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Curated content on higher education presented by the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP).
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Competency-based online program at Kentucky's community colleges | Inside Higher Ed

"Kentucky's two-year colleges have added competency and self-paced elements to online offerings for working adults, proving "disruptive" approaches can work for, rather than against, colleges."

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MIT Mints a Valuable New Form of Academic Currency - Commentary - The Chronicle of Higher Education

MIT Mints a Valuable New Form of Academic Currency - Commentary - The Chronicle of Higher Education | SCUP Links |
MIT Mints a Valuable New Form of Academic Currency #SCUP...

MIT is now competing with everyone else, offering a form of credit to people who take courses using its open courseware. It's a big deal.

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Sir Ken Robinson: Alternative Education is Good Education | MindShift

Sir Ken Robinson: Alternative Education is Good Education | MindShift | SCUP Links |

Sir Ken Robinson: Alternative Education is Good Education #SCUP...

Robinson is widely respected internationally as a thinker and speaker about education. His short videos like this one are watched by millions.

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The Road Ahead: A Look at Trends in the Educational Attainment of Community College Students

The Road Ahead: A Look at Trends in the Educational Attainment of Community College Students | SCUP Links |

This is an October 11 monograph from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). At the title link, above, there are links to the full PDF document, in color or black and white. Here is a link to download the executive summary.


"This brief presents data on educational attainment at community colleges, with an eye to what the data portend. One extremely positive conclusion can be reached: Educational attainment for all key populations is increasing at community colleges. The investments made in a community college education, by individuals and by society as a whole, are paying off.


Over the past 20 years, the percent increase in credentials awarded has been double the percent increase in enrollment. These findings are even more pronounced for students of color. Consistent with other research, actual rates of transfer for students are much higher than commonly reported as well.


These gains are the result of students, schools, families, and communities working in concert. They are also the result of innumerable partnerships and initiatives in which community colleges have been or continue to be engaged. Much more work has yet to be done by these stakeholders and their supporting partners, but the path to increasing student success is not untraveled."

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Report: Catalyst for Change: The CIC/CLA Consortium

"Catalyst for Change: The CIC/CLA Consortium" is a report from the Council of Independenty Colleges and the Collegiate Learning Assement (CCA) Consortium on their work to develop "a way to measure student learning outcomes that is not overly burdensome to colleges and universities. Catalyst for Change  highlights the efforts of 47 independent colleges and universities to make voluntary use of the CLA and describes the challenges faced and “best practices” learned in using assessment results to improve teaching and learning. It follows an interim report, Evidence of Learning: Applying the Collegiate Learning Assessment to Improve Teaching and Learning in the Liberal Arts College Experience, released in 2008, that was based on the Consortium’s 2004–2008 activities. 2011, 46 pgs." 


The new report: 


The 2008 interim report:






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SCUP Book - Integrating Higher Education Planning and Assessment: A Practical Guide

SCUP Book - Integrating Higher Education Planning and Assessment: A Practical Guide | SCUP Links |

SCUP members can download this book for use on their campus, for free, as a benefit of membership. Others may purchase it for only $10.

No comment yet.! Thinking, Fast and Slow (9780374275631): Daniel Kahneman: Books

Thinking, Fast and Slow

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Any professional with planning and leadership roles should read this book for a better understanding of individuals and group dynamics.

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The Next Chapter for HBCUs: Three Imperatives | Inside Higher Ed

There has been lots of speculation about the future of HBCUs. While some of this has played out in the media, there is also an on-going conversation within this sector about what needs to happen to ensure a viable and productive future. Both conversations are sensitive in nature, saturated with nuance and divergent views concerning which directions are best. There are, however, a few clear environmental signs that demand the attention of everyone concerning the future of HBCUs regardless of one’s current position.

1. Outcomes represent the “coin of the realm”;

2. Delivery systems matter; and

3. Using data and assessment to inform decisions. [end quote]

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Boston Professor Uses Frequent Feedback From Class as Teaching Aide

Boston Professor Uses Frequent Feedback From Class as Teaching Aide | SCUP Links |
While end-of-term evaluations are common, a Boston University educator stands out for regularly soliciting students’ suggestions and fine-tuning his approach.

"[E]ven in an era when teacher evaluations and learning assessments are a hot topic in education, Dr. Zaman stands out in his constant re-engineering of his teaching: He graphs the results the day he collects them (an upward trend is visible), sends out an e-mail telling the class about any fine-tuning he plans in response to their comments, and starts the following class by discussing the feedback.

'A lot of college teaching is not very good, and everybody knows it,' he said. 'Having student evaluations at the end of the course doesn’t do anything to help it get better, and the person who does the evaluation can never benefit. To me it just seems intuitive to ask for ratings all along.'”

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Anya Kamenetz: Voice of the Alternative-to-Traditional-Higher-Ed Movement

Anya Kamenetz: Voice of the Alternative-to-Traditional-Higher-Ed Movement | SCUP Links |

You really should know more about Anya Kamenetz. She is the popular figurehead for the movement to transformative alternatives to traditional higher education. A movement that now has support in all related communities, and is getting funding.

