On Saturday, I spent a lovely morning at Mount Allison talking to their Board of Governors. Afterwards, I scooted across the Nova Scotia border to Amherst, which is home to Amy’s, one of Canada’s most remarkable used bookstores. There I found a host of historical higher ed treasures (had to make a quick trip to Giant Tiger to buy a bag to get them all on the plane home), the most amusing of which was Linda Frum’s Guide to Canadian Universities, … [ Read More ]
I recently read the book A Perfect Mess: the Unlikely Ascendancy of American Higher Education by David Larabee. It’s very good – in fact, the first two chapters are for my money the best short history of pre-1900 American higher education ever written. I’m going to refer to this book a few times over the next couple of weeks. But today, I want to talk about an engaging little passage he penned about how business came to view college (that is, American … [ Read More ]
Almost since the “world-class” university paradigm was established fifteen years ago, the concept has faced a backlash. The concept was too focussed on research production, it was unidimensional, it took no account of universities’ other missions, etc. etc. Basically the argument was that if people took the world class university concept seriously, we would have a university monoculture that ignored many important facets of higher education.
The latest iteration of this backlash comes in the form of the idea of … [ Read More ]
The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) put out an interesting little piece the week before last summarizing the problems with student evaluations of teaching. It contains reasonable summary of the literature and I thought some of it would be worth looking at here.
We’ve known for awhile now that the results of student evaluations are statistically biased in various ways. Perhaps the most important way they are biased is that professors who mark more leniently get higher rankings … [ Read More ]
It’s only March, but I’m declaring the Higher Ed book of the year competition closed. No one is going to beat Tressie McMillan Cottom’s book, Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy. It is genius.
Before I start praising this book to the skies, it’s worth noting that this is a very American book. Anyone looking for insights into for-profits outside the United States should look elsewhere: the insights generated here do not translate well … [ Read More ]