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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012
Jerry signs the budget.  Mostly cuts but hoping for increased revenues.  You can read the budget summary here.  CBP offers some thoughts.

UC and CSU offered deals to prevent tuition increases:  UC says it will accept but CSU not so sure.  Of course this all depends on whether or not the tax initiatives pass in November.  Brown gambling that people won't want to cut education further.

In case you missed it, Supreme Court upheld most of the Affordable Care Act.  But the ruling on Medicaid may allow greater disparities among states.  More thinking on that here.

Roberts may also have taken the first step towards limiting the Commerce Clause to institute social programs.  Although there is debate about that.

Even though a lot of people will be talking about John Marshall today we shouldn't forget Jefferson's University:  The UVA Board reinstated Sullivan of course.  But the battle over what that means is only beginning.  How will it affect faculty governance?

AAUP calls for adjuncts and contingent faculty to be included fully in academic governance.

Graduate Student Debt is going to get even deeper.

Sympathy is Cheap:  it doesn't look like the Feds will provide any new funding for Universities.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The document below was written by two members of the Academic Council who served on the Rebenching Task Force.  Susan Gillman is the chair of the Academic Senate at UC Santa Cruz, and Jim Chalfant is the chair of the University Committee on Planning and Budget.  An earlier version of the document was circulated on June 18 to the Academic Council to provide information on the recommendations from the Task Force, whose report had not yet been completed, and to identify outstanding issues.  On June 21 the Task Force report was released, too late for a full, systemwide review.  This updated document will provide the UC community at large with the best information and analysis of the rebenching recommendations that is currently available.


As Academic Senate representatives on the Rebenching Task Force, we have been asked a number of questions about the process and the implications for future budgets.  We concluded that an informational and analytic document such as this one is needed.

What is rebenching?

The University of California process for allocating over $2B in annual state funding is poorly understood, impossible to explain, and misaligned with the University’s priorities.  After years of inaction, under the pressure of continually declining state resources, in 2008 the UC Office of the President initiated a two-stage plan of budget reform.  The first phase, “Funding Streams,” implemented in 2011-12, replaced the then-current, complicated system of cross-subsidies and reallocation of various revenue streams from one campus to another with a new framework that now leaves all revenues generated by a campus—tuition, non-resident supplemental tuition, indirect cost returns, and others—on that campus.  Thus, campuses directly receive the benefits from increased effort in generating these revenue streams.

Funding streams dealt with all revenue streams except for funds that come from the state.  A second reform—long overdue and a necessary companion to the first reform—has been discussed since early 2011.  Dubbed “Rebenching,” it is designed to create greater transparency and equity in the formula for distributing state funds across the campuses.  Rebenching would replace the historical allocation model, which simply applied shares of any annual augmentations or cuts to the prior-year “base” budgets of the campuses, a process that was followed for decades.  Growth in student numbers was funded differently depending on when it occurred, making it important not only how much a campus has grown, but when it grew.  The result of this model is that state funding per student now varies significantly among the campuses, and no one, including the Office of the President, can explain the reasons for the disparities.  Rebenching aims to ensure that the education of a resident undergraduate (or any other type of student) is supported by the same level of state funding, regardless of campus, and to provide a transparent model that demonstrates the critical role of state funding in preserving UC as a public institution.

In April 2011 the Office of the President assembled a systemwide Rebenching Task Force that included at least one representative from every campus, with several chancellors and other senior administrators, five Academic Senate representatives, and several UCOP participants.  Concluding its work in March 2012, the Rebenching Task Force delayed the completion of its final report, with recommendations and a supporting analysis in a spreadsheet, until last week (June 21), although a draft had been circulating among administrators.  It is clear that a systemwide review of the report and recommendations cannot take place this year.  Given the delayed communication, we are distributing this “Guide to Rebenching” to summarize the recommendations made by the Task Force, explain the principles or goals on which they are based, and recommend some next steps.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012
The State budget deal may prevent tuition hikes if Jerry's tax initiatives pass.  More info here and here and here.  In the last "here" Dan Mitchell also provides the rundown on the defeat of the Governor and UCOP's proposal to lessen oversight of UC.