Kamenetz’ drive is to pursue alternative education through open content and alternative accreditation systems, like badges. She points out that we cannot double higher education’s output using the current model of bricks and mortar. Simply cannot. She has said that the growth demand in India alone would require a new campus for 1,000 students every week until 2025. And she stays connected to all of the broad range of alternatives being worked on, some of them now attracting significant funding.

Kamenetz was the keynote presenter and played other roles at the start of the SCUP-award-winning University of the Pacific’s current strategic planning initiative. Video of her keynote at that Futures Symposium is available here. A Ted-X Atlanta presentation in which she supports that “university” means “community,” and then can be viewed here.

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Measuring Completion for Community Colleges: Change is in the air! | Inside Higher Ed

From Inside Higher Ed by Libby A. Nelson, who is sharing the new report out by the federal Committee on Measures of Student Success. Title link to the story, the report itself (PDF) is here.

"Key recommendations include a call for part-time, degree-seeking students at community colleges to be counted toward federally reported graduation and transfer rates (they currently are not), and for more precise counting of students who transfer out of community colleges, such as lateral transfers to other two-year institutions. The current federal rate counts only first-time, full-time students -- a population that excludes the majority of students at many community colleges and significant numbers of students at most community colleges."

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Too Big To Fail: The Role of For-Profit Colleges and Universities in American Higher Education by William G. Tierney | Change

Too Big To Fail: The Role of For-Profit Colleges and Universities in American Higher Education by William G. Tierney | Change | SCUP Links |

Tierney lays out the background and recent past of for-profit institutions, examines their growth to 12% of the industry, and lays out needed improvements for for-profits' success while arguing that they are a needed part of the higher education system going forward. A good read.

"If we agree that increased participation in higher education is critical for the country's economic and social well-being and we acknowledge that 1) the public sector is unlikely to increase its enrollments significantly and 2) the private non-profit sector is not able to meet the ambitious goals that have been set, what alternatives exist other than to ensure that the for-profit sector expands in a way that conforms to ethical industry standards?

Like it or not, the country needs the for-profit sector to ensure economic viability. If we concur, either begrudgingly or happily, that it has a role to play in maintaining the health of American higher education, then what are the key sticking points that ensure that it will do so responsibly?"

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book: Literary Study, Measurement, and the Sublime:Disciplinary Assessment | The Teagle Foundation

book: Literary Study, Measurement, and the Sublime:Disciplinary Assessment | The Teagle Foundation | SCUP Links |

An assessment book that is a free download from the Teagle Foundation: 

"What happens when the disciplines make themselves heard in the discussions of learning outcomes assessment that are ubiquitous in higher education today? What do disciplinary perspectives and methodologies have to bring to the table? This volume engages these questions from the perspective of literary study, with essays by education leaders, faculty from English and foreign language departments, and assessment experts that offer a wide range of perspectives. Together, these essays take a pulse of a discipline. They explore what is at stake in the work of assessment in the literature classroom, what we stand to gain, what we fear to lose, and whether current assessment methods can even capture the outcomes we care about most: the complex, subtle, seemingly ineffable heart of learning. They also implicitly invite teachers and scholars in other disciplines to come to the table, and carry the discussion further.

The essays in this volume are divided into four sections that focus on:

  • Outcomes assessment in the context of current national discussions of higher education and the work being done by various professional organizations.
  • Approaches to assessing "sublime learning" (that is, learning that can seem unassessable) and creativity.
  • The question of what outcomes assessment can measure in the literature classroom, as well as the theoretical and political implications of doing so.
  • Case studies and templates for the assessment of literature programs, with related discussions of the assessment of writing and foreign language acquisition."
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CLA as 'Catalyst for Change' | Inside Higher Ed

The title links to the Inside Higher Ed article. And here is the report itself, "Catalyst for Change: The CIC/CLA Consortium (PDF)." SCUPers will recall that the CLA is one of the tests that our Academically Adrift plenary speakers last July at SCUP-46 used in their research. "Catalyst for Change: The CIC/CLA Consortium 

From Inside Higher Ed: "'Over all, the initiative has involved a steady expansion -- one is tempted to say "mushrooming" -- of efforts, changes, experimentation and conversation about ways to use outcomes assessment effectively to improve teaching and learning,' says the report on the Council of Independent Colleges' experiment with the Collegiate Learning Assessment

But the report ... cites few examples in which the changes clearly produced measurable gains in student learning, and some of the participating campuses have stopped using the exam because of lingering concerns about its validity."

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Don’t Blink! The Hazards of Confidence | The New York Times

Don’t Blink! The Hazards of Confidence | The New York Times | SCUP Links |

Could not more highly recommend a 30-minute digression to your weekend. Why do professionals insist on traditional processes even in the face of evidence showing that predictions about outcomes are worthless?

"[T]he exaggerated expectation of consistency is a common error. We are prone to think that the world is more regular and predictable than it really is, because our memory automatically and continuously maintains a story about what is going on, and because the rules of memory tend to make that story as coherent as possible and to suppress alternatives. Fast thinking is not prone to doubt.

The confidence we experience as we make a judgment is not a reasoned evaluation of the probability that it is right. Confidence is a feeling, one determined mostly by the coherence of the story and by the ease with which it comes to mind, even when the evidence for the story is sparse and unreliable. The bias toward coherence favors overconfidence. An individual who expresses high confidence probably has a good story, which may or may not be true."

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