American higher education must reinvent itself

Here is a guest column by Mohammad Bhuiyan, the 2011-12 ACE Fellow at the University System of Georgia and Endowed Professor of Entrepreneurship at Fayetteville State University

By Mohammad Bhuiyan

The American higher-education system is running on an unsustainable business model of raising tuition and fees to cover declining government and private funding. In addition, most of the academic community is in denial about the potential of technology and other emerging factors.

Ten years ago, online classes and degrees were considered low-quality, and most workplaces didn’t even recognize the diplomas. Today, online courses and programs are both important and ubiquitous. According to the Pew Research Center, about half of all college courses are now available online. The new generation of students is in many ways more interested in online classes than traditional classrooms.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that venture capitalists have poured about $500 million over the last few years into education-technology start-ups, trying to cash in on a market they see as ripe for a digital makeover.

There is a very real possibility that one-third of all the traditional colleges and universities will go out of business by 2025  due to merger, consolidation, acquisition and bankruptcy.

During the last 10 months as I traveled around Georgia and the country and met with state university system heads, campus presidents and other education leaders, it was fascinating to see that so many of them agreed that the future of higher education is shifting rapidly, but few are in a position to take serious steps to do anything significantly different and promptly to stay ahead of the curve.

I heard repeatedly that students don’t learn anything online, online graduates will never get a job, and that face-to-face is the best way to learn.

While Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Michigan, and many other big players are getting on board the online education train, only a handful of universities in Georgia have programs in place to keep up with the changing environment. It is comforting that the new state system leadership is getting serious about this matter and  has started taking appropriate steps to improve the situation.

The technology is already available to create a virtual classroom with students and professors from anywhere in the world.

The need for physical classrooms will be so lessened that many campuses will have to dismantle old buildings to save on energy and lease their empty buildings to private businesses to cover other costs.

Until now, the United States has had the best higher-education system in the world. However, the U.S. has been ranked as one of the lowest in k-12 education of top 20 developed countries. Georgia is known for its poor performances when it comes to its high school graduation rate and SAT scores.

As we continue to produce poorly prepared k-12 students, eventually these shortcomings will impact our higher-education ranking as well.

In addition, as the political pressure mounts on U.S. higher education institutions to increase their completion rates from 39 percent to 60 percent by 2020, federal, state, and local funding are being drastically cut. That means most institutions will have to water down their quality to meet targets.

Even then, a 60 percent completion rate via traditional means of higher education is impossible.

While Brazil, Russia, India, China and the rest of the world are making huge investments in their education sectors, a significant percentage of the population and politicians here are questioning the value of higher education and its high cost.

The opportunity to retain the slogan “American Higher Education is the Best” is slipping away.

Georgia and American educators, leaders, policy makers, and politicians must wake up and take drastic, outside-the-box, new measures immediately, to save not just our education system, but our states’ and country’s future as well.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

74 comments Add your comment

Dawg x 2

July 29th, 2012
3:45 am

Sacred cows make the best burgers, and Georgia, like most every state, is completely unwilling to do that which will be forced on them. As recently happened in England with college tuition tripling in one day, no one will see it coming. I had an accounting professor at UGA who makes $350,000 a year and who was terrible. I know professionals that would have taught the class for free and done an incredible job. Until we get rid of the fat and inefficiencies, we will always fall behind. So sad.

HSMT

July 29th, 2012
3:49 am

Nothing is going to change. There is too much money in it for politicians and their supporters. Those who are positioned atop the economical machine, behind the facade of capitalism, will fight to ensure their positioning. There would need to be war. Then again, we probably would recreate this system of educating to no end.

Higher education is just like public education, a complete waste of time. Did I mention that I’m a high school math teacher? Both are a waste of time because of the lack of learning, with a purpose, and the potential of what is learned that can have an immediate impact on the lives of the learners (both teachers and students). To be clear about my argument, when I use the term learning, I’m referring to the internalization of some form of content, knowledge or material, initiated by a person’s own interest for personal, social or economic means. 99% of what students ‘learn’ in schools has no purpose in life at all.

For the institutions that are facing closure (for whatever reasons), fine. If I opened a business that was selling a male cow’s manure, I’d have to close my doors too. It’s just sad that you’ve made so much money and have been selling that manure for decades (and in some cases centuries).

