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College Administrators’ Priorities Not Always The Students


How much do top college administrators care about their students? The results of a recent Gallup survey of college presidents are pretty revealing. While most college presidents acknowledge that tuition cost and academic preparedness are some of the biggest hindrances to student success, few want to try MOOCs—the method many hope might alleviate both problems.

Only eight percent of college presidents “strongly agreed” that the cost of higher education is affordable. And nearly 68 percent think that the biggest barrier for high school students is being academically unprepared for higher education. But only three percent “strongly agree” that MOOCs will improve the learning of all students, and only eight percent “strongly agree” that they will cut what students spend on higher education.

Perhaps this makes sense, given the following stats. Only 65 percent of college presidents think it is “very important” that graduates of their institution get a job; only 58 percent think it is “very important” that students graduate from their institution; and only 39 percent think the price of their institution’s degree is “very important” to the quality of the institution.

We’re not quite sure what these leaders are doing with their enviable roles if 100 percent of them aren’t clamoring to prove they think it is “very important” for their graduates to get a job, or graduate, or attend an affordable institution. And, though it’s still too soon to tell whether MOOCs can alleviate tuition costs and academic gaps—there are some early positive signs. If not this, we wonder what other methods administrators are considering for addressing these very real problems. All in all, a very worrisome picture of the leaders of the higher education institution.

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  • Nick Bidler

    Why, it’s almost as though a monopoly drives up prices and reduces quality. But that’s impossible, because we’re Good Democrats, full of concern for the poor and disadvantaged.


  • Lorenz Gude

    I never thought that they would be so shameless to admit that don’t care about the primary function of their organizations. I mean, don’t they know enough to lie to pollsters? I suggest that MOOCs need a rival accreditation organization with a board focused on securing for society the actual benefits of higher education which would include maintaining uncompromising standards. The board of such an organization should be primarily people who are willing to actually pay for the output of graduate’s MOOC based degrees. Let the the brick and mortar institutions sink or swim.

  • Kelly Hall

    I know that those in higher ed are reputed to have an “ivory tower” mentality, but this confirms it beyond question. They must think that tenure actually shields them from the vicissitudes of the real world, and that their institutions are immune from the laws of economics.
    Don’t they have any inkling that they must lay the groundwork for the future well-being of their school? If they don’t address issues of exploding student debt, declining enrollments, and increasing fixed costs from massive construction, they are presiding over their own demise.

  • Alarms & Discursions

    It’s important to distinguish between administrators and faculty, each of which worsen the problems of higher ed. The faculty however, god bless us, don’t tend to do things to drive up the cost of a degree nearly so much as do the administrators, who like a cancer grow and grow and grow, feeding on the host until its condition is grave.

  • teapartydoc

    I would combine the theory of the evolution of civilizations of Carroll Quigley with the economic theory of the collapse of complex societies of Joseph Tainter to analyze the problems of higher education and it’s relation to society as a whole. Education becomes an instrument of expansion. Western civilization and the nation-states thereof take note and institutionalize education within their social parameters. When a problem arises, it can be taken care of by organized group action coordinated by someone already working within the institution, but this would increase their workload, so it is delegated, with success, to a newcomer prepared to handle it, and this with what is perceived to be minimal added expense. This process is repeated many times, and eventually begins to be done with diminishing returns, and eventually a loss with each new problem. But the pattern is set, and there seems no way out. Better not to institutionalize anything that is not required for basic survival. Or anything at all. Look what happens when people institutionalize food.

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