But the trigger cuts will be brutal for K-12 education.

Bob Meister proposes using NRT to save the Master Plan.

Berkeley is buying a TANK.

CHE reports on what states have spent on student aid during downturn.

Faculty and City College of SF and SF State explore new possibilities in group learning.

UVA professor gives the BOV an F for their project.

What role did UVA's Chief Operating Officer play in the ouster of Sullivan?  And what does that say about finance in universities?

Virginia Governor orders BOV to agree or else.....

NLRB agrees to reconsider ruling on Graduate Student Unions at private universities.

Krugman: Is 2011 just 1931 all over again?

Protests continue in Quebec.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday, June 22, 2012
The California Cigarette Tax has been defeated.

Here are some details on the budget agreements.

CPB offers an analysis of Brown's plans for "realignment."

At Berkeley the implementation of "shared services" is postponed.  You will be stunned to learn that OE didn't really think things through sufficiently.

AFSCME protests as negotiations with UC start.

UC drops lawsuit against "Farm" protesters.

In case you aren't bored yet with all the shenanigans in the Old Dominion: It looks like the BOV may reconsider Sullivan's firing.  Although not if Dragas has her way.   The Interim President seems to have realized that he will have to rejoin his colleagues after his term.

Krugman on the pathologies of privatization.

House Committee wants a 10% cut to NEH.

Coalition on the Academic Workforce releases report on the condition of contingent academic labor.  It is really bad.

Europe may do something for growthDoesn't look like it is enough though.

More analysis of Michael Gove's plan to send England back to the 1950s.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thursday, June 21, 2012
UC names new Provost to replace Larry Pitts.

ReclaimUC offers another look at the hidden logic of administration corporatization with an eye on the struggles at UVA.  Even a Business School Dean can see some problems.

Crooked Timber provides some historical perspective.

UVA appoints a new interim President.  As people start exiting the University.

Jerry and the Dems agree to budget.  It will cut support for the poor and students.

SacBee reports that CA dropped to 35th in Nation on per pupil spending in 2010.  Of course it has gotten worse since

UC Berkeley libraries face more cuts.

In the aftermath of Anderson's power play, business schools toot their own horns with the help of the press.

George Skelton continues to offer conservative conventional wisdom on pensions.

You will be stunned to know that faculty are divided about online education.

Mitch Daniels steps up from Governor of Indiana to President of Purdue.

The Stock Market is unhappy.

Michael Gove wants to return England to the 1950s.  Nick Clegg is shocked, shocked I tell you, that the Tories are prepared to sacrifice poor kids for the sake of the better off.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednesday, June 20, 2012
At Inside Higher Ed, Scott Jaschik reads some FOIAed emails from UVa's Board of Visitors to suggest that the management struggle I discussed at length yesterday ("All Hell Breaks Loose") took place in part on the terrain of online education. Board chair ("rector")
Dragas used language similar to some of the columns that were being shared among board members, saying "We also believe that higher education is on the brink of a transformation now that online delivery has been legitimized by some of the elite institutions."
In contrast, fired president Teresa Sullivan apparently
had expressed skepticism about the idea that [online] was a quick fix to solving financial problems, and . . . viewed distance education as having the potential to cost a lot of money without delivering financial gains. Sources also said she viewed distance education as an issue on which faculty input was crucial.
Quelle horreur! Jaschik also notes that prior to this communications fiasco, "that board leaders obtained an estimate for 10 hours of 'strategic communication consulting' at the cost of $7,500 (plus travel expenses)."

Back on the business side, Doctor Cleveland at dagblog has a good discussion of budget subtexts and cross-subsidies towards the bottom of his thorough analysis. (h/t Reclaim UC). And Reclaim has a good piece on the public flagship austerity-privatization nexus in which Mark Yudof and Teresa Sullivan have crossed paths and played nonressisting roles.

