Posts Categorized: Commentary

Unintended Consequences: An Uncertain Future for Distance Learning

While most in the academic community know about the attempt to rein in the for-profits, few are aware of its collateral damage. In October, the Department of Education issued its Program Integrity Rules, intended to protect federal funds especially from those for-profit institutions with high student loan default rates. Well-intentioned though this was, the DOE dropped an inadvertent bombshell: Al...

In Maine, Postsecondary Success Starts Before College

NEJHE presents exclusive articles by New England's governors on higher education in their states ... Last spring, 83% of Maine public high school students who began high school four years earlier received a diploma. About 65% of those graduates likely enrolled in some form of postsecondary education—at a public university, private institution, community college or elsewhere. A 2008 re...

Walter Peterson, 1922-2011: New England Loses Another Giant

New Hampshire governor and longtime NEBHE delegate and chair, Walter Peterson died at age 88 on Wednesday, June 1. Walter attended William and Mary College and the University of New Hampshire before serving as a naval officer in the Pacific theater of World War II. After the war, he graduated from Dartmouth College. In 1948, with his father and brother, he founded The Petersons Inc. Real Estate...

Saving Pell Grants in an Era of Cost-Cutting

In the context of the recent efforts to arrive at a federal budget, articles abound in the popular media and trade publications debating both the value of Pell Grants and their rising cost to the U.S. government. Both pros and cons of the debate hold value. Pell Grants are what enable many of our low-income families to send their children to college and, when more and more jobs require a minimum ...

Tuition Fees and Student Financial Assistance: 2010 Global Year

Since the start of the global financial crisis a little over two years ago, many concerns have been raised on how it might affect funding to higher education and whether or not it might hasten moves toward greater cost sharing. While, globally, some steps have been taken in this direction, in most countries, hard decisions have yet to be taken on this issue. Our inaugural annual survey of global ...

Review of MacroWikinomics (Books)

Book Review MacroWikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World; Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams; Portfolio/Penguin 2010; $27.95 Reviewed by Alan R. Earls. In a recent check of Google search term rankings, the term “wiki” garnered more than 100 million inquires over the prior 30 days. Presumably, some portion of that traffic was generated by those seeking for MacroWikinomics or its...

Biting the Hand: A Commentary on Academe’s Books About Itself (Books)

A new literary genre seems to be booming—book-length critiques on the state of American higher education. While a few celebrate American exceptionalism, most lament the decline of higher learning. Whether exuberant or depressed, their tone is rarely tempered. The authors’ demographics suggest why—they are generally at the twilight of their own academic careers, taking one last shot at the st...

Book Review: Edupunks Chart Coming Transformation of Higher Ed

DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education, Anya Kamenetz, Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, Vt., 2010Anya Kamenetz, a 2002 graduate of Yale and staff writer for Fast Company, could be an academic's worst nightmare. Articulate, forceful and skilled—her writing lobs volleys of criticisms that are hard to refute and harder still to ignore. In ...

How to Develop Learners Who Are Consistently Curious and Questioning

In the U.S., postsecondary education has long driven individual social mobility and collective economic prosperity. Nonetheless, the nation’s labor force includes 54 million adults who lack a college degree; of those, nearly 34 million have no college experience at all. In the 21st century, these numbers cannot sustain us. Returning to learning: Adults’ success in college is key to America’...

Book Review: Harnessing America’s Wasted Talent

Harnessing America's Wasted Talent: A New Ecology of Learning, Peter Smith, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, 2010In 1970, I was a high school student in a suburban New England town. The invasion of Cambodia and the shootings at Kent State had brought spectacular illumination to the end of the academic year and dimmed hopes that the war in Vietnam would soon be over. But optimism and idealism left over ...