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What I’m Reading, March 31

Thursday, March 31, 2016

From time to time I’d like to share the articles and interviews that grab my attention and that speak to the issues that matter to me and to Robert Morris University. Here is what I’ve been reading most recently:

Stop Blaming Colleges for Higher Education’s Unaffordability
The writer of this essay (the president of Roger Williams University) in the Chronicle of Higher Education argues that rising income inequality, not spendthrift campuses, is putting a college degree out of reach for more and more Americans. Our industry can’t absolve itself of our responsibility to keep costs in line, but the article raises some compelling points, and we see the dynamic play out in criticism of struggling K-12 schools.

When It Comes to STEM, Identity Matters
The gender gap in STEM is the subject of this interview in Ozy with animal behaviorist Danielle Lee. She demonstrates that diversity in STEM fields is not only a matter of equality, but also that diverse perspectives and experiences actually help to propel scientific discovery.

What Higher Education Can Learn from the Fall of the Newspapers
Education technology entrepreneur and former newspaper executive Frederick Singer writes in Forbes that colleges and universities can learn the hard lessons of the newspaper industry to avoid having their business model decimated by nontraditional competitors. I like Singer’s emphasis on student engagement, on ensuring that students aren’t passive consumers of their education.

A Billion-Dollar Problem
The Chronicle of Higher Education first published this commentary in 2014, but it has received renewed attention with news that its author, Catharine Hill, will step down as president of Vassar College in 2017. Again, the issue is affordability and accessibility. How can colleges and universities provide opportunity and excellence to as many students as possible? It’s what we aim to do at Robert Morris University.