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Friday, September 7, 2012

Inside Higher Ed: September 7, 2012
Inside Higher Ed's first-ever study of chief HR officers finds underwhelming concern about retirement issues, skepticism about the role of unions -- and a desire for a stronger strategic role for themselves on campuses.
Federal spending on the biggest student grant program surprisingly declines by $2.2 billion, even as numbers of recipients increased. But a sword still hangs over the program.
A second major MOOC provider signs deal to hold exams at physical testing centers, potentially elevating the credibility of certificates.
Some political science departments scramble to do Skype or phone interviews after cancellation of the American Political Science Association conference.
With more of an emphasis on tuition revenue, institutions focus on ways to attract students.

» Obama Sets Goal of Slowing Tuition Hikes

» GOP Congressman Suggests Student Loans Unconstitutional

» Report Faults Santa Monica College for Using Pepper Spray

» Grandparents as Source of College Funds

» Academic Minute: Ancient Dogs

Laurence Musgrove describes the complicated and ultimately rewarding nature of teaching.
For all the attention paid these days to retention and graduation, we pay so little to how teaching practices in the classroom can help nontraditional students. In the first of two essays, Mike Rose offers some guidance.
As we prepare for a new school year, many of us will write lectures either by choice or because we feel or are told we must. I confess that I don’t like to lecture; I much prefer to facilitate student discussion, which places the responsibility for learning back on the students themselves. We have all experienced mind-numbing lectures and (most of us!) have vowed not to do that to our own students, but how do we break out of the mold in which we have been shaped?
There is an extraordinary tension in our culture between individual creativity and the creative community, between originality and a shared body of knowledge, between the acts of reading culture and writing culture. And our students are caught in the middle.
This year, for the first time, we made new student orientation mandatory. By “mandatory,” I mean that a new student who doesn’t attend any of the orientation sessions would get his schedule dropped.  (Obviously, we had to run a whole bunch of sessions on different days and times, so we did.) People on campus keep commenting on how unusually smooth the first few days of class have been.
I get it. I really do. Amazon is not interested in adding education to the verticals that it wants to reinvent.
One topic I really enjoyed in my high school art class was perspective, the artistic technique used to create the illusion of depth in a picture. This is a concept that is also studied in Geometry, and it is a concept that I found myself thinking of this past week as I laughed at the fact that my daughter seems to be at a point in her life where she thinks that the world revolves around her. This perspecticve is at least partially caused by the nurturing neighborhood that we live in, where everyone’s child is important and neighbors are people to not only live next door to but to also socialize with us and support us as we live our lives on a set of a few streets way off the beaten path.
Last week I wrote about a table of figures I find highly interesting, and earlier this week I found a way to publish the table itself. At first glance, the numbers bring into question the almost universally supposed efficiency of modern agricultural practices and -- especially for those of us with active imaginations -- perhaps the supposed efficiency of modern industrial methods in general.

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Call for Comment on Accrediting Organizations Scheduled for CHEA Recognition Review (Updated)

These organizations will be reviewed at the November 19-20, 2012 meeting of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) Committee on Recognition. Third-party comment must be received in the CHEA office no later than October 15, 2012 and may be submitted by mail, fax or email to:
Council for Higher Education Accreditation
One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 510, Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202-955-6126 - Fax: 202-955-6129 - Email:
The Committee on Recognition meeting will take place at One Dupont Circle, Level 1B in Conference Room A.
CHEA recognition review includes an opportunity for parties independent of the accrediting organization under review to comment on whether the organization meets the CHEA recognition standards. Third-party comment may be either oral or written and is limited to the accrediting organization's efforts to meet the CHEA recognition standards. This may include commentary from many different sources, such as other accrediting organizations, institutions and programs, or professional or higher education associations. The comments will assist the CHEA Committee on Recognition as it considers the applications for recognition. A list of the committee on recognition members is provided here.
CHEA staff will review any third-party comment to assess its applicability to the recognition review. As provided in the 2006 and 2010 CHEA Recognition Policy and Procedures , third-party comments are reviewed by the CHEA Committee on Recognition.
"THIRD-PARTY COMMENT. Third-party comment may be either oral or written and is limited to the accrediting organization's efforts to meet the CHEA recognition standards.  All third parties requesting the opportunity to make comment related to an accrediting organization's recognition review are to notify CHEA staff and provide the names and affiliations of the persons requesting the opportunity to make third-party comment and a description of the organization(s) they represent. CHEA staff will review third-party requests for oral or written comment for completeness and applicability to eligibility and recognition standards.
Third parties who wish to appear for oral comment before the CHEA Committee on Recognition are to provide an outline of the proposed oral comment.  Where in the judgment of the Committee doing so may be useful, the Committee may invite third parties to appear before the Committee.  The accrediting organization will receive the outline of the proposed oral comment of third parties invited to appear.  Accrediting organizations will have the opportunity to review and respond to proposed oral comment.
Third parties wishing to make written comment are to provide the text of the third-party comment.  After review by CHEA staff, written comment will be provided to the Committee and the accrediting organization.  Accrediting organizations will have the opportunity to review and respond to written comment.
Third parties are to provide an outline of their oral comment or the text of their written comment in sufficient time to provide for review by CHEA staff, review and response by the accrediting organization, and for the outline or text to be provided to the Committee.
CHEA staff will notify all concerned parties of the location, date, and time of the public presentation."
Posted: August 29, 2012 Updated: September 7, 2012     