Regrettably, we as Americans – including the Americanized populations around the world – feel that higher education is a commodity. If we can ‘buy it’, then it certainly was well worth it.

‘Well worth it’ even if it has no value in it at all.

Then again, 99% of those who’ve attained a ‘higher education’ have guaranteed a spot in America’s new form of slavery – DEBT!

James Lee Adams

July 29th, 2012
5:57 am

What are we doing to our graduates–saddling them with debt at the very time of their life they need to be flexible and not under duress to make payments on unreal student debt? The answer is not more federal/state aid but lower educational costs. More aid will result in higher fees–this has been the experience of the past few years. For higher education to be viable economically–for our economy to be favored with the innovation and enthusiasm of the young, higher education must change to a lower cost model.

Michael

July 29th, 2012
6:30 am

Maureen,
I have been a Georgia teacher for the better part of a decade. I’ve seen GPS, AKS, Common Core, and some other reforms that I’ve likely forgotten about over the years. I’ve seen budgets slashed and class sizes increased hand in hand with increased accountability and a more rigorous curriculum. I’ve seen colleagues fired for taking a stand. I’ve been derided by the right wing for being yet another inefficient arm of the government, for getting too many holidays (I’m not sure they understand that I get 9 months pay spread over 12), for not treating education like a business. I’ve been derided by the left for somehow not improving our statistical standing amid all these well laid plans.
I work for a CEO and my performance is measure in percentages, i.e. what increase in percentage of knowledge (that sounds weird just writing it down) did I put in each child’s head? The left had their way for years, decades of “touchy feely” policies (check out some education strategies of the 1970’s for fun some time) and the right responded by dehumanizing the process down to a test score, an assembly line process where the kids come down the line like automobiles and it is simply my job to attach my part to the whole, to hopefully have a whole car at the end of the year. You can’t measure humanity, but you can measure whether or not a kid got more adverbs right this time on a certain test, on a certain day. And if that certain day went badly for the child, you can expect it will go badly for you too.
My question is this – what do you think is the constant in this mixed up education universe? Mr. Bhuiyan sad “we continue to produce poorly prepared k-12 students” but just who is the “we”? Is it the reformers, who roll out one initiative after other, barely letting the first sink in before the next wave, millions of dollars of “research based” (it’s all research based, by the way) practices to sweep aside what was last year’s hot trend. Is it teachers like me, who are demoralized by the factory-like environment education has become, who teach tests as though our jobs depend on it because they do? Is it the students, who grow more disengaged and combative by the day? (I think there is a correlation between this and test emphasis but that is for another day.) Is it the parents, who in my experience (I teach at Title 1 schools) are, if possible, more disengaged than the students? Is it our politically correct culture, which refuses to recognize differences, be they economic, racial, gender, or other?
I could go on, but the new year is on us and my egregious vacation is over. Time to get down to the “business” of teaching and learning once again.

PS – if you find typos I’m using an ancient laptop and some of the keys stick.

Rick in Grayson

July 29th, 2012
6:57 am

I have supported online learning on this blog before. I have seen responses to the effect that online learning is only possible for those that are highly motivated.

Well, why are students motivated to learn and what have we been doing to motivate them? Hard to be motivated when some parents are “helicopter” parents and do everything for their children or “give” everything to their children!

Other parents do nothing and are not involved. Some kids think they will make their way through life playing in the NFL, MLB, or NBA while other kids think their future is in gangs or participating in the drug trade/crime in general.

Rick in Grayson

July 29th, 2012
6:58 am

Well, why AREN’T students motivated to learn….:)

Digger

July 29th, 2012
7:33 am

There is no instant gratification in traditional learning, unlike video games and the media. If it isn’t fun right now, what’s the point?

ML

July 29th, 2012
7:42 am

Michael, that was an excellent post. The AJC should allow you to expand your comment and publish it in response to this piece.

sheepdawg

July 29th, 2012
7:53 am

ban the ncaa and stop the joke that is big time college athletics, a blight on our nation’s universities. (see penn state and uga, both fine insittutions ruined by rogue athletic associations) make educational achievement a cultural acheivement goal rather than the nfl or nba

dragonlady

July 29th, 2012
8:00 am

Well said, Michael. Thanks for posting.

[...] American higher education must reinvent itselfAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)The American higher-education system is running on an unsustainable business model of raising tuition and fees to cover declining government and private funding.  [...]

