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Education & Campus Issues

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Copy and Share Everything
CURRENTS Article The University of Melbourne's "Collision" brand campaign shows that the university is a research institution tackling the world's challenges; Rice University's Owl Edge Externships help undergraduates explore career opportunities and engage more alumni volunteers in the process; and Cheshire Academy's "One Word. One Gift." campaign asks supporters to submit a single word to describe their Cheshire experience and make an annual fund gift in honor of their chosen term.

Gifts in Kind
CURRENTS Article Remember the stress of your freshman exams? So does the alumni relations team at Western University in Canada, who thought a little bit of kindness and inspiration might make students smile and connect with alumni. During winter finals in 2016, the team solicited alumni to write postcards to students living in their old residence hall.

Crazy, Super, Cool
CURRENTS Article With 2016 coming to a close, Currents wanted to reflect on this year’s amazing innovations at universities around the world. Our favorites include a pizza ATM, software to help you pronounce names, innovative helmets, windows made with wood, and microchips engraved with donor names sent into space.

CURRENTS Article Advice on editorial policies for sources reviewing stories; a website that generates inflated university titles; and acknowledgement of the struggles many students face in juggling studies and outside responsibilities.

Odds and Ends: Lighting a Communications Fire
CURRENTS Article Actor Alan Alda is using improvisational theater techniques to teach science and medical professionals how to discuss their work in a clear and relatable manner.

Talking Points: Baby Blues
CURRENTS Article Student parents are far less likely to graduate than students without children: Only one-third of student parents graduate with a degree or certificate within six years of enrollment, compared with more than half of their nonparent counterparts. With 4.8 million undergraduates raising dependent children, access to affordable, reliable, and high-quality child care is critical to those students' educational success—and institutions need to pay attention.

Now That’s Higher Education
CURRENTS Article Finding space for an expanding campus can be a tall order, but the future is looking up for some urban institutions.

Are You Talking to Me?
CURRENTS Article Sing London has given voice to 35 statues across London and Manchester through the Talking Statues project that launched in August 2014. It hopes to expand the project to U.S. cities and to scale the program for college and university campuses.

Odds and Ends: Investigating Inventiveness
CURRENTS Article Walter Isaacson on technology—and why smartphones won’t make us zombies

Odds and Ends: Liberal Arts Lion
CURRENTS Article In his latest book, Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters, Wesleyan University President Michael S. Roth tackles the current criticism of the American educational tradition by digging into its history.

Odds and Ends: Culture Club
CURRENTS Article As institutions of higher education expand overseas, they will need to apply the lessons of business, says Costco co-founder Jim Sinegal, who retired in 2012. He still spends about half his time engaged with the company and also works with business schoools at several institutions, including Seattle University and San Diego State University, his alma mater.

Talking Points: How to Grow More Graduates
CURRENTS Article A recent report from the Milken Institute shows higher concentrations of degree holders in metropolitan areas offer better wages not only for college graduates, but also for those who didn't invest in postsecondary schooling. Yet data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development indicates that there aren’t enough college-educated young adults in the United States to sustain these benefits in the future. An economist argues that the answer isn’t just in reducing the cost of college—it’s in supporting students in pre-K through the 12th grade too.

Talking Points: It Really Does Take a Village
CURRENTS Article The United States faces an educational crisis: College completion rates are plummeting. A key contributing factor? Students are entering college unprepared. A 2012 study by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities suggests that its member institutions can help, and they should take a more prominent role in helping pre-K through 12th grade school systems produce students that are fully prepared to succeed in college.

Odds and Ends: Radical Rhee
CURRENTS Article In this Q-and-A format interview, Michelle Rhee, education activist and former chancellor of Washington, D.C.'s public schools, discusses her new book, Radical: Fighting to Put Students First; what she's learned from her time in the spotlight and from being the focus of public criticism; why she thinks she's a radical; what people misunderstand about her; and more.

Office Space: Meet the (Student) Press
CURRENTS Article This article looks at why it's important to have a good relationship with the campus newspaper and offers tips on building a positive and professional rapport.

