Lessons Learned from the Chinese System of Higher Education
During a brief trip to Beijing, China, during which I presented seminars at three major universities, I had the opportunity to learn more about the Chinese system of higher education. I spoke with a number of professors and graduate students and learned about their perspectives on the educational process at…
The Research Process and Its Relevance to the Culture of Assessment
This article first appeared in Academic Leader on November 30, 2015. © Magna Publications. All rights reserved. As higher education evolves, so too does the importance of assessing learning. New regulations, financial constraints, and accrediting agencies are stressing that colleges and universities should strengthen assessment organizationally. However, when assessment is discussed in large…
Finding Your Unicorns: Creating a Data-Informed Culture
This article first appeared in Academic Leader on January 1, 2018 © Magna Publications. All rights reserved. A recent article, “Higher Education’s Data Experts Face a Crossroads,” in the Chronicle of Higher Education examines the changing profile of institutional researchers. Akin to the characters in the movie Ghostbusters, historically, they were the people you called…
Understanding and Managing Perceptions of Academic Rigor
This article first appeared in Academic Leader on August 25, 2017 © Magna Publications. All rights reserved. Faculty and students are not on the same page about what makes a course rigorous. Draeger, del Prado Hill, and Mahler (2015) find that “faculty perceived learning to be most rigorous when students are actively…
Is Interdisciplinary Scholarship the Future of Higher Education?
This article first appeared in Academic Leader on June 15, 2019. © Magna Publications. All rights reserved. To help students understand how global “grand challenges” cut across multiple fields, a growing number of colleges and universities are creating courses, faculty clusters, and even entire academic tracks that take a multidisciplinary approach to…
Four Strategies to Improve Faculty Buy-In for Online Education
As an online administrator, I can tell you that it feels like we have been talking about ways to improve faculty buy-in for online education for the past 10 to 15 years. And we have. While online courses and degree programs are becoming more accepted and mainstream at many institutions,…
5 Recommendations for Completing the Flexible Sabbatical
At my institution, academic administrators on a 12-month contract can receive up to a full semester of paid leave to complete scholarship in their fields. Unlike a traditional sabbatical, which is taken for a full semester, flexible sabbatical weeks are taken in clusters throughout the academic year. In this way, academic departments are minimally impacted and administrators can enjoy the benefit of well-deserved leave time.
I began my flexible sabbatical just after graduation and completed it a year later. During that time, I was able to accomplish my scholarship goals and experience the rejuvenation for which sabbaticals are known. In reflecting on my experience, I recommend the following steps to anyone interested in pursuing this type of leave:
Is Time Up for the Credit Hour?
How do we know if a student has learned enough to attain a degree or credential? Likely, the answer is currently phrased in the form of credit hours: 64 semester hours to earn an associate’s degree, 128 semester hours to earn a bachelor’s degree, and so on. But the credit hour, the most widely used currency of determining work put in toward a degree, was never intended to measure student learning at all.
The Value of the 60-Year Curriculum
Much focus is currently turned on the metrics that measure the effectiveness of higher education. Selectiveness of admissions is certainly one such metric, but universities are also being judged on employability. However, it is not just the first job that matters; how employable graduates are long after they don cap and gown is also a critical measure of the effectiveness of an education, and institutions need to turn their focus to the lifelong relationship they will have with their graduates.
Bridging the Generational Gap
A while back, an image went viral of a group of school children sitting engrossed in front of Rembrandt’s famous painting, “The Night Watch,” in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Only, seemingly instead of drinking in the influence of the old master, their heads were bent over their cell phones, opting for the small screen over the large canvas.