Pride and Joy

July 29th, 2012
8:25 am

I have a higher education from a bricks and mortar university and I’ve taken several online courses. They don’t compare in quality. The online courses are vastly inferior. Shoving students to online courses is a cheap, cost-saving meausre that ensures poor quality education by getting rid of the most important person in education, the live human being at the front of the room teaching the kids, the teacher.
Onoine classes have their place. They are good for professionals woh already have their degrees and they need to learn some other details to keep their certifications, for example but those are best taught by human beings.
Think of it this way: Would you use an online parenting prgram to teach children manners and good behavior ? Just tell the kids to log on and get their lessons that parents teach? Or do you think it takes a loving, involved human being to whisper in her child’s ear “Say thank you to your play date forinviting you to their home and tell Mrs. so and so what a good time you had.”
Teaching, especially teaching non-degreed human beings takes a human being. I computer cannot teach a college kid how to learn. It takes a human being.

MH Brown

July 29th, 2012
8:36 am

It is absurd and scientifically impossible to compare the US K-12 programs with those of other countries. It isn’t even possible to compare state-to-state. Other countries select and track students differently from the US. Additionally, and most importantly, not all students are selected for testing in other countries while ALL students (including special ed) are tested in the US. You and others toss out these statistics without a shred of concern for any valid data to back them up. It is a miserable lie. The students that come out of the US public schools measure up with those of any other country—as long as you compare apples to apples. Compare students who have parents who value education with those from other countries and you will find US kids measure up very well. Regarding secondary education, I think it is great that the many bogus for-profit-only colleges that have sprung
up to sell degrees go out of business. Good riddance.

SGA Teacher

July 29th, 2012
8:42 am

I can tell you what part of the problem is, because I have experienced it myself. We, K-12 teachers, cannot hold students accountable. I had many students failing because they refused to turn in work, but guess what? *I* got an unsatisfactory evaluation because of it. A mar on a my permanent record. So, I QUIT FAILING STUDENTS.

Don’t blame teachers if university students are unprepared; I am protecting my job. If they leave K-12 and flunk out of University, don’t blame me any more. I CAN’T FAIL THEM.

And, pay my mortgage and bills if you want me to really prepare them for college; I can. Guarantee I can.

redweather

July 29th, 2012
8:54 am

There isn’t a whole lot to this column. It could be summed up in one sentence: Houston, we have a problem.

Bhuiyan writes, “The new generation of students is in many ways more interested in online classes than traditional classrooms.” If one of my students had written this, I would note in the margin of his paper, “How about getting a little more specific. “In many ways”?

Bhuyian also notes, “As we continue to produce poorly prepared k-12 students, eventually these shortcomings will impact our higher-education ranking as well.” This seems like a K-12 problem, not a higher education problem.

And then we get this gem of wisdom, “Georgia and American educators, leaders, policy makers, and politicians must wake up and take drastic, outside-the-box, new measures immediately, to save not just our education system, but our states’ and country’s future as well.” Terminology like “outside-the-box” gives me a pain. If one is going to write about why we need to transform higher education to meet the new demands of . . . blah, blah, blah, one could at least do it without resorting to cliche.

Chris Sanchez

July 29th, 2012
9:16 am

Pride and Joy: your analogies are very poor. We are talking about college students, right? Were this discussion centered on students in 3rd grade you might have a point. However, by the time these students arrive on college campus, they should already know “manners and good behavior”. To be sure, the online learning environment is not for everyone.

I am not sure where you completed studies but I have two master’s degrees; one completed in the classroom and the other completed online. The quality of the instruction online was in no way inferior and in many ways more rigorous than my studies completed in the classroom setting.

Technology needs to be leveraged to teach students in the ways in which they learn best. For some students and areas of study, the online environment is works well. For others, the classroom is the best place to learn. Either way, it is tiresome to continually hear people attack online education with little or no understanding of it.

Pride and Joy

July 29th, 2012
9:25 am

Chris Sanchez. Nothing can replace an educated, experienced human being as a teacher.
Online educations for college kids will only produce more kids unprepared for the work place. It’s a cheap cop out for people who want to reduce education costs without caring for the kids who will need to work for a living.
Chris, if I had to guess, you offer online courses for profit, right?