The Chronicle of Higher Ed gathered a few reactions on "What Teresa Sullivan's Ouster Means for Higher Education."
 Everyone's a critic, except for Richard Vedder,

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Last week, a faction of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors (their Trustees or Regents) organized enough Board votes to tell UVa president Teresa Sullivan, with apparently no warning of dissatisfaction, that she could quit or be fired effective August 15th.  The firing was a classic power struggle not just between a particular board and president but over where public universities are going and, above all, over how this direction will be decided.

Sullivan has been president less than two years, and both the decision itself and the way it was done has thrown the UVa campus into turnmoil.  One of the coup organizers, Darden Business School Chair and hedge-fund executive Peter Kiernan resigned in embarrassment over published emails declaring his role, the Board held an emergency meeting on June 18th to pick an interrim president in which the Board Rector "doubled down" on her demand for a new kind of president, president Sullivan issued a 14 page memo defending her type of administration, and 2000 UVa staff and students filled the campus Lawn next to the Board's meeting room.

What were the conflicts between the Board and its relatively new president that produced a firing so crappy that "Hunter R. Rawlings, president of the Association of American Universities and former president of Cornell University blasted [it] as 'he most egregious case I have ever seen of mismanagement by a governing board'"?  The now-published email from just-resigned Darden Foundation head Peter Kiernan suggests that Sullivan was not attuned to the Board's vision of "strategic dynamism." Kiernan defines the lack of strategic dynamism as follows:
 the governance of the University was not sufficiently tuned to the dramatic changes we all face: funding, internet, technology advances, the new economic model. These are matters for strategic dynamism rather than strategic planning. Many of the schools will face the notion of self sufficiency, steps that we at Darden and others have taken already.
In spite of the lack of elaboration of someone describing an established world view, we can assume that strategic dynamism means, as a method, not planning but reacting.  In practical terms, it means, right now, replacing declining public funding with privatization (Darden is the prototype of the privatized public university unit that came to UCLA-Anderson School of Management last week  ("How the Public Pays for Privatization")), and dealing with the large volumes of public U students through on-line instruction.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday, June 15, 2012
Tuition at California's public universities is rising at a faster rate than anywhere else in the nation.

Unemployment rate in CA "drops" to 10.8%.

Today is budget day in Sacramento.

Geithner wants Bowles-Simpson.  Guess austerity works for those Wall Street guys.

Obama to limit deportation of some "Dream Act" eligible young people.

American Council of Trustees and Alumni want to reorganize CA Higher Education.

More and more on pathology and privatization at UVA.  Or are they the same thing?

National Research Council puts out a new report on American Research Universities.  Calls for more funding, closer ties with business.

Columbia University President in hot water for defending Jamie Dimon's claim to a Fed position.

Union victory in New York: Instructors vote to unionize at Kaplan's ESL program.

No funds for Obama's race to the bottom for Higher Ed.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wednesday, June 13, 2012
The public response to the UCLA Anderson School of Management privatization has not been warm.  Speaking on an episode of Which Way LA?, Anthony P. Carnevale, a prominent national higher ed analyst and director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, remarked,

"We as a nation, one of our signal achievements is having built a world-class, best-in-the-world higher education system.  And we're basically putting it up for sale."

"What do you lose if you do that?" host Warren Olney asked.

"You don't serve public purposes any longer, quite simply.  And the public purpose in upward mobility, first of all, is dis-served in a very powerful and immediate way. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.  The other purposes--for diversity's sake and so on--don't get served and the public interest is simply not observed. UCLA is owned by the citizens of the state of California. And it is being sold off. That is, they are losing an asset that they have contributed to, a brand name for a very long time, and it's now being sold off by the legislature."

Olney's other guest, Anderson School dean Judy D. Olian, objected that in fact the public mission will be preserved, but her main stress was on the new presence of private donors and revenue streams. This emphasis also dominated the initial proposal, which didn't claim that educational goals would be improved, and in fact offered no educational goals at all. (Similarly, see the School's Strategic Plan).

