Readings for March 25th — Higher Education and the Corona Virus

This is a collection of articles in places you already know (Inside Higher Ed, Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times) about how various constituencies in higher education are reacting or coping with the emergence of Covid-19. You have the good(??) fortune to be taking this seminar on higher education in the semester when colleges and universities have been shaken to their core by this epidemic. Where this will end up is, of course, totally unknown, except most are predicting it will materially change higher education in the future. It’s a mess but not a perfect one, I think most would say. I would be interested in getting your reaction as students to both the ideas in these articles and to your own experiences in the past two weeks.

I have organized these articles into three bundles – one about the impact on institutions, another on the impact on students and a short one on the impact on faculty. You can read these relatively quickly — like you would read a newspaper. I would like you each of you to come in with at least two discussion questions or reactions for each of the bundles. We’ll be doing our first on-line course, and I think it might go better if you come armed with some issues we can get started with. I will also be interested to hear about your first post-hiatus week and what has surprised, puzzled or troubled you about your experiences. We are all operating without a map here.

It turns out that I didn’t need to have all your Gmail addresses into Google to invite you to the class meeting. I can just send you an invitation, which I will try to do a bit early, in case I have problems. More on that later.

First bundle:

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Download (PDF, Unknown)

Third Bundle:

Download (PDF, Unknown)

Prof. Hainline

Assignment for the final paper, some links you can check if you have time

As I had indicated a few weeks ago in an email, your assignment for the final is to design what you consider to be the ideal modern college or university for the future of NY City. It can be public or private. Points to consider/cover (may not be exhaustive)

  • What will your mission/vision for the institution be and what is the rational for this mission? 
  • Is it a public, private or for-profit institution?
  • What kind of governance will you have? 
  • How you will fund your institution?
  • What will your ideal entering student class look like?
  • Will the preponderance of financial aid be merit or need-based?
  • What will your curriculum look like and what kinds of pedagogy would you propose to have your faculty use to teach that curriculum? (Assume that you do not have to fight with accrediting or state agencies about changing any rules about the delivery of instruction.)
  • What kind of credentials would you be seeking for your faculty, and what will they be spending their time doing? 
  • Will you have tenure for faculty or not?  Why/Why not?
  • How will you know if your institution is realizing its mission?
  • How will your institution advance the goal of improving the future of NYC?

You can deal with other questions as well, but you should explain why you are making the decisions you are. The concept is to use the information and analysis from this semester to create your view of the ideal institution of higher education to further the viability of NYC.

Some recent Times and other links (all short) you may be interested in (non-mandatory but timely):

1. Fourth no confidence vote, but John Sexton is holding on:

2. How Cooper Union squandered their endowment and ended up having to charge tuition:

3. How the huge load of student debt is affecting other sectors of the economy:

4. Merit schlarships going up, need-based aid down,

5. Tuition discounting keeps increasing at the Privates:

6. Football coaches and public institution presidents (at least some of them) keep getting higher salaries than others in HE — wonder who pays the costs:

7. And a critique of an article about how to decide who should go to college:



Reading Questions

Do you think admission to a university should include race?

Is affirmative action limiting access to higher education by denying certain students who are not minorities?

Why are less students choosing a liberal arts education?

Is it important for students to be well-rounded and know a little bit about every subject or study a specialized area and know the material in great detail? Should employers hire the well-rounded students, or those who know their subject like the back of their hand?

Are more opportunities available for students with a liberal arts education, or are employers seeking workers with a defined set of skills?

If a liberal arts education serves both the individual and society, should we do away with vocational and trade schools?

Reading Questions for May 1


Higher education has to change. President Obama called for it.


What would you do to change Higher Education?



If there were a way to lower the costs, how would you allocate the funds needed for Higher Education?


Barriers to Innovation in U.S. Higher Education

Higher Education in the US needs to change. Once the leading country in the world in terms of education, America has slipped.

From all of these models and modes of learning and educating (ie regulation, funding, business models, ets), map out a college that will be the example of change. Plan out what model you would follow (ie business, educational, hybrid), what funding you would rely on the most and so on.


Mayo Clinic of Higher Education:

The results from UMR are surprising and rare. An 85-90% passing rate for organic chemistry is basically unheard of amongst CUNY students.


Pinpoint what you think UMR is doing right? List everything that Lehmukuhule has done and where you think UMR needs improvement (ie accepting students with higher SATs and ACTs).


It’s only expensive to create new universities if you use the old model.


How do you the government and higher education as a whole should attack this problem of retaining information, personalized education and graduation rates?


Do you believe that the UMR structure is the structure higher education should follow?



Change is inevitable. But, why is it taking so long for Higher Education to change? Mention everything that you believe to be the reason, even drawing from previous weeks’ readings.

Reading Questions – April 24

“An institutional ethos and tradition that place a strong value on student-student and student-faculty interactions both in and out of the classroom.”  What is the incentive for professors to spend time discussing and developing ideas of the intellectual arts with students outside the mandated teaching hours?

According to a new Survey of Parents conducted by Inside Higher Ed in 2013, parents were more likely to strongly believe that no college at all can lead to a good job than to believe that a liberal arts education can lead to a good job. What are some of the factors involving in the misinformed parents’ view on liberal arts education and how can colleges help alter these views?

Although the percentage of students enrolled in higher education has boomed and will keep increasing, how come America will still be “3 million college-educated workers short to meet demand”? Does the fault lie in college education or K-12 education?

What do you believe would be an accurate way to test “subject area expertise, a good work ethic, an ability to work smoothly with a variety of people, and, for management, leadership ability” without first having a student obtain a job to verify all these attributes?

Do you think the college is responsible with teaching critical and analytical reasoning, as well as, specific technical field skills or should the employer and workplace assume responsibility for one?

What do you guys, personally, feel about this: as stated in Liberal Arts Colleges Rethink Their Messaging in the Face of Criticism, “They’re [college-bound students] very concerned about the greater good, about society, the environment, the bigger picture, but they also are very concerned with their personal futures, and they’re not going to set that aside for some larger good.”

Readings for the rest of the semester, starting May 1

The following are four chapters, most not long, from a book I found later in the semester which speaks directly to the future of higher education. You do not have to do any reading questions for these, but please try to read at least some of them, if not all of them, by our next class, May 1. Margaret will also be coming to the next two classes to work with you on structuring and formatting your presentations. These chapters will be used for a final writing assignment that will stand in for a conventional final exam.

All these are chapters from a book entitled: Reinventing Higher Education: The Promise of Innovation, a 2011 book edited by B. Wildavsky, A.P. Kelly and K. Carey,

Introduction, including at the end a description of other chapters not being assigned.  wkc intro

Chapter 1 on Barriers to Innovation in Higher Education, by D.J. Brewer and W.G. Tierney. wkc innovation

Chapter 8 on The Mayo Clinic of Higher Ed by K. Carey. wkc mayo
this is the chapter about a very innovative approach to teaching science that I have alluded to from time to time this semester — will be interested in what you think)

Conclusion, B. Wildavsky, A.P. Kelly, and K. Carey wkc conclusion

I will be using these readings for the written piece I will be asking you to write in lieu of a final. More on that later.