You may have noticed stories in the press recently about the government of Japan asking national universities to shut down their humanities faculties. Such stories have appeared in the Times Higher Ed, Time, and Bloomberg. Most of these stories have been accompanied by commentary about how shortsighted this is: don’t the Japanese know that life is complex, and that we need humanities for synthesis, etc.? A lot of these stories are also tinged with a hint of early-1990s “these uncultured … [ Read More ]
One of the easiest things to do in policy is to advocate for policy X, so as to change effect Y. One of the hardest things to do is to get people to explain clearly their theory of change. That is, what are the steps by which changing X actually affects Y?
Take performance-based funding. It’s easy to get hot for the idea that organizations can be steered by offering incentives: if you pay schools for students, they’ll raise enrolment. … [ Read More ]
As the price of oil continues to plummet, just a few thoughts on the financial implications for universities.
In provinces that are oil importers, the effect is likely net positive, slightly. Economic growth should be a little bit above trend, inflation will fall a bit, and those factors will make it easier for provincial governments to balance budgets this year, without turning to cuts.
In provinces that are exporters, an oil price drop will likely affect the budget in two … [ Read More ]
Why do we give people student loans and grants? Is it to help them get knowledge, or just credentials? That question is subject to much debate in Washington right now. At issue is whether student assistance helps or hinders innovation in higher education; at stake are potentially billions of dollars in public funding.
Let’s rewind a bit here: student aid in the US is governed by something that goes by the name of “Title IV” (meaning, essentially, chapter IV of … [ Read More ]
I just finished reading quite a good little book, Universities and Regional Development, edited by (among others) OISE’s Glen Jones. Analytically, it’s useful for a couple of reasons: first, it gets beyond universities as single-entity black boxes when it comes to engaging with external stakeholders; also, it does a good job of emphasizing history and path-dependence as under-analyzed variables in explaining change (or lack thereof) in higher education.
One thing that struck me, however, was the tone of some of … [ Read More ]