Nobody argues with much success that privatization will recover the overall educational attainment and learning quality that has been lost via twenty years of piecemeal privatizing. The only plausible argument for privatization is that it has been forced upon us by repeated and apparently irreversible public funding cuts. The careers of most senior managers in their 50s and 60s have been profoundly shaped by repeated, unpredictable declines in public support. Those running public universities, with long experience of a mixture of cuts and official ingratitude for holding things together as well as they have, have come to believe, in the words of a thoughtful new book on the subject entitled Public No More, that "cuts are not temporary; rather, they portend the extinction of the low-tuition--high-subsidy financing model that has been the backbone of public higher education for over a century."

Once this reality is in place, privatization becomes inevitable--and also preferable to the induced poverty and finger-wagging restrictions that states are increasingly offering instead of funding.  The main goals are then to privatize efficiently, fairly, and transparently, in the guiding belief that the day of strong public university funding is over for good. 

I have long argued that this perception that we have exited the age of higher education as a publicly-fund public good is a self-fulfilling prophecy.  It forms a feedback loop of the kind that George Soros is always trying to get financial analysts to see as creating reality rather than simply perceiving a pre-exisitng reality that they wrongly see as independent of them (example here).  My claim has been that if major players were to define cuts-reality as untenable for higher education, and mobilized their institutions to change this reality, cuts would not be our reality over the medium and long run. But here I leave aside this issue for a narrower question: given privatization's goal of fixing public university finances, does it actually succeed?

The UCLA-Anderson example suggest that it does not.  To show this, I first have to discuss how the privatization narrative functions as a good cowboy story.  Then I'll look at the financial deal in the Anderson privatization, which suggests that  privatization is subsidized with public money, and doesn't make financial sense without that subsidy.

The story about privatizing a public asset always weaves together four strands.  The first, already mentioned, is that the public sector is now broke and in permanent retreat.  The second is that this is not so terrible because the private sector can and will take over the public sector's public missions and do them as well or better. Thus in launching the privatization campaign of UCLA's Anderson School of Management in 2010, Dean Olian told Scott Jaschik of Inside Higher Ed that "The driver here is the decline in state support." She also insisted to him that "Our mission will still be public -- our mission will still be one that looks to make sure our students are helping East L.A. nonprofits or microfinance projects in Africa."

Jaschik noted a third strand of the privatization story: "In discussing the plan, Olian repeatedly talked about 'self-sufficiency' and never used the word 'privatization.'"  In the privatization narrative, the superior capabilities of the private sector advance the public interest through a newfound financial freedom from public regulation that leads to increased revenues that, in turn, pursue the public good without distorting it. 

Oilan also added the classical fourth strand, which is that the new private operator would, once operating freely, become the financial benefactor of the public side. Based on these assurances, a Los Angeles Times editorial of 2010, in offering its ambivalent blessing, said that "the net $6.6 million a year that Anderson currently receives from UC would stay with the university, money that could go to programs such as literature or philosophy, which don't draw big donors, or scholarships for undergraduates."

To put the four strands together, the privatization story says that public higher ed, drained by inevitable funding cuts, would be revived by the privatized ("self-supporting")  unit, possessed of disciplined public purpose and now freed to make money in part so it can return charitable support to the public operation.  The privatization story is about confronting a new reality and responding entrepreneurially to external conditions rather than to internal traditions-- which is the cowboy theme of the program.

The privatization story triggers a conditioned belief in American culture: the private makes, the public takes. This familiar subplot is the basis of the narrative's political power.  But if we ignore this belief and look at the Anderson proposal, we can see it doesn't actually support the main narrative about how privatization works.

The first strand--that the "state is going away"--extrapolates the future from immediate past experience, and describes that experience rather than reality. The second, public purposes, are as noted above missing from the proposal. They consist mostly of potted statements in public venues of the social causes to which Anderson students could individually apply their management expertise.  Tuition is already in the mid $40,000s and set to rise another $10,000 in the next couple of years, which obviously endangers the ability of highly indebted students to pursue social service.

