higher education

In this year’s race for the White House, candidates have addressed college affordability and student debt – two issues that are vitally important to New York families.

New York is helping its private colleges with campus repairs, upgrades and construction projects.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Monday announced more than $35 million in grants for capital projects at higher education institutions across the state. Some of the colleges are in the Hudson Valley.

  Carolyn Stefanco was inaugurated as President of the College of Saint Rose in April of this year. Just a few months later, Stefanco proposed changes, including program cuts, to academic offerings at the Albany private liberal arts college as the college works to identify the best ways to reduce a $9 million deficit and boost enrollment.

Stefanco discussed the specifics of her recommendations with trustees two weeks ago. While no specific cuts or increased areas of spending were announced, a statement noted the college had refinanced its debt and lowered its borrowing costs; eliminated 40 staff and administrative positions, 23 of which were filled; eliminated contingency budgets; and reduced spending for employee benefits and other areas.

While the trustees met on the Friday before Thanksgiving, faculty, students, and alumni rallied outside to protest the cuts. To discuss the fiscal woes and future plans, we welcome Dr. Carolyn Stefanco to the RT this morning.

 

Four years ago, state lawmakers approved a plan that changed its relationship with the state’s public colleges and students.  The plan contained two major changes: public college tuition would be raised automatically and the state would commit not to cut state support for those institutions and would not use the increased tuition to close budget holes.

  American higher education is at a crossroads. Cost-minded students and their families--and the public at large--are questioning the worth of a college education, even as study after study shows how important it is to economic and social mobility. And as elite institutions trim financial aid and change other business practices in search of more sustainable business models, racial and economic stratification in American higher education is only growing.

In American Higher Education in Crisis?: What Everyone Needs to Know, Goldie Blumenstyk, who has been reporting on higher education trends for 25 years, guides readers through the forces and trends that have brought the education system to this point, and highlights some of the ways they will reshape America's colleges in the years to come.

  Standing on the foundations of America’s promise of equal opportunity, our universities purport to serve as engines of social mobility and practitioners of democracy. But as acclaimed scholar and pioneering civil rights advocate Lani Guinier argues in her book, The Tyranny of the Meritocracy: Democratizing Higher Education in America, the merit systems that dictate the admissions practices of these institutions are functioning to select and privilege elite individuals rather than create learning communities geared to advance democratic societies.

Karen Hitchcock: The Price Of Ignorance

Feb 19, 2015

Mark, a six year-old leukemia patient, was unable to receive the measles vaccine due to his compromised immune system. Given his lack of immunization, he contracted the disease from an unvaccinated playmate and now is in critical condition from encephalitis, a serious, life-threatening complication which can occur with this highly infectious disease. Given the ongoing, indeed increasing, anti-vaccination movement in the United States and abroad, this illustrative scenario is likely to occur more and more frequently.


Like many areas of the governor’s proposed $141 billion-plus state budget, his higher education plans include items that help and others that hurt.

Karen Hitchcock: Is College-Completion Enough?

Jan 22, 2015

In the January 20th, 2015 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education there was an unfortunate – but quite revealing – juxtaposition of two major articles. The first, by Kelly Field, was entitled, “6 Years in and 6 to Go, Only Modest Progress on Obama’s College-Completion Goal;” the second, by Casey Fabris, “College Students Think They’re Ready for the Work Force. Employers Aren’t so Sure.”

Jim Levulis / WAMC

On Monday, Mary Grant is set to become the next chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Asheville, leaving Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts after 12 years as president. And, the college is in the midst of a search to fill her shoes.

Each year, graduates of our nation’s colleges and universities participate in an ancient ritual known as “commencement.” They don medieval garb and participate in a ceremony designed to honor their accomplishments and be celebrated by their final “teacher”, the famed “commencement speaker.”

Officials from state-run colleges and universities across the nation will gather near Albany this weekend to discuss the issues facing public higher education. Eileen Landy is the Statewide Secretary of United University Professions, the union that represents faculty and staff at the State University of New York, and she is a member of the committee that created the Campaign for the Future of Public Education.

Herbert London: What Are Students Obliged To Read

Apr 16, 2014

What do college students read? According to one survey Shades of Gray, the sado-masochistic novel, was the most widely read book outside the classroom. Another survey indicated that The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, dealing with her battle with cancer and racial grievance, was the most popular book.

  America’s higher education system is failing its students. In the space of a generation, we have gone from being the best-educated society in the world to one surpassed by eleven other nations in college graduation rates.

Higher education is evolving into a caste system with separate and unequal tiers that take in students from different socio-economic backgrounds and leave them more unequal than when they first enrolled.

In Degrees of Inequality, acclaimed political scientist Suzanne Mettler explains why the system has gone so horribly wrong and why the American Dream is increasingly out of reach for so many.

