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Posted at 2:46 PM ET, 02/27/2011

Fixing higher ed: U-Va. and U-Md. weigh in

By Daniel de Vise

In an article published last week in The Washington Post Magazine, I offered eight suggestions to "fix" higher education. After reading the article, you can rank the ideas in a poll, which you will find farther down on this blog.

For the article, I sought help from several great leaders and thinkers. Some submitted their own thoughts on how to improve higher education. I'm posting them this week. Here are the 10th and 11th.

These two submissions are more bullet-point outlines than full essays. I'll present them as written.

First, we hear from a student: Steve Glickman, student body president a the University of Maryland. He submitted the following ideas, collected from the university's Student Government Association. Steve_Glickman.jpg

1. Reallocation of resources at universities in the light of budget crises -- by holding intra-institutional competition for the money (the department(s) that receive the money will be the one that has proven they are the most successful/have the most potential).

2. Merit pay for professors that uses student performance and student satisfaction as the main criterion for award.

3. Tougher restrictions on what is classified as a degree-granting institution or a school that students can qualify for FAFSA aid (current move toward online universities like University of Phoenix is bad because quality of education drops and so does degree worth).

4. Eliminate barriers to entry for lower and lower-middle income families by increasing Pell grants and other federal assistance.

5. Increased focus on K-12 education and fixing the "race to the bottom" paradigm present in schools today (e.g. getting rid of standardized tests for the sake of standardized tests and implementing similar programs to the Race to the Top $4.3 billion investment in local schools).

6. More international collaboratives (between institutions in the U.S. and internationally) as well as public-private sector exchange (e.g. Maryland's strategic relationship with Lockheed) to allow for more effective, more efficacious sharing of intellectual capital and increased research monies.

7. More aggressive fund-raising efforts through multiple means, primarily through alumni.

8. Reform intercollegiate athletics (e.g. Knight Commission).

Second, we hear from an education-school scholar: Margaret Miller, executive editor of Change magazine and a scholar at the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education. Margaret_Miller.jpg

1. To address students' rising costs, colleges and universities should agree to not spend tuition or student-fee revenues on athletics.

2. To reduce the incentives for mission creep and competition for the "best" (i.e., the most privileged) students, colleges and universities should refuse to participate in ranking systems.

3. To improve teaching and learning, disciplinary societies should create sample learning goals, standards, rubrics, and assessment methods for their fields.

4. To reduce remediation, colleges should work with high schools on coordinating the Common Core Standards with their college-ready standards.

5. To meet the President's attainment goals without compromising the quality of the college degree, colleges should assess student learning, use the results to improve instruction, and assess again--and make all results public.

6. To improve learning and lower the costs of "gateway" course, colleges should adopt the principles of course redesign promulgated by the National Center for Academic Transformation.

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By Daniel de Vise  | February 27, 2011; 2:46 PM ET
Categories:  Administration, Aid, Athletics, Attainment, Development, Finance, Labor, Research, Technology  | Tags:  UMD fixing higher ed, UVA fixing higher ed, fixing higher education, higher education reform, washington post fixing higher education  
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Those aged 18-24 are not "kids" so they shouldn't be called that word. Steve Glickman is correct about standardized tests in schools because it is more important that girls and boys understand the material than be taught how to pass a test. I'm not sure about his merit pay solution regarding professors because what matters is the professor teaching the course correctly rather than using the criteria of student achievement. The international collaborations bullet point sounds like "mumbo-jumbo" than like a sensible solution. Making information public shouldn't be given as much priority that Steve Glickman did because what is more important is student achievement.

Posted by: LibertyForAll | February 27, 2011 10:19 PM | Report abuse

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