On the third point, self-sufficiency means less adherence to the university community but, at the same time, more dependence on outside donors and sponsors and perceived market forces.  Since the Anderson School is "disestablishing" a state-built and state-funded academic unit (Appendix J) in order to turn it into an SSP, privatization is an appropriate term.   Carnavale calls it a "sale," but the ownership and control questions remain unclear, and there seems to be envisioned neither a transfer of assets nor payment for them.

This brings us to the crucial claim, which is that the private version of Anderson will generate its own independent revenues and in effect earn a profit that will allow it to give some support to UCLA, the poor public relation.

What we see instead are a series of standing public subsidies for the newly private enterprise:
  • The state's sunk costs in capital stock, including its maintenance.  UCLA is giving this away for free, perhaps in order to maintain the impression that Anderson is an ordinary part of UCLA that the public will assume is still public. A precedent for this are two national laboratories, Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos, that are still claimed by UC on its lab website but that are in fact operated by limited liability corporations (LLCs) involving UC in a partnership with Bechtel and three other for-profit defense contractors (LLNC LLC) (LANS LLC Agreement).   Use of assets would seem here to be automatic, without say a long-term lease and lease payments (see below).
  • The state's investment in human capital, including salaries and retirement benefits for past and current retirees. 
  • The UCLA brand, which as the Anderson faculty dissenters point out, is primarily a UCLA creation and will have an annual value in faculty recruitment, publication, student placement, tuition revenues for executive education and the other for-profit educational programs, and so on.
  • The University's tax-exempt status as a part of state government.  Anderson will not have students who are eligible for state funding, but it will not have to compete with for-profits who pay corporate income taxes.
A normal acquisition between two private firms would involve the purchase of both physical and intangible assets. I leave it to finance professors to put a price on the UCLA assets that Anderson now has, but the absence of a buyout payment is a large effective public subsidy.

To continue the public subsidy list:
  • The state pays for all of Anderson's academic students.  Anderson will under the new scheme keep 100% of the high tuition paid by the students in the professional programs -- the Executive MBA and related programs as well as the full-time MBA students. Were the private side now helping out the public, Anderson would use the market-rate tuition to subsidize some regular business students, particularly the PhDs who are to become faculty in business schools.  In reality, Anderson keeps all of the market-level private-program tuition and gets UCLA to pay for the academic students. The Financial Impact Analysis (FIA) asserts, "The Ph.D. and the Undergraduate Accounting Minor . . . cannot become self-supporting and thus need to be supported by the campus."  This is not true: Anderson could use professional student tuition to cross-subsidize any and all other students at its discretion. The FIA continues, "the Ph.D. program will receive $1.2 million and the Undergraduate minor will receive $3.2 million of General Fund support" - every year, presumably adjusted for enrollment.  Total PhD. enrollments in all years are listed as 75, so Anderson gets around $16,000 per doctoral student per year.  If in practice it spends less than that sum per student, it can not only get the state to pay for its academic students but run at least a small profit on these state students at the same time.    
The undergraduate funding is even more lucrative.  UCLA has a Business Economics major, staffed on its regular campus.   Anderson runs an accounting minor, meaning that Anderson does not pay the lion's share of the educational costs of "its" undergraduates.  Anderson's enrollment of undergraduate majors is zero.  For its zero majors, Anderson will receive $3.2 million.  Anderson has 253 minors this year, and I am told that these are taught primarily by adjunct instructors on a course-by-course basis.  Anderson will be paid around $12,600 per student out of General Funds. To put this in perspective, Anderson will get nearly double the per-student amount that UC currently receives from the state for each additional resident undergraduate, and get this amount for accounting minors that are primarily taught and otherwise supported by other departments.   (Haas at UC Berkeley has, in contrast, 350 majors.

