Posts Tagged ‘college news’

Do Colleges Need to Change to Stay Relevant?

It’s not uncommon to ask a recent college graduate what their next step in life will be, and hear them reply with, “move back home and pay off my debt” or “find a job–any job!” As an increasing number of college graduates find themselves back at home with their parents and working jobs they could have obtained out of high school, the value of a college degree has fallen under some serious debate. But these criticisms of higher education have not fallen upon deaf ears. Earlier this month, The Society for College and University Planning held a conference in Chicago with a focus on how colleges and universities can change to be more relevant in today’s society.

Scott Carlson’s article College Planners Discuss How They Push for Change includes the podcast interviews of three individuals who gave speeches at this conference.

Sanford Shugart, the president of Valancia college in Florida, indicates that change is vital for numerous reasons, including the cost of college being an inadequate fit for the current market, and academic results not being as high as they should be. Shugart believes that in order to change college education, change needs to happen within the culture. He identifies the culture as being the millions of decisions made on a daily basis by students, faculty, and staff. Obviously, that’s a pretty major change, but Shugart, having identified the roots of higher education being eight-hundred years old, says it will take a change that scale to counter what is in our history.

Associate Vice President of the University of the Pacific Robert Brodnick, introduces his idea of “design thinking,” a concept that combines analytical thinking and creative thinking to produce a product. His theory is that analytical thinking to solve problems is overrated, and that by using intuition and emotion in all fields, as many of the creative fields already do, change can happen amongst not only college institutions, but corporate America. He says it’s these two areas that will need to change the most for our jobs to stay relevant.

The final podcast, which is an interview with Ira Fink, a college planner, indicates that change needs to happen in the way colleges think about money. Just as airlines increase their rates during the holidays and summer months, and decrease their rates during slow seasons, colleges need to consider how their space is used, and what the cost is for that space, in order to make a profit. He identifies Apple as being a company that can successfully think about their business in this sense, and believes it would be wise for education to consider doing the same.

It’s evident something about college education needs to change, but what that something is exactly can be hard to pin point. Is the educational system broken, or is the job market broken? Does the cost of college need to go down, or do jobs need to pay enough for students to able to afford their debt?


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College News Roundup

Up-to-date college news from this week:

Half of Recent Grads Out of Work

According to a recent Rutgers University study, nearly 50% of recent college graduates are unemployed. The study which looked into college graduates from the last 5 years, or since the recession started, shows significantly less optimism in, what many label as, “the lost generation’s” ability to achieve the American dream.

Carol Van Horn, director of the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers and a co-author of the study said, “I think they’re less optimistic, more focused on trying to find a good job and help pay off their loans, and they’re also experiencing a slow start to their career. And that’s making them not only less optimistic but more concerned about job security and the like.”

Van Horn added “It seems to mark them with a set of attitudes that’s different than people who graduated 10 years ago.”


West Georgia University Student Battles Flesh-Eating Bacteria

West Georgia University graduate student Aimee Copeland is battling a flesh-eating bacteria after a zip-line accident. Copeland, 24, was zip-lining along the Little Tallapoosa River near Carrollton, Georgia. During this, the line broke resulting in a cut on her calf. She went to the emergency room and had 22 stitches.

After many trips back and forth to the doctor, with ongoing sever pain, Copeland was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis, a rare flesh-eating bacterial infection. After being transferred to a burn center in Augusta, Copeland had part of her leg amputated. Copeland is currently in critical condition. Her father Andy said, this was “without a doubt the most horrific situation that a parent can possibly imagine.”

According to Dr. William Schaffner of the Vanderbilt University Medical School, “This often is a very subtle infection initially,” he said. “These bacteria lodge in the deeper layers of the wound. The organism is deep in the tissues and that’s where it’s causing its mischief.”

A university blog post said, “Aimee is awake, understands everything and is nodding her head to questions! Aimee is still on her life support, and we are waiting to hear more about how she is doing today.”

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College News Roundup

Up-to-date college news from this week:

Playoffs to Come to College Football?

It’s looking increasingly likely that NCAA College Football could end up with a “final four” of its own. The BCS is toying with the idea of a four-team playoff to decide the national championship winner. That idea, along with a small list of other options, are being presented to the various conferences who will decide the fate of the system. According to the Wall Street Journal:

“Commissioners from the BCS conferences will present to conference constituents two to seven options for a four-team playoff. Those options include holding semifinals at campus sites, as well as neutral-site games. A championship game will be held at a neutral site, either an existing bowl or a site that bids in advance to host the game.”

Students Protest College Debt

While President Obama was travelling the country to pressure congress to renew low interest rates on student loans, students were protesting rising college debt. The protests on Wednesday were designed to draw attention to the day that US student loan debt was set to hit $1 Trillion. According to Reuters:

“Several hundred protesters, mostly college students wearing placards noting the size of their debt loads, rallied in New York City’s Union Square park on Wednesday.

They set fire to student debt documents and held signs reading ‘Debt free degrees’ and ‘Education in America: Don’t bank on it.’”

The Veep Visits NYU           

Vice President Joe Biden visited NYU this week. His remarks included criticism of Mitt Romney’s foreign policy. Biden criticized the presumptive Republican nominee for comments that he made saying that he would rely on the State Department heavily for foreign policy advise.

Biden said, “In my view, the last thing I think we need is a president who will subcontract our foreign policy to some expert at the State Department. That kind of thinking may work for a C.E.O., but it cannot and will not work for a president, and it will not work for a commander in chief.”

The big sound bite from the speech though was when the Vice President created a bit of a stir by saying that the president has a “big stick.” He was referencing the famous Teddy Roosevelt quote.


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