Sunday, September 21, 2014

LWRT (Last Week in Retweets): September 22, 2014

Topics last week include high-stakes testing, predatory lending, retention alliances, City College of San Francisco's accreditation battle, student evaluations, and (I'll bet you thought I forgot about) college ratings.

Monday, September 15, 2014

LWIRT (Last Week in Retweets): September 15, 2014

Introducing a new feature for this blog: Last Week in Retweets. I'll be consolidating the more interesting items on higher education that I've found via Twitter over the past week with some summary and commentary, and posting them every Monday. Subscribe to the blog for great source for keeping up on news about the future of higher ed beyond the hallowed walls (lawns? parking lots? ring road?) of Utah Valley University.

Topics last week include college rankings, credit hours, civility, rankings, competency-based assessment, nanodegrees, rankings, unbundling, and rankings. Oh, and ratings, because the proposed federal government system will only rate institutions, not rank them. They're very particular about that.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Could UVU Have a Park City Mountain Resort-Level Failure?

Sometimes a business does something so trivial, so careless—and so catastrophic—that the mind fails to understand how the people involved could have reached a position of responsibility in a modern corporation. Powdr, the operators of the Park City Mountain Resort ski area, had a sweetheart lease on its terrain, and the opportunity to renew it on the same terms. Having made massive capital investments in a base right in Park City to access the terrain, you would think they would be absolutely on top of renewing that lease.

You would be wrong.

Powdr missed the deadline by a few days, and spent the last few years litigating to try to win back the terrain that gave their base its value. They lost, and last week sold the base to Vail Resorts, who had leased the terrain while Powdr was litigating.

It’s the corporate equivalent of a crash skiers call a “yard sale.” Such a disaster raises the question of what UVU could do to “yard sale” the university. Let me thus suggest conditions that are (1) either within our control or for which we might adequately plan (2) that have a realistic possibility, however low, of occurring, and (3) pose fundamental threats to our ability to function as an institution of higher education?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Rating the Rankings: University Ranking Processes and Methodologies

With the release of the US News and World Report College Rankings this morning, the annual college rankings season comes to a close. There is a wide range of different rankings, with schools at the top of one ranking looking mediocre in another.
[cough]Yale University
[cough]Reed College
[cough]Babson College
What do we make of these? In the spirit of the forthcoming (and, perhaps, always will be) federal Postsecondary Institution Ratings System (PIRS), I rate (but not rank!) five of the more prominent systems, and consider where UVU fits into the rankings.