Advice to Presidential Candidates on Higher Education Issues: Republican Edition

The calendar still reads 2015, but already it feels like 2016.  Now that Hillary Clinton has joined Republican Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio on the official hunt for the White House, the presidential campaign is gearing up.  Higher education (mostly student debt) played a small part in the last election, but it may play a larger role in this one.  This week, I’ll give advice to candidates in both political parties about issues and ways to talk about higher education.  First up, the Republicans.

For the better part of the last two decades, there hasn’t been an overarching national Republican agenda in regards to higher education.  

Why you need to start using bibliographic software right now

Writing is hard.  It is also time consuming.  Yet, I constantly see students and faculty that do not take advantage of a simple tool to make writing easier.  Bibliographic software has tremendous advantages that can make the writing process easier and move more quickly.

Photo credit: TeppoTK

References are important for identifying the source of ideas and letting readers know where they can look for additional information.  However, the amount of time spent on references and citation styles far outweighs their value.  

What Rolling Stone’s Failures Mean for Higher Ed

Although widely discredited for a while now, the Rolling Stone has officially retracted its story on the gang rape at the University of Virginia following a report by the Columbia School of Journalism (you can read more about the Columbia report here).  Ultimately, the Rolling Stone violated basic journalistic standards at nearly every stage of the process.  Journalists and the field of journalism will need to learn the lessons from this event to improve journalistic practices and standards.  However, I’m more concerned at the moment for what all this means for higher education.

Photo credit: Bob Mical

Any time you have a national magazine write a story that received the attention that this story did, it should give us all pause.  The fact that we now know this story was without evidence only raises more questions.  Specifically, I see four areas to address when considering what the Rolling Stone’s failures mean for higher ed.

Fostering Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Colleges and universities face pressure from government agencies and industry leaders to support collaborative activity on campus.  Interdisciplinary teaching and research as a form of collaboration presents an interesting context to explore the strategies and influences for supporting this work.  In this post, I want to discuss interdisciplinary activity on campus and how institutions can foster interdisciplinary collaboration in higher education.

Photo credit: Tomi Knuutila

A 2004 report by the National Academy of Science defined the most pressing issues and interdisciplinary fields of study awaiting contemporary academics: nanotechnology, genomics and proteomics, bioinformatics, neuroscience, global climate change, conflict, and terrorism (p. 17). Such demands not only presume a wealth of knowledge drawn from across the disciplines, but also collaborative networks of research teams.