Beware the algorithm

One of my doc students studied Aviso‘s predictive analytic system on his campus, and compared their predictions to actual academic outcomes for students: he found almost no relationship. I suspect most of the early-alert systems being peddled in higher ed also have low predictive ability. But they sound cool! Law enforcement’s eagerness to use an…

Colleges publicly offer to match tuition at rival schools

This has been going on for years in secret, as institutions track the pricing of their peers (when I was in IR, the most common question I heard was, “What are other schools doing?”) and by negotiating privately with admitted students. Now it’s finally in the open: Escalating the heated battle for students, some private…

Vermont Law strips tenure from 14 professors

After being informed by the chair of Vermont Law School’s retention committee that the school stripped 14 law professors of tenure, the American Association of University Professors has questioned whether the school followed proper regulations. In a June 19 letter sent to the school’s tenure and retention committee chair, the AAUP conceded that under “extraordinary circumstances because…

Half of American colleges will be bankrupt in 10 to 15 years?

There are over 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States, but Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen says that half are bound for bankruptcy in the next few decades. Christensen is known for coining the theory of disruptive innovation in his 1997 book, “The Innovator’s Dilemma.” Since then, he has applied his theory of…

Pensions costs are killing Northern Kentucky U

The university’s payments into the state pension system have skyrocketed from $3.9 million in 2010 to $15.3 million this year. The projected cost for 2018 is $19.4 million. Mearns, who laid out the budget situation in a presentation here, said 2 percent of NKU’s operating budget went into pension costs in 2010 and that nearly 10…

Pension crisis at public universities

While massive state- and city-pension debts across the country have gotten anxious scrutiny from lawmakers and the public, their effect on public universities and colleges has gone largely unnoticed. But an independent board that oversees state and local accounting standards nationwide has recently put into effect new rules, requiring more disclosure of how much the…

Contingent faculty are better teachers than tenure track faculty

This study makes use of detailed student-level data from eight cohorts of first-year students at Northwestern University to investigate the relative effects of tenure track/tenured versus contingent faculty on student learning. We focus on classes taken during a student’s first term at Northwestern and employ an identification strategy in which we control for both student-level…