education has shifted in recent decades and exposes the hidden truths of how the system works and whom it works for.

Ribbon-cutting outside the new million Gene F. Haas Center for Advanced Manufacturing Skills (CAMS) on Tuesday, August 27, 2019.
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Hudson Valley Community College opened its new Center for Advanced Manufacturing Skills today.

Ben Downing: Investing In Education

May 31, 2018

The debate about UMass Amherst’s acquisition of Mt. Ida College is an important one, but it ignores an unavoidable truth - Massachusetts has failed to prioritize and invest in public higher education for a generation. That failure has burdened thousands of students across Massachusetts and deterred countless more from seeking to improve themselves. That failure has left each of the 29 campuses - 5 UMass branches, 9 State Universities and Colleges, 15 Community Colleges - to fend for themselves. That failure has weakened Massachusetts. If we want to lessen economic inequality and create a stronger, fairer economy, we must invest to create a world-class, affordable public higher education system.


New York lawmakers return to the Capitol this week to begin their push to agree on a state budget, due by April 1.  There are a number of issues on which they must agree: first the amount of money that is available and then how to spend it. 

Cathy N. Davidson is a lifelong educational innovator - and instigator. After twenty-five years as a professor and an administrator leading innovation at Duke University, Davidson moved to CUNY in August 2014 to direct the Futures Initiative at the Graduate Center. Appointed by President Obama to the National Council on the Humanities (2011-2017), she also sits on the Board of Directors of Mozilla. 

In her new book, The New Education, Davidson argues that the current approach to education is wholly unsuited to the era of the gig economy. Our system of higher education dates to the period from 1865 to 1925, when the nation's new universities created grades and departments, majors and minors, in an attempt to prepare young people for a world transformed by the telegraph and the Model T. From the Ivy League to community colleges, she introduces us to innovators who are remaking college for our own time by emphasizing student-centered learning that values creativity in the face of change above all. 

Jacques Berlinerblau is Professor and Director of the Center for Jewish Civilization at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

In his new book, Campus Confidential, he breaks ranks to reveal what's wrong with American higher education. Professors can be underpaid. Marginalized. Over-reviewed. But one fact remains: The success of education depends on them.

Lisa Wade is an associate professor of sociology at Occidental College. Her newest book, American Hookup is about the emergence and character of the culture of sex that dominates college campuses today.

American Hookup situates hookup culture within the history of sexuality, the evolution of higher education, and the unfinished feminist revolution. With new research, Wade maps out a punishing emotional landscape marked by unequal pleasures, competition for status, and sexual violence. She discovers that privileged students tend to enjoy it the most, and considers its effects on racial and sexual minorities, students who “opt out,” and those who participate ambivalently.

If you are a young person, and you work hard enough, you can get a college degree and set yourself on the path to a good life, right?
 
Not necessarily, says Sara Goldrick-Rab, and with Paying the Price, she shows in damning detail exactly why. Quite simply, college is far too expensive for many people today, and the confusing mix of federal, state, institutional, and private financial aid leaves countless students without the resources they need to pay for it.
 
Drawing on an unprecedented study of 3,000 young adults who entered public colleges and universities in Wisconsin in 2008 with the support of federal aid and Pell Grants, Goldrick-Rab reveals the devastating effect of these shortfalls.

In this year’s race for the White House, candidates have addressed college affordability and student debt – two issues that are vitally important to New York families.

New York is helping its private colleges with campus repairs, upgrades and construction projects.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Monday announced more than $35 million in grants for capital projects at higher education institutions across the state. Some of the colleges are in the Hudson Valley.

Picture of Carolyn Stafanco
College Of St. Rose

  Carolyn Stefanco was inaugurated as President of the College of Saint Rose in April of this year. Just a few months later, Stefanco proposed changes, including program cuts, to academic offerings at the Albany private liberal arts college as the college works to identify the best ways to reduce a $9 million deficit and boost enrollment.

Stefanco discussed the specifics of her recommendations with trustees two weeks ago. While no specific cuts or increased areas of spending were announced, a statement noted the college had refinanced its debt and lowered its borrowing costs; eliminated 40 staff and administrative positions, 23 of which were filled; eliminated contingency budgets; and reduced spending for employee benefits and other areas.

While the trustees met on the Friday before Thanksgiving, faculty, students, and alumni rallied outside to protest the cuts. To discuss the fiscal woes and future plans, we welcome Dr. Carolyn Stefanco to the RT this morning.

