JMU Campaign Strategic Plan 2014-2020 : Page 1

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 stu-dents are truly learning. Others wonder if a degree is worth rapidly rising tuitions. Still more sound alarms about spe-cific 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 seek-ing 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. So what’s going on? The answer lies in Mr. Rawlings’ assessment. America is questioning the value proposition of higher education because many universities forgot that their main purpose was to educate students. In the same speech, Rawlings also said: “Our main job at universities is educating students. We forgot that for a while.” How did this happen? Compelled by a variety of forces—including popular rank-ings, lucrative research opportunities and competitiveness among institutions—many colleges and universities encour-aged their faculty members to spend less time teaching and focus more on research and discovery. More research and dis-covery bring more money and atten-America is tion. More money and attention bring questioning greater prestige. Greater prestige allows the value institutions to become more selec-proposition tive. Being more selective attracts the of higher best students and faculty, ultimately strengthening institutional finances. education. 1

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.

Read the full article at http://browndigital.bpc.com/article/The+Current+Landscape/1800136/223226/article.html.

So What's Going On?

The answer lies in Mr. Rawlings’ assessment. America is questioning the value proposition of higher education because many universities forgot that their main purpose was to educate students. In the same speech, Rawlings also said: “Our main job at universities is educating students. We forgot that for a while.”

Read the full article at http://browndigital.bpc.com/article/So+What%27s+Going+On%3F/1800139/223226/article.html.

How Did This Happen?

Compelled by a variety of forces—including popular rankings, lucrative research opportunities and competitiveness among institutions—many colleges and universities encouraged their faculty members to spend less time teaching and focus more on research and discovery. More research and discovery bring more money and attention. More money and attention bring greater prestige. Greater prestige allows institutions to become more selective. Being more selective attracts the best students and faculty, ultimately strengthening institutional finances.

Read the full article at http://browndigital.bpc.com/article/How+Did+This+Happen%3F/1800140/223226/article.html.

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