The Chronicle of Higher Education: Bulk-Purchasing E-Textbook Experiment Expands to More Colleges


Bulk-Purchasing E-Textbook Experiment Expands to More Colleges

September 5, 2012, 2:55 pm

An experimental business model for delivering e-textbooks is expanding, with some adjustments, to 26 colleges and universities this fall. The institutions will participate in a pilot project in which they will buy digital course materials in bulk from publishers to reduce costs for students, and the project’s leaders say they are dealing with obstacles faced in an earlier test of the approach.
The project is a partnership of the colleges, the Internet2 high-speed networking group, Educause, the e-book broker Courseload, and McGraw-Hill’s education-publishing division. Last spring five research universities paid $20,000 each to provide up to 1,000 students with e-books and the Courseload platform. This semester a new pricing model that charges around $35,000 for universities with more students using e-books will be added, said Greg Jackson, vice president of Educause.
The project drew mixed reviews last spring, according to a final report based on surveys of participating professors and students. While the students appreciated the e-books’ affordability, many found the technology difficult to navigate and didn’t use its collaborative features.
Mr. Jackson said the new pilot project would expand beyond research universities to a variety of other institution types, including community colleges and liberal-arts colleges.
The program has taken students’ feedback into consideration by making the Courseload e-book platform “smoother and more sophisticated,” Mr. Jackson said. Most student complaints last spring involved difficulties with searching the e-books and using them easily across a variety of devices—for example, moving from reading on a computer to reading on a mobile phone.
Of the five universities that participated in the spring pilot, three—Cornell University, the University of Virginia, and the University of Wisconsin at Madison—will continue with the fall project.
The pilot project will monitor e-books’ integration into campus technology and focus on whether e-textbooks improve student learning, according to Shel Waggener, senior vice president of Internet2.
“Is there an association between the ease of digital content and the speed by which faculty can move through material?” he said. “Does enhanced collaboration have any pedagogical impact—do students score better?”
Negotiations are under way for another pilot program in the spring of 2013 that officials hope will embrace 50 to 75 universities.
“Those of use who’ve been involved in this hope and believe that this model—which is essentially a licensing model based on institutional size—will replace individual students’ buying individual texts,” Mr. Jackson said. “That model is too cumbersome and is adding costs unnecessarily.”
Following is the list of colleges and universities participating this fall:
Baylor University (Tex.)
California State Polytechnic University at Pomona
Castleton State College (Vt.)
Colorado State University at Fort Collins
Community College of Vermont
Cornell University (N.Y.)
Dartmouth College (N.H.)
Iowa State University of Science and Technology
Madison Area Technical College (Wis.)
Miami University (Ohio)
Michigan State University
Middlebury College (Vt.)
Northern Kentucky University
Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
State University of New York at Buffalo
State University of New York at Stony Brook
University of Alaska at Anchorage
University of California at Berkeley
University of Hawaii-Manoa
University of Iowa
University of Kentucky
University of South Florida
University of Virginia
University of Wisconsin at Madison
Virginia Tech
Wichita State University (Kan.)
[Creative Commons licensed Flickr photo by Nomadic Lass]
Correction (9/5/2012, 5:44 p.m.): Because of incomplete information from the pilot project’s organizers, this article originally included imprecise names on the list of participating institutions. Among the participants are Castleton State College and the Community College of Vermont, not the Vermont State Colleges system. Also, only the University of Alaska’s Anchorage campus and the University of Hawaii’s Manoa campus are participants, not their respective systems. The list has been updated to reflect this correction.
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