The right space leads to excellence in research and instruction

Science Spaces for Students of the 21st Century

Jeanne L. Narum

Change; Sep/Oct2004, Vol. 36 Issue 5, p8-21

Creative collaborations between campus leaders and arcbitects, laboratory designers, and campus planners are resulting in a generation of spaces
for undergraduate science that contribute both to the long-term excellence of the research and instructional program and to the humanity of the campus. These spaces are enhancing efforts to attract strong students and recruit and keep first-rate faculty. They enable the integration of research and education for all students, the hallmark of strong 21 st-century undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs.

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What faculty do with their time and increasing expectations

Future work : faculty time in the 21st century

William M. Plater

Change v. 27 (May/June 1995) p. 22-33

“During the past three or four years, most faculty around the country have been engaged in serious discussions about the changing nature of our work. Often these conversations are fleeting commentaries on what is wrong with the administration or on trustee interference, spoken hastily but earnestly while waiting for a committee meeting to begin. But these concerns are also the focus of various task forces, commissions, and councils–all wrestling with not only how best to explain what faculty do with their time, but also how to respond to increased expectations for faculty work.

Effectiveness and efficiency initiative in Maryland

Higher Education’s “Accountability” Imperative: How the University System of Maryland Responded
Kirwan, William E.
Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, v39 n2 p21-25 Mar-Apr 2007.

A crucial national dialogue is under way about higher education and its role in securing America’s future. Last fall, a blue-ribbon panel on higher education, established by Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, issued a report expressing concerns that the United States could be losing its status as the world leader in postsecondary education. The panel offered far-reaching recommendations aimed at ensuring that higher education can meet its responsibilities for advancing their national security, global competitiveness, and the quality of life of their citizenry. The nation’s continued leadership in the knowledge economy can only be realized through a renewed sense of partnership between higher education and the body politic, which must include an infusion of public funds for colleges and universities. This will require a change in higher education’s approach to accountability. This article discusses the higher education’s “accountability” imperative and how the University System of Maryland (USM) responded to the challenge. USM launched an initiative effort almost two years ago, which they call their Effectiveness and Efficiency Initiative (E&E). Through this initiative, they are systematically looking at their academic and administrative processes to see how they can be re-engineered to hold down cost increases and sustain or even elevate quality. With a demonstrated commitment to cost containment, access for low-income students, and accountability for their operations and educational outcomes, they will be in a much better position to make the case that postsecondary education deserves greater support from taxpayers. So much is at stake. Higher education raises incomes and lowers poverty, creates opportunities and solves problems, reduces barriers and elevates civic engagement. Higher education changes the lives of the people who will change the world. The nation simply must find a way to ensure access for all qualified students to a high-quality higher education. Doing so is their best hope, one might say their only hope, for building a bright future for America. This is why higher education must increase the public’s confidence and financial support. And the way to do that is demonstrated willingness to embrace a new, higher standard of public accountability.

The absence of accountability

Truth Without Action: The Myth of Higher-Education Accountability
Kevin Carey
Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning.Vol. 39, n. 5, Sep-Oct 2007.

“In September 2006, the Spellings Commission on the Future of Higher Education issued an indictment of American higher education. Costs are too high, said the panel formed by Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, graduation rates too low (and lower still for low-income and minority students), and learning outcomes a mystery. Moreover, “compounding all of these difficulties is a lack of clear, reliable information about the cost and quality of postsecondary institutions, along with a remarkable absence of accountability mechanisms to ensure that colleges succeed in educating students.”

Consumer friendly transparency

Risky Business: Promises and Pitfalls of Institutional Transparency
Kuh, George D.
Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, v. 39 n. 5 p. 30-35 Sep-Oct 2007

After a year of public hearings and not-so-private debate, the National Commission on the Future of Higher Education last year proposed six sweeping recommendations to improve “the less than inspiring realities of postsecondary education” in the United States (“A Test of Leadership: Charting the Future of U.S. Higher Education,” U.S. Department of Education, September 2006). One key recommendation was creation of a “consumer-friendly information database” on issues such as cost, price, and student success, to enable prospective students to compare colleges and universities in order to make informed decisions about where to attend college. According to Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, who formed the commission, the goal is to provide answers to the kind of questions typically asked when consumers make major purchases: How much does it cost? What are the financing options? How does the “product” perform compared to others like it? Common reporting templates will likely employ institution-level data in the form of raw or adjusted average scores, depending on the measure, and, while improvement, transparency, and accountability are all desirable ends, there is always the possibility that such data can be misused or misinterpreted. In this article, the author offers three principles that will help maximize the benefit and minimize the potential mischief of making performance information public: (1) Focus on educationally meaningful indicators that are linked to student success in the context of the institution’s mission; (2) Evaluate the quality of the data on which performance indicators are based; and (3) Use performance indicators appropriately. (Contains 1 table and 10 resources.)