On a number of occasions over the last couple of years, I have shared my concerns with you regarding the decreasing level of support provided by the federal government for research at our nation’s universities. Indeed, as reported in a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article, entitled “Strapped”, by Paul Basken and Paul Voosen, the budget of the National Institutes of Health hasn’t exceeded inflation for more than ten years. This lack of growth in the N.I.H., and other federal granting agencies, coupled with the major cuts related to the recent “sequestration” process, endangers this nation’s  research infrastructure and the productivity of our research scientists. To quote the authors, “Budgets are tighter than ever. In [a survey administered by the Chronicle], more than half of the researchers who had led a lab for more than six years said this year was the toughest” …. 62% had reduced lab staff, 78% had reduced the recruitment of graduate students and fellows and 47% had had to drop an area of inquiry that was central to the scientist’s research programs.

wikipedia.org

The days of learning by simply sitting in a classroom and hitting the books are dwindling as colleges are placing increased emphasis on student travel.

Karen Hitchcock: A Renewed Call To Action

Mar 6, 2014

In late January, President Obama announced the creation of a special task force to examine and, as necessary, coordinate federal enforcement efforts regarding rape and sexual assault on our nation’s campuses. This White House Task Force on Protecting Students from Sexual Assault will provide leadership for colleges and universities as they work on developing more transparent and more effective campus procedures to decrease and/or investigate incidents of sexual assault.

Today is higher education day at the State Capitol in Albany. SUNY faculty and students are urging the legislature and the governor to boost funding for the system. WAMC’s Brian Shields spoke about the lobbying effort with SUNY professor Dr. Eileen Landy, Secretary of the Faculty Union, UUP, and SUNY student Rita Yelda.

The governor’s budget is based on a huge promise – that he will keep the budget growth to less than 2%.  The governor presents this number as a simple feat, keep to the rate of inflation and he can use some of the revenues for a tax cut.

Herbert London: Why Are The Humanities Disappearing

Dec 11, 2013

I often find myself in the odd position of addressing the question “why are the humanities disappearing?” In most instances my interrogators assume I will say something about the desire for vocational training in an environment where jobs are scarce. Clearly that is an answer, but a partial and unreflective response.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

A state committee addressing the rising costs of student loans held a hearing in western Massachusetts today.

Listener Essay - Embarrassed

Dec 4, 2013

  Julie Evans lives in Woodstock where she spends most of her time trying to figure things out. She is a writer, personal mentor, host of the television program Just Say So and an adjunct instructor for Empire State College. She has just completed her memoir entitled Joy Road.

Late one evening not long ago, I had left the TV tuned to the David Letterman show while I finished up some writing.  As the former president of two different public universities – one in the United States and one in Canada – imagine my shock when I heard the following: “I’m dumb, I went to a state college.” Let me repeat that:  “I’m dumb,” said Mr. Letterman, “ I went to a state college.”

Karen Hitchcock: An Important Step In the Right Direction

Jul 25, 2013

A recent article by Larry Rulison in the Times Union posed the question, “Research Triangle found the right formula -- can we?”  As the article acknowledges, there is no simple answer to this question.   Champions of the concept of university–driven innovation made it happen: creative faculty and administration at North Carolina State University, Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; a committed state government; and, industry leaders who saw the competitive advantage of partnering with faculty at research-intensive universities in areas of research and development relevant to their particular product lines.  

The recent release of a report by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences entitled, “The Heart of the Matter,” has inspired much discussion in the halls of universities and the halls of Congress regarding the importance of the humanities versus the sciences in the education of our nation’s young people. As stated by Jennifer Schuessler in the New York Times, this report, commissioned by a bipartisan group of legislators is “…  intended as a rallying cry against the entrenched idea that the humanities and social sciences are luxuries that employment-minded students can ill afford.” 

5/31/13 - Panel

May 31, 2013

  Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock and College of St. Rose Communications Professor Paul Conti. Ray Graf moderates.

Topics include:
Film Festivals
Ricin Letters to President Obama and NYC Mayor Bloomberg
Universities Show Uneven Efforts in Enrolling Poor
Crazy Weather
A.G. Eric Holder

Herbert London: The University Resistance Movement

May 29, 2013

It was bound to happen. The professoriate has risen in opposition to on-line education. Philosophy professors at San Jose State University said they refuse to use material from an on-line course taught by Harvard professor, Michael Sandel, for fear administrators were angling to cut departmental expenses.

Around the country, thousands upon thousands of young people are graduating from colleges and universities, eager to enter the next phase of their lives – the world of work.  They are looking forward to obtaining employment which will make good use of their particular areas of study; and, in many cases, allow them to begin to pay off the often staggering amounts of debt they have accrued.

    At age 17, Dylan Dethier couldn’t help but think he’d never really done anything with his life. So, two months before his freshman year was set to begin, he deferred admission to Williams College. With the reluctant blessing of his parents, Dylan set out on his idea of the Great American Road Trip: to play a round of golf in each of the lower forty-eight states.

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