Chronicle of Higher Education
Power of the Professoriate
Tim Cain was interviewed for “The Latest Assault on Tenure,” published in The Chronicle of Higher Education on February 16, 2020. The article explores changes in academic norms that enable institutions to lay-off tenured faculty to prevent financial exigency rather than as a response to it.
While the article focuses on small, private colleges, Cain cautioned there could be potential effects on public universities where state appropriations have been repeatedly cut over the past four decades. He noted, “As we reshape our institutions, oftentimes without substantial or significant faculty input, we are further eroding the power of the tenured faculty.”
Exploring the Middle Ground
Former postdoctoral associate Brendan Cantwell and Barrett Taylor (PhD 2012) were featured in several articles this spring in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Their research on statewide funding patterns in higher education was cited in “Can ‘White Resentment’ Help Explain Higher-Education Cuts?” in January 27, 2020 issue.
While the interpretation of the data is provocative, Taylor also highlighted their novel approach. Their work fits between camps of policy research: those researchers that “assum[e] that policy makers are acting in good faith” and those that are “very comfortable thinking about higher education as part of the culture war.” Taylor said, “trying to combine those two is relatively new.”
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Chilling Effects in Alaska
Denisa Gándara (PhD 2016) was quoted in an article in The Atlantic on budget woes for Alaska's university system.
According to Gándara, the highly publicized budget cuts approved by the governor, and his advice to the system to diversify its revenue stream more, will hurt higher education and the Alaskan workforce. The article paraphrases her comments, “The state recognizes that its reliance on oil is unsustainable and higher education is one of the best ways to prepare people for nonoil-related jobs needed to fix that problem.”
These factors have a compounding negative impact. “Students may worry about the institution’s stability, which could lead to reduced enrollment, and it may make it harder for [the school] to receive grants for research if there’s this perception that the universities don’t have the actual capacity,” said Gándara.
Inside Higher Ed Podcast: The Key
Play Ball… maybe
Welch Suggs (PhD 2009) and podcast host, Paul Fain, explored forces factoring into athletic program decisions and some possible approaches for sports this fall.
Suggs acknowledged the considerable disparity in resources and prioritization of athletics during a global pandemic, societal unrest against racial injustice, and budgetary uncertainty around campuses. He noted, “There are still more question marks than periods.”
AJC: Get Schooled Blog
Bringing Everyone Back
Greg Wolniak co-wrote a recent post to the Atlanta Journal Constitution's “Get Schooled” blog. In collaboration with Matthew Mayhew, he offers five steps institutions can take to help students return to college in the middle of a pandemic.
Their post, Five Ways to Get Low-income Students Back to College during COVID-19, includes recommendations to clarify tuition policies, financial aid processes, fees assessments, and support for working students with family responsibilities.
Based on research for their recent book, they hypothesized that higher education will experience a “golden boomerang” effect among students from wealthier families. However, students from lower-income backgrounds might discontinue their education or pursue less expensive online programs or community colleges close to home.
People Behind the Names
Marion Fedrick, Ed.D. student and president of Albany State University, was quoted throughout a post on the University System of Georgia (USG) appointed team investigating the naming at all its campus buildings and schools. Fedrick, who will chair the Name Advisory Group, noted that she anticipates some difficult conversations as they review the nearly 3000 buildings on 26 USG campuses. She said, “We must make sure every student who shows up to our campuses is not only accepted but feels accepted, that they feel a part of the culture.”
Georgia Senate Study Committee
President Emeritus and IHE faculty member Charles Knapp made a presentation entitled, Economic Impact of Increased College Completion, to the Georgia Senate Higher Education Outcomes Study Committee. Senator P.K. Martin presided over the meeting, held on November 21, 2019 at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education on November 21, 2019.
The Study Committee was formed by Georgia Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan to the changing labor markets and evolving requirements for higher education including continuing education, certifications, and degrees.
Knapp has been working with fellow IHE faculty member Greg Wolniak and Jeff Humphreys of the Terry College of Business on a grant supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to study the relationship between Georgia postsecondary education and economic development.
The November presentation provided interim results from the UGA study, highlighting the strong relationship between postsecondary attainment and economic growth as well as making a number of policy recommendations, including most notably the implementation of a needs based scholarship program in Georgia. The major report from the grant is available at https://ihe.uga.edu/power-potential.
Spencer Posts Video Challenge
George Spencer answered the call put forth by the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) for three-minute videos that distill a vision for what full participation in higher education should look like and how it can be achieved.
Spencer highlights the need for optimal transfer pathways that minimize or eliminate credit hour loss. His research indicates that statewide articulation agreements can be effective, but they need to be more robust and widespread. He also notes that students need to know what transfer pathways exist. Spencer anticipates that, as students continue to balance health and education during the pandemic, mobility and nontraditional pathways to degrees will become increasingly common.
View the video at https://youtu.be/yY9dCeyRGvU.