JMU Campaign — Strategic Plan 2014-2020
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The Current Landscape

Every week another think tank, research center or advocacy group issues a new report on what’s wrong with America’s system of higher education. Some question whether students are truly learning. Others wonder if a degree is worth rapidly rising tuitions. Still more sound alarms about specific challenges, including disruptive technologies—among others. Why all the increased scrutiny?

As reported by The Chronicle of Higher Education on Nov. 12, 2013, Hunter R. Rawlings III, president of the Association of American Universities offered this answer in a speech: “Tuition increases have caused the public to be angry, or skeptical at least, about the quality and the value proposition that they’re getting,” Combine these tuition increases with the fact that many graduates can’t find jobs in the Great Recession’s wake, it’s no wonder diagnosing higher education’s ills is the new national pastime.

Yet, at the same time, more Americans than ever are seeking degrees. A college degree is viewed widely as essential to success, and many sectors of society rely heavily on higher education to credential its rising members.