Odds and Ends: News and Views
CURRENTS Article In this interview, Cokie Roberts, NPR senior news analyst, talks to CURRENTS about her volunteer and philanthropic work with Save the Children, being an alumna of a women’s college, and the state of journalism today.

Outlook: The Shortfall
CURRENTS Article The director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce cites a recent study by the center showing that the United States will come up 3 million degrees short of the 22 million new college graduates needed for employment in 2018. Anthony P. Carnevale argues that all institutions of higher education should work to fill the void.

Talking Points: Voluntary Measures
CURRENTS Article Ten years since its inception, the Bologna Process can boast many achievements, particularly with respect to quality assurance.

The Giving Gap
CURRENTS Article Some of the circumstances that keep alumni giving participation rates low at public institutions cannot be changed. But what circumstances can be changed? In this story, various public universities share strategies that helped them to increase alumni participation and giving.

Talking Points: Funding Efficiency
CURRENTS Article The U.S. Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act puts the federal government in charge of student loans, and uses the resultant savings for a variety of priority higher education programs, including increased Pell Grant allotments and dedicated funding to community colleges and minority-serving institutions.

Odds and Ends: Summit and the City
CURRENTS Article In an interview with CURRENTS, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg talks about the importance of education and how it affects New York City.

Rethinking Reform
CURRENTS Article James C. Garland, retired president of Miami University of Ohio, discusses the problems he perceives with the typical business plan of today's public higher education institutions. He proposes a student subsidy system that would give state funding directly to needy students and let them choose which public institution to attend. Public colleges and universities would have to compete for state dollars, which would mean they would either improve and offer more value to students or eventually shut their doors.

Talking Points: Standards that Fit
CURRENTS Article Traditional outcome measures, particularly those collected at the federal level, inadequately capture the breadth and varied missions of community colleges. Community college leaders are working on developing new metrics by which to measure their institutions.

Advance Work: Table the Discussion
CURRENTS Article The U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics QuickStats tool allows users to create tables based on several U.S. postsecondary school datasets.

Say the Word
CURRENTS Article From discourse to taking course

Odds and Ends: Capitol Ideas
CURRENTS Article In this time of economic recovery, a United States senator talks about higher education as the key to solving some of the country's issues, while at the same time, asking the academy to be innovative in its approach.

Advance Work: A Community Evolves
CURRENTS Article A recent report found that during their time in community college, many students raise their education goals.

Advance Work: Keeping Tabs
CURRENTS Article Officials at the University of Kentucky are trying a new way to identify students at risk of dropping out or transferring in an effort to help them stay put.

Closing Remarks: Higher Expectations
CURRENTS Article The president of Lane College in Tennessee describes the vital role played by historically black colleges and universities in transforming high-risk populations.

Talking Points: Change Is Good
CURRENTS Article This column deals with the complexities of the credit transfer process throughout higher education.

Closing Remarks: Empires of the Mind
CURRENTS Article A former college president writes a letter to the next U.S. president about the need to demonstrate a love for education.

Springboard for Life
CURRENTS Article This article focuses on public perceptions--and misperceptions--of community colleges and explores how these institutions fit into the overall landscape of higher education in the United States. It also looks at what community colleges are doing to combat some negative images that persist about them.

Talking Points: Caught Up
CURRENTS Article This article provides an overview of the student loan scandal, which started with an investigation of potential conflicts of interest between higher ed and the lending industry and expanded to alumni associations in an effort to determine whether these groups are steering students toward specific loan consolidation companies in exchange for certain benefits.

Was the Discussion the Dog that Didn't Bark?
CURRENTS Article The expresssion "the dog that didn't bark" means that sometimes what is not said is more important than what is said. Spellings Commission member Robert Zemsky expands upon the commission's initial discussion to talk about dislodging events and where to go from here.

Is Higher Education Still Higher Education?
CURRENTS Article U.S. higher education has always been regarded as the best in the world. But is that still true? Education expert Eugene Hickok asks this provocative question and discusses ways that institutions can regain their quality and standing.