Anderson's profit potential on these state students is significant. For example, generously assume again that Anderson spends all of its money on its PhD students, but only $3000 per undergraduate minor. It could then hypothetically spend $760,000 on direct instructional costs and then net $2.4million M in public funds to use for its now-private general operations.  Whatever the actual returns, we can at least say that Anderson will not be "self-supporting" its academic students, for public funds will subsidize them.

  • Anderson does not contribute funds to UCLA.  The FIA states, "The  conversion of the MBA program to an SSP will result in a net increase of monies in the campus General Fund for the Chancellor to support campus programs." This is also not correct. The conversion of the unit to an SSP means that Anderson's state-funded students go up in a puff of smoke, to be replaced by their identical private-unit twins.  Their state funding disappears with them.  Anderson's conversion costs UCLA state students and therefore decreases its enrollment-based General Fund allotment--except that Anderson's loss will be backfilled by increases in undergraduate enrollments on the regular campus (as the UCOP endorsement letter plainly says).  Anderson cannot take credit for the fact that more undergraduates will show up to take courses elsewhere on campus.  Attaching numbers to these students, the FIA says, "net revenue recouped by the campus from Anderson’s MBA degree becoming self-supporting is thus $5.2 million." This is revenue recouped by UCLA taking a bunch of new undergraduate students (or by getting paid for the students they have already overenrolled), and is not actual revenue flowing from Anderson to UCLA. 
The same goes for the claim about how Anderson will be giving UCLA $3.6 million for general operations: "after conversion, the School will be levied an overhead charge to compensate the campus for operation and maintenance of physical plant as well as services provided to the School." I don't know how they came up with this number, but assuming it reflects actual overhead costs of operating the MBA program, and that UCLA will still be providing services to Anderson in exchange for Anderson's payment (utilities, student services), (see pp 11-12), this is not money that UCLA can now spend elsewhere on campus. Anderson's check for $3.6 million goes right back to Anderson in the form of services provided.  Under the current system, UCLA uses state general funds and tuition from Anderson students to support Anderson activities; in the future, the tuition will go directly to Anderson, which will then use it to pay for its own overhead, not for UCLA's.

Tallying these factors, I can't accept the FIA's claim that adding these two sums together (minus the subsidy of its academic students) defines a "total benefit to the UCLA General Fund of Anderson’s MBA degree becoming self-supporting" of  "$8.8 Million."  The flow of funds specifically from Anderson to UCLA is at best zero. 
    • Net tuition subsidy from UCLA to Anderson. Anderson loses state General Fund money on its MBA students but keeps it for its academic students (it loses $8.5 million and gets back $4.2 million for a net loss of $4.3 million).  Anderson will also keep all of its tuition money, for a $20.6 million gross with 753 students at current rates (over $45,000 / yr), and since it keeps a bit over $9 million under the current model it will under the privatized system gross an additional $11 million (before 15% return to aid). So now Anderson is up $6.7 million, and this is before it raises tuition another 8.3% for residents in 2012-13 (p. 11), grossing an additional $7.5 million or so. Then it will be $14 million up, plus say another $1 million in new endowment payout (improbably unrestricted) on $19 M of announced new donor pledges contingent on privatization.  Assuming Anderson's current expenditures are around $70 million (Schedule B), this additional $15 million increases its budget by over 20% in one fell swoop.
    In sum, while the benefit to Anderson is clear, the story for UCLA is not so positive.  It is out $11 million of Anderson tuition that it was using to cross-subsidize  activities on its campus, plus it continues to pay $4.2 million for Anderson's academic students, those which Anderson is unwilling to self-support.  Anderson gains $15 million a year, and UCLA loses  . . .about $15 million a year. And that does not include the unquantified historical accumulation of various kinds of capital that I listed above.

    I will deal with the political sources and student impacts of privatization in another post. The outcomes thus far are as follows:
    1. UCLA is losing money on this deal. If it allows other units to privatize like this--as pseudo self-supporting-- it will degrade its overall finances.
    2. Privatization yields a profit only because it is publicly subsidized. Were UCLA's stealth subsidies to be withdrawn, Anderson would in fact net nothing by privatizing a premier public business school that the taxpayers of California built.

