More colleges to close. Reality or hype?

Moody’s has released a report arguing that revenue problems will triple the annual number of small colleges to close through 2017. An average of 5 colleges each year have closed over the past decade. With the attention Sweet Briar attracted before ultimately deciding not to close, the issue of college closures is top of mind lately. However, the question remains: what is the likelihood of more colleges closing?

Photo credit: Sweet Briar College

I agree with Moody’s analysis if not their conclusions.

The power of experiential education

When teaching, one of the challenges faculty across disciplines face is how to help students understand the complexity of the problems they must address. Students often come to higher education focused on finding the right (and simple) answer after years of filling out bubble sheets in K-12 education. The goal for faculty is to design a learning environment that helps students apply and transfer their learning. We have to develop opportunities that help students bridge the sterile academic environment with the messiness of the real world. This is where experiential education can prove useful. In today’s post, I want to share about the power of experiential education to help students demonstrate and apply their content mastery.

So what is experiential education?

Intentionally Designed Educational Activities

Few college faculty receive training on how to teach. In graduate school, we learn about conceptual theories and research methodologies, but almost nothing about teaching and learning. As a result, most of us just try to do the best we can mimicking the styles of our faculty mentors. While the empirical research on teaching and learning has improved dramatically, faculty still have a hard time accessing this work easily and in a timely fashion. This is why we wrote Teaching for Learning: 101 Intentionally Designed Educational Activities to Put Students on the Path to Success.

Instructors need to be able to more readily access activities based on the growing body of empirical research on how to best teach students.

Sneak peek at my new book: Teaching for Learning

I’m very excited that my new book is out, Teaching for Learning:  101 Intentionally Designed Educational Activities to Put Students on the Path to Success. Co-authored with my good friends and colleagues Claire Major and Todd Zakrajsek,  the book offers proven tips and strategies for faculty to use when teaching. Each of the IDEAs (get it? Intentionally Designed Educational Activities) is based on the latest research on teaching and learning. In addition, we offer research summaries of each instructional category so faculty can better understand the empirical evidence in support of a given pedagogical approach. In today’s post, I’m offering you a sneak peak at one of the IDEAs in the book that you won’t find in other teaching books. I hope you enjoy it!

Photo credit: Blondinrikard Froberg

Why salary is a bad way to judge higher education’s success

The Obama administration has released a new College Scorecard web page that provides some additional data not previously available. The Scorecard takes the place of the Department of Education’s failed rating plan that largely collapsed under its own weight, the objections of college leaders, and Congressional leaders from both parties. Unfortunately, the new web page continues the administration’s higher education policy and rhetoric focusing on the economic importance of higher education.  To that end, the new system provides information regarding the income of students six and ten years after they enrolled in higher education.  In today’s post, I will discuss why salary is a bad way to judge higher education’s success.

Photo credit: Thomas Galvez

I object to the salary measure on both philosophical and practical grounds.