Debate and Tackle
CURRENTS Article This issue of CURRENTS steps back from the day-to-day business of advancement to consider higher education in a broader context and examine issues that could affect the future of advancement. This introduction summarizes the discussion.

Closing Remarks: Training Versus Education
CURRENTS Article There is no denying that a postsecondary education opens the door to better jobs and better pay. And the traditional liberal arts education is turning out to be the best kind of learning for today's jobs. Author Anthony Carnevale, an economist and educator, explains not only the differences between training and education, but also the divergent social, political, and economic effects of emphasizing one over the other.

Talking Points: Common Ground
CURRENTS Article This article describes the Bologna Process and its impact on European higher education as well as its possible impact on U.S. higher ed. The Bologna Process seeks to make European countries' various national higher education systems more compatible with each other, to create a European Higher Education Area (EHEA) by 2010, and to increase the competitiveness of European educational systems and their graduates.

Closing Remarks: Fulfilling the Promise
CURRENTS Article Marketing and Communication Vice Chancellor Larry Lauer posits that higher education institutions need to function like learning organizations to survive and thrive. That is, they need to look beyond their ivy-covered walls to identify trends, ideas, and threats. They also need to bring to campus thought leaders in a myriad of disciplines, not just academic.

Soul Story
CURRENTS Article This article looks at how spirituality has become an important factor for campuses to consider when marketing to and communicating with prospective students. The article points out that it’s not necessarily religion that students are looking for, but help in finding meaning in their lives and support and help in developing their values and ideals and beliefs. Religion and faith may or may not be a part of it, but students are looking to college to help them in ways that go beyond academics, and, the author argues, it’s the job of campus marketers to be keenly aware of this market, to understand how their motivations intersect with what their campuses offer, and to learn to talk about these intersections in compelling ways. The article is based in large part on data and the premise of a UCLA/Higher Education Research Institute project/study, “Spirituality in Higher Education: A National Study of College Students’ Search for Meaning and Purpose.”

Closing Remarks: Looking Ahead
CURRENTS Article This excerpt from Daniel Yankelovich's speech at the 2006 CASE Summit for Advancement Leaders addresses several challenges in the next few years that will affect U.S. higher education, including the age shift of students and the lack of science and technology graduates.

Talking Points: The Road More Traveled
CURRENTS Article The "gap year" is a long-held British tradition that is taking hold in the United States. Although no definitive figures exist, anecdotal evidence suggests that it is a becoming a popular option for U.S. students. This article examine why students opt to take a gap year, what they do during their time off, how they pay for it, and how they can make the most of the experience.

Spelling It Out
CURRENTS Article No accountability discussion these days would be complete without mentioning the Spellings Commission on the Future of Higher Education. The article examines the nature and wide range of the Commission's work, but in particular looks at the idea of national standards as one way to measure the government’s return on investment and to assess institutional effectiveness. The article suggests that if higher education can succeed in designing and carrying out a comparative system of standards of excellence, it could reclaim the definition of academic excellence long held hostage by commercial rankings.

Talking Points: Stamp and Deliver
CURRENTS Article In light of the Spellings Commission on the Future of Higher Education and in an era where accountability is a hot-button issue, it's important to understand accreditation. This article provides an overview of the complex subject--what it is, how the process works, why it’s important, and how it's changing. The article explains that accreditation is a process for assessing and enhancing academic and educational quality through voluntary peer review.

Closing Remarks: Plugging Leaks
CURRENTS Article This column explores a study that finds that the education level of the U.S. workforce is likely to drop over the next 15 years if current education gaps persist.

Talking Points: Systemic Change
CURRENTS Article Since its creation thirty years ago, the Carnegie Classification has provided a single approach to characterizing the diversity of U.S. higher education in the United States. Although it has proven useful for many purposes, it is not the only way that institutions can or should be seen as similar or different. For this and other reasons, including misuse of the system as an indicator of quality, the Carnegie Foundation recently revamped the system and introduced a new, more flexible way to describe campuses. This article describes the rationale for the new classifications, how the system will work, and how it will continue to evolve.