    Tuesday, June 12, 2012

    Tuesday, June 12, 2012
    UC Davis Academic Senate condemns Administration and Legal Counsel for threatening academic freedom.  You can find the background and more information on the Senate's analysis here.

    Oh, and the UC Davis Academic Senate also released its report on the pepper spraying last fall.  Not good news for the administration or the Chancellor.  

    More on Anderson here and here.

    Looks like the State is running 4 Billion behind its revenue assumptions.

    Will "common core" standards change k-12 education?

    Diane Ravitch on Romney's plan's to privatize educationHere is how it might look--creationism and everything.

    Chicago Teachers vote overwhelmingly to authorize a strike.

    The questions about UVA keep coming.

    Family wealth down almost 40% since 2007.

    Monday, June 11, 2012

    Monday, June 11, 2012
    LAT notices that there is a leadership crisis in CA higher education.  Unfortunately they don't realize how deep it runs.

    Jerry and Legislative Dems meet to decide how much to hurt the poor in this year's budget.

    Anti-Union Ballot measure comes to CA.   Unions fight back.

    In "As we become more like Virginia news" UVA Chancellor is forced out.  Apparently she did not support online ed with enough fanaticism.  (h/t Peter Krapp)  More can be found here.

    Do MOOC's actually have a viable business plan?

    NYT is closing down its online learning effort.

    Who will meet the demand for continuing education?

    New President of Mellon Foundation hopes to help reshape Higher Ed.

    Florida's testing system blows up.

    Latest news from Spain:  Banks get bailed out.  The Spanish people?  Not so much.

    Friday, June 8, 2012

    Friday, June 8, 2012

    Wednesday, June 6, 2012

    Wednesday, June 6, 2012
    Those who have long claimed that public funding cuts do lower the educational quality of public universities are finally seeing the connection go mainstream. The New York Times made it explicit again in the title of last week's coverage of the ongoing crisis in Caifornia higher ed: "California Cuts Threaten the Status of Universities."  The story's accompanying photo is an image of the kind of factory-style higher ed that everyone from commercial e-learning companies to small-seminar advocates agrees will no longer do.  Simultaneous news came last week that "S.F. City College can't afford all its campuses" suggesting that even the cheapest public ed factories are facing closure.

    We dreamed the Cities of Intellect that Ansel Adams photographed (UC Irvine mid-1960s, courtesy of UC Berkeley's On the Same Page project).  We were given, the great majority of us, the factory of commodity skills.
      The piece's author, Jennifer Medina, nicely captures the biggest single strategy shift since the funding crisis re-surfaced in 2009.
    University leaders, who had responded typically to earlier budget cuts with assurances that their institutions were still in top form, now are sounding the alarm. In trying to rally support, they openly worry that their schools do not offer the same quality of education as a decade ago.
    “I’d be lying if I said what we offer students hasn’t been changed and that there hasn’t been a degradation of the learning environment,” said Timothy White, the chancellor of the University of California, Riverside, which has had record growth in recent years. . . .
    It's a wonderful thing that senior managers are now on the same page as faculty, students, and staff about the decline of high-quality learning at publics like UC and CSU.

    But now what? Where do we go from here?  An obvious starting point is to recover the personalized instruction that has been impossible to maintain during budget cuts in spite of widespread efforts to cut in places other than instruction.  Medina offers the right examples:

    Saturday, June 2, 2012

    Saturday, June 2, 2012
    More than 10 Arrested at UCLA protest over low numbers of under-represented students.

    The NYT finally notices that state cuts are destroying public higher ed in California.

    Talks between Students and Government in Quebec have collapsedProtests continue.

    State funds and federal loans are weakening Community Colleges and funneling resources to for-profit institutions

    Davis isn't alone.  Campus deals with banks are breaking out all over.

    In case you have forgotten about what the University of California once imagined, Catherine Cole has a new site to help you remember.

    Wesleyan University to end need-blind admissions.