August
31st 2011
Bricks-and-mortar school is cool; online drools

Posted under: American history, jobs, local news, students

This is a brief follow-up on that Pew Research Center poll I blogged about briefly a few days ago, in which the general public expressed more skepticism about the value of online college courses than college and university presidents.  (Jonathan Rees offered some thoughts on this too.)

Who says there is no justice in this world?  (Via Fratguy):

For-Profit College Enrollment Plummets | Enrollment at for-profit colleges has “plunged” in recent months, by more than 45 percent in some cases, the Wall Street Journal reports, as the empty promise of these “subprime schools” comes to light to potential students. The colleges “have pulled back on aggressive recruiting practices amid criticism over their high student-loan default rates,” and “many would-be students are questioning the potential pay-off for degrees that can cost considerably more than what’s available at local community colleges.” The Washington Post Co.’s Kaplan reports enrollment down 47 percent while large for-profit operator Corinthian Colleges Inc.’s stocks sank to an 11-year low.

Meanwhile, back in meatspace, according to the Denver Post:

[Public C]olleges from one end of Colorado to another are seeing record enrollment this fall.

Leading the pack as the fastest-growing college — again — is the institution formerly known as Mesa State, now Colorado Mesa University. Alamosa’s Adams State College comes in a close second.

Most colleges haven’t completed their official census yet, but based on preliminary numbers, Colorado Mesa in Grand Junction projects a fall enrollment of about 8,900, up about 14.8 percent increase from 7,751 in 2010.

.       .       .       .       .       .      .       .       .      

On the other end of the state, Colorado State University welcomed an estimated 4,500 freshmen this week, the largest freshman class ever on the Fort Collins campus, said spokesman Brad Bohlander.

The official count at CSU won’t be complete for a couple of weeks, Bohlander said. “We are expecting our third year of overall record enrollment at CSU,” he said.

Who ever would have predicted?  Now, I’m glad that Coloradoans are giving us their votes of confidence in the value of the educations we provide in our state colleges and universities, but I sure wish they’d agree to pay what it costs.  We’ve been coasting on non-tenure track fumes for the past twenty years–it’s time to replenish the supply of faculty so that we can continue to serve not just this generation of college students but future students too.  My deparment (fr’instance) hasn’t run a search for four years, but in the meantime we’ve lost five tenured or tenure-track faculty.  This is unsustainable–something’s gotta give.

9 Comments »

9 Responses to “Bricks-and-mortar school is cool; online drools”

  1. Bardiac on 31 Aug 2011 at 9:06 am #

    Yep! Taxpayers have to see that we public schools are providing a public good, not just an individual good, and be willing to share in the costs as well as the benefits.

    I’m not holding my breath, though. :(

  2. Indyanna on 31 Aug 2011 at 9:35 am #

    So what’s a’matter, you guys can’t do more with less, like us back here in the East, nestled among what used to be the tallest mountains in North America, they say? Every year we do more with less granite, more with less porphyry, more with less schist, more with more library journal cancellations. The geoscience guys don’t like it one bit, but the rest of us muddle along.

    Oh wait, my associate vice dean for strategic redeployment processes interview is NEXT week. Wrong sound byte. Sorry about that.

  3. Spanish Prof on 31 Aug 2011 at 9:45 am #

    As happy as I am to hear the news, it doesn’t mean that university administrators (from real places) won’t continue to push for online education. I work at a religious PUI, and they are pushing for that. Luckily, the most powerful departments (philosophy, theology) are resisting very hard.

  4. Jonathan Rees on 31 Aug 2011 at 9:49 am #

    Wow, the good news keeps coming from all directions. Now if the excellence without money brigade would only get around to raises for faculty…

  5. Tom on 31 Aug 2011 at 10:00 am #

    If one is a president of any college or university that delivers courses online, one probably should say (and maybe even believe) that online courses are the equivalent of f2f ones. Then, of course, one simply mandates that one’s faculty make it so. Some would call that leadership, I believe.

    Thus, many college presidents will answer polls by saying they believe the two kinds of courses are of equal value to students–although those same college presidents may hope online courses cost less to deliver and are thus less valuable in another specific sense.

  6. Notorious Ph.D. on 31 Aug 2011 at 12:03 pm #

    My employer constantly trumpets its high rankings in a “Best Universities” survey for our region. The fine print is that the category we’re constantly ranked highly in is “best value,” which is great news for our students, but from a faculty standpoint, this could be read as another example of “Excellence without Money.” So I’m never sure how to feel about it.

  7. Historiann on 31 Aug 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    I hear you, Notorious. Do they love us because we’re great, or because we’re the best they can afford?

    I guess my thinking is that smart administrators and university presidents can use these census numbers to prove that we’re serving our state, and start to build an argument about how the state should serve us as well so that we can continue to serve the next generation.

    Then again, I have a feeling that (to take a page out of Indyanna’s book) the kind of people who get hired as administrators these days are of the “more with less, and less = excellence!” bent.

    And I do mean bent.

  8. koshembos on 31 Aug 2011 at 5:11 pm #

    Now when kids are asked what they want to be when they grow up, the expected answer is: an oligarch; we are screwed.

    Students may vote with their presence, but universities, states and the country are run by people that don’t care about education and officials are elected by the oligarchs and not by the people.

    Even at a rich university like mine, they don’t care about excellence, they want you to bring grant money and a lot of it. That doesn’t help us either.

  9. The Humanities: They’re good for what ails you! « More or Less Bunk on 27 Sep 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    [...] That’s not just “MBA thinking,” it’s snake oil salesmanship. I see no studies to back that up, and fully expect if there are any they used multiple choice questions to get to that conclusion. More importantly, letting people learn at their own pace allows them to drop out at their own pace and pay a lot more money for that privilege, as Historiann has repeatedly reminded us. [...]

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