Uncertain Times
CURRENTS Article Institutions of higher education are under increasing financial and competitive pressure, and this trend will push advancement to the forefront on campuses around the globe. This book excerpt addresses how these changes will affect what you do, and how you do it.

Grading the American Higher Education System
CURRENTS Article Ultimately, making quality education available to more students from diverse backgrounds depends on how well the American education system addresses a range of problems that limit the college preparedness of many young people. This articles talks about how to do this, and why it is important.

Giving Up on Letting Go
CURRENTS Article On campus, in the press, and in society at large, parents often are blamed for not letting go of their children, for being too pushy and overinvolved. But contrary to popular belief, kids don't want their parents to let go, and the "helicopter parent" phenomenon may be related to changing notions of adulthood. College is no longer considered the threshold to adulthood, researchers say. This article traces the historical and societal changes in the way parents relate to their college-age children and their institutions, from in loco parentis to the passage of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act in the early 1970s to recent challenges to FERPA. It also examines the emotional and financial drivers behind helicopter parents.

Closing Remarks: Instruments of Education
CURRENTS Article For-profit education, which the author says predates traditional academe, has an important niche in education. In the early part of the 20th century, trade schools provided much-needed services often absent from other institutions. Today, many educate students in the arts, literature, and music as well as trades. For-profit institutions are thriving in part because they conduct aggressive marketing initiatives, focus on enhancing public awareness, and put students first in both teaching and in customer-service interactions while they deliver quality education. Further, the author contends that customer service and quality education can work together and institutions can be responsive without being irresponsible.

Holding the Line
CURRENTS Article It's the best and worst of times for U.S. community college leaders. Even as they enjoy attention and recognition from national leaders and enroll greater numbers of students--including students who could have attended four-year colleges--they must contend with state budget cuts, tuition increases that threaten access for low-income students, competitive pressures from nonprofit and for-profit education institutions, and calls for greater accountability.

Closing Remarks: Mind the Gap
CURRENTS Article Separate focus groups of governors and higher education leaders revealed a serious divide between their assessments of higher education's most pressing issues. Campus CEOs were most concerned with funding; the governors cited college costs, quality, and accountability. The author urges both groups to seek new approaches that alleviate both sets of concerns, such as by pairing decreased funding with increased autonomy. Furthermore, he recommends that campus CEOs acknowledge higher education's problems and get involved in formulating solutions before lawmakers impose solutions upon them.

The Missing Link
CURRENTS Article Accreditation is not something alumni officers typically think about, but one alumni officer's involvement in the process led him to understand how accreditation can foster a closer relationship between alumni and alumni relations officers and the overall academic enterprise.

Closing Remarks: Storm Warnings
CURRENTS Article Current economic woes in education, while possibly transient, obscure clear indications of a far more troubling issue: Today, when at least 70 percent of high school graduates enter postsecondary institutions and the U.S. depends on sophisticated and knowledgeable workers, we appear to believe that higher education is not a public good but merely a private benefit to individuals. It’s striking how little public notice and attention this trend--and the questions it raises--have received. Few leaders, the media, and taxpayers consider privatization to be serious or its consequences severe. It’s high time that public academe’s leaders take action that will prevent the extinction of public institutions.

Two Perspectives on Legacy Admissions
CURRENTS Article The college admissions process and media coverage of it has reached fever pitch in recent years. The controversy over legacy admissions is a particular point of contention among academics and constituents alike. Two campus administrators examine both sides of the legacy issue in this pro/con article.

AdvanceWork: Web Watch
CURRENTS Article A roundup of new and notable Web sites includes ones that provide nonprofit tax forms to the public, language translation assistance, news on philanthropy and higher education, and a dictionary of fund-raising terms.

Closing Remarks: Reform School Classmates
CURRENTS Article Despite economic woes in the early 21st century, higher education must remain committed to the reform of elementary and secondary education. The issues that are most suited for collaboration involve remedial education, recruiting and retaining minority students, and teacher education. Exemplary K-16 programs are underway in El Paso, Texas, and Long Beach, California. This Closing Remarks column is of interest to chief advancement officers and managers of development, communications, alumni, and advancement services programs.