 

Four years ago, state lawmakers approved a plan that changed its relationship with the state’s public colleges and students.  The plan contained two major changes: public college tuition would be raised automatically and the state would commit not to cut state support for those institutions and would not use the increased tuition to close budget holes.

  American higher education is at a crossroads. Cost-minded students and their families--and the public at large--are questioning the worth of a college education, even as study after study shows how important it is to economic and social mobility. And as elite institutions trim financial aid and change other business practices in search of more sustainable business models, racial and economic stratification in American higher education is only growing.

In American Higher Education in Crisis?: What Everyone Needs to Know, Goldie Blumenstyk, who has been reporting on higher education trends for 25 years, guides readers through the forces and trends that have brought the education system to this point, and highlights some of the ways they will reshape America's colleges in the years to come.

  Standing on the foundations of America’s promise of equal opportunity, our universities purport to serve as engines of social mobility and practitioners of democracy. But as acclaimed scholar and pioneering civil rights advocate Lani Guinier argues in her book, The Tyranny of the Meritocracy: Democratizing Higher Education in America, the merit systems that dictate the admissions practices of these institutions are functioning to select and privilege elite individuals rather than create learning communities geared to advance democratic societies.

Karen Hitchcock: The Price Of Ignorance

Feb 19, 2015

Mark, a six year-old leukemia patient, was unable to receive the measles vaccine due to his compromised immune system. Given his lack of immunization, he contracted the disease from an unvaccinated playmate and now is in critical condition from encephalitis, a serious, life-threatening complication which can occur with this highly infectious disease. Given the ongoing, indeed increasing, anti-vaccination movement in the United States and abroad, this illustrative scenario is likely to occur more and more frequently.


Like many areas of the governor’s proposed $141 billion-plus state budget, his higher education plans include items that help and others that hurt.

Karen Hitchcock: Is College-Completion Enough?

Jan 22, 2015

In the January 20th, 2015 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education there was an unfortunate – but quite revealing – juxtaposition of two major articles. The first, by Kelly Field, was entitled, “6 Years in and 6 to Go, Only Modest Progress on Obama’s College-Completion Goal;” the second, by Casey Fabris, “College Students Think They’re Ready for the Work Force. Employers Aren’t so Sure.”

Jim Levulis / WAMC

On Monday, Mary Grant is set to become the next chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Asheville, leaving Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts after 12 years as president. And, the college is in the midst of a search to fill her shoes.

Each year, graduates of our nation’s colleges and universities participate in an ancient ritual known as “commencement.” They don medieval garb and participate in a ceremony designed to honor their accomplishments and be celebrated by their final “teacher”, the famed “commencement speaker.”

Officials from state-run colleges and universities across the nation will gather near Albany this weekend to discuss the issues facing public higher education. Eileen Landy is the Statewide Secretary of United University Professions, the union that represents faculty and staff at the State University of New York, and she is a member of the committee that created the Campaign for the Future of Public Education.

Herbert London: What Are Students Obliged To Read

Apr 16, 2014

What do college students read? According to one survey Shades of Gray, the sado-masochistic novel, was the most widely read book outside the classroom. Another survey indicated that The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, dealing with her battle with cancer and racial grievance, was the most popular book.

  America’s higher education system is failing its students. In the space of a generation, we have gone from being the best-educated society in the world to one surpassed by eleven other nations in college graduation rates.

Higher education is evolving into a caste system with separate and unequal tiers that take in students from different socio-economic backgrounds and leave them more unequal than when they first enrolled.

In Degrees of Inequality, acclaimed political scientist Suzanne Mettler explains why the system has gone so horribly wrong and why the American Dream is increasingly out of reach for so many.

On a number of occasions over the last couple of years, I have shared my concerns with you regarding the decreasing level of support provided by the federal government for research at our nation’s universities. Indeed, as reported in a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article, entitled “Strapped”, by Paul Basken and Paul Voosen, the budget of the National Institutes of Health hasn’t exceeded inflation for more than ten years. This lack of growth in the N.I.H., and other federal granting agencies, coupled with the major cuts related to the recent “sequestration” process, endangers this nation’s  research infrastructure and the productivity of our research scientists. To quote the authors, “Budgets are tighter than ever. In [a survey administered by the Chronicle], more than half of the researchers who had led a lab for more than six years said this year was the toughest” …. 62% had reduced lab staff, 78% had reduced the recruitment of graduate students and fellows and 47% had had to drop an area of inquiry that was central to the scientist’s research programs.

wikipedia.org

The days of learning by simply sitting in a classroom and hitting the books are dwindling as colleges are placing increased emphasis on student travel.

Pages