Talking Points: Rising Concern
CURRENTS Article A University of Pennsylvania professor explores grade inflation—its long history, its pervasiveness, its causes, and possible solutions. He places blame on professors' relaxed standards and academe's obsession with research rather than teaching. Left unchecked, grade inflation dilutes the value of a degree. This Talking Points column is of interest to PR and media relations officers and advancement managers concerned about education issues and credibility.

Talking Points: The Lure of Early Admission
CURRENTS Article Increasingly students use early action and early admission to improve their chances of getting accepted to a college or university. Critics charge that these programs benefit the institutions more than the students, however, because they raise yield numbers, which affect rankings, and they prevent students from comparing financial aid packages when choosing a campus.

Closing Remarks: A War On Words
CURRENTS Article In this Closing Remarks column, the author, president of Emory University, shares his opinion that campuses must remain bastions of free speech, especially when doing so is unpopular. His piece was penned in response to a November 2001 report by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni that cited instances of “disloyal or unpatriotic” comments emanating from U.S. colleges and universities about the September 11 terrorist attacks and their aftermath.

Measure for Measure
CURRENTS Article Comparing the performance of education institutions is difficult. Without a readily accepted measure of how well campuses teach or how well students learn, observers are forced to rely on indirect indicators of institutional quality—such as endowment, selectiveness, the number of books in the library, and so forth. The authors discuss accreditation, rankings, bond ratings, and other measures, and report on the controversial role of advancement in measurement.

Closing Remarks: Humanities, Harmony, and Home
CURRENTS Article Ferris, chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities, describes how the information revolution and changing demographics are shaping the future of the United States, and describes the implications of these two forces on higher education.

Talking Points: Where Are We Heading?
CURRENTS Article Seeing the future of higher education

Closing Remarks: Coming to Terms
CURRENTS Article In a humorous piece, Ebersole suggests reasons college presidents should serve no longer than five years.

Talking Points: Is Everyone Cheating?
CURRENTS Article The increase in student cheating is harming higher education’s image. Factors such as technology, weakened teacher-student relationships, and business models of education have contributed to campus dishonesty. To address the problem, faculty members need clear administrative support. Administrators can demonstrate their commitment by developing and enforcing an honor code and establishing equitable policies for handling infractions. The article includes ideas for involving students in promoting integrity.

Meeting the Global Challenge
CURRENTS Article Recent economic and political changes in Mexico hold promise for the nation’s universities, but private fund raising will be crucial to fulfilling that promise. The author provides an overview of the history and current status of higher education and philanthropy in Mexico, and argues that institutions will need to expand their advancement efforts in order to prosper.

Talking Points: Make Love, Not War
CURRENTS Article Today's new breed of protesters often passes up long hair, love beads, and Birkenstocks for business suits and cell phones.

Talking Points: Quality Assurance
CURRENTS Article Miller summarizes the development of interest in documenting institutional quality in terms of student learning results. Interest in assessing student learning began increasing in the 1980s. States began to require public institutions to add learning assessment programs, and regional accrediting agencies started emphasizing measures of institutional effectiveness. In the 1990s, states began to rely on standardized performance measures, such as retention and graduation rates. This has all occurred as higher education in general has experienced a greater emphasis on learning, increased interest in teaching over research, and serious competition from alternative education providers.

Closing Remarks: Reality Check
CURRENTS Article Some states have adopted a single measurement -- the six-year graduation rate -- to gauge the effectiveness of their public institutions. Koch, president of Old Dominion University, argues that use of this single measurement can present an inaccurate picture of the success of institutions with a high proportion of nontraditional students. Koch concludes that public pressure to increase graduation rates poses a risk to higher education.

Sound Off: Miracle Workers
CURRENTS Article Columbia College president Brouder encourages advancement professionals to be entrepreneurial thinkers, and to keep abreast of the often wide-ranging issues that may influence their institutions and their work. These issues range from college costs, the value of higher education, the new uses of technology on campuses, and delivery of services and programs to nontraditional students.

In Advance: The Toilet on The Bell Tower
CURRENTS Article Famous campus pranks—and the former students who committed them

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