Eddie Hall

July 29th, 2012
9:30 am

And yet we will vote on an amendment that allows schools to set up classes taught completely on line.

catlady

July 29th, 2012
9:48 am

Well, I see many of my younger colleagues getting Ed.S degrees on line and the “work” they are assigned is college freshman level.

It does not surprise me that a professor of “entrepreneurship” would take this stand.

Shark Punch!

July 29th, 2012
9:51 am

Where is the (non-anecdotal) evidence supporting these wild claims? What a bunch of fluff.

The recent brouhaha around online courses (and this piece especially) reminds me of the 90’s dotcom boom, when we were told that the new-and-shiny online retail model would make brick-and-mortar stores a thing of the past. So how’d that turn out?

bootney farnsworth

July 29th, 2012
10:12 am

with respect to Dr Bhuiyan, its not quite that cut and dry. in most points he’s correct, but more for drawing the right conclusions than understanding the facts.

1- he’s dead on that the current business model is broken. again, I’ll use GPC as classic example. students pay fees for things they never use: athletics, student life, technology most will never access. instead of gently getting leaner and meaner, it grew and grew chasing the fad of the moment until we imploded. what Atlanta needed was a good 2 year school. what it got was Tricoli trying to create a new University.

until the legislature (saying this shuddering, knowing its a snake but picking it up anyways) takes control and installs checks and balances on the USG -and itself- GPCs 25 million debt will become more and more common.

2-on line is no more of a savior than the latest “new math”. it is a niche, and like any niche can only serve so many people effectively. many students are not suited for a major on line experience. there is a big difference between on line gaming and socializing and on line education. educational success still requires discipline. facebook and downloading itunes do not. it is a dangerous assumption that digital natives are by nature going to be good digital students.

also, it takes a very special set of skills to teach on line successfully. since its still essentially a new concept, the bugs are still being worked out. educators and students are both being beta sites for the concept, the technology, the pedagogy. if we try to rush it too hard to fast, it just becomes the latest failed idea.

lastly, there is a common mistake that on line will make everything cheaper. if anything its gonna prove to be the opposite. qualified teachers still have to be found, hired, and supported (HR). servers and support technology become more important (technology staff and physical plant). it will become more important than ever to have qualified technicians on staff and standby for when -not if- things crash (technicians). going down this road will create an addiction to the latest and greatest in technology and support (purchasers, evaluators, office staff, accounting staff).

and basing this on the GPC model, six director and VP level administrators for every one actual working person.

and none of this gets into most schools can’t adequately deal with what they have, much less expand on it.

Tricoli did everything possible to make online the savior of his empire, and it just couldn’t happen. he did manage to drive off one of the most recognized and genuinely innovative on line educators in the nation. when confronted with reality he chose to be the queen of hearts and demand her head.

biggest of all, the legislature needs to understand the funding of education is much more than buying a can of chalkboard paint, box of chalk, and a new eraser.

3-society must allow us to do two very important things it refuses to do so far: a-fail their children and b-restore discipline (even online)

bootney farnsworth

July 29th, 2012
10:14 am

if he’s from Florida State, perhaps he can comment on how his school is in nearly as much fiscal trouble as GPC and yet refuses to put the brakes on the football team.

teachers and staff facing layoffs while the holy football program flirts with the Big 10.

Sam

July 29th, 2012
10:17 am

Having Read the article and putting some thought behind it, I think that reinvention is mandatory if we are to maintain education for the masses. The costs for an education is highly over inflated. The education system needs to be tailored to the students needs and not to the colleges goals of public dominance in extracurricular activities. Per example, my wife is taking courses required to maintain her employment in her currently chosen field. We are senior citizens, yet she is required to pay student activities fees and other extraneous funding that she will never make or get use of. Not mentioning the outrageous cost of books. This gouging of the students gives the education system a bad name as well. Students do not need multi-million dollar sports arenas and athletic fields they need a quality education first and foremost which is what they are going to school for in the first place.

bootney farnsworth

July 29th, 2012
10:23 am

if you really, truly, want better and cheaper education, the USG has to honestly ask itself what business is it in.

is it in the sports entertainment business?
is it in the issuing degrees in areas of study where practical application is impossible?
is it to be an engine of “social justice” (another Tricoli gem)?
is it to be a machine of self promotion?
is it to be a job creation machine for friends and family of the administration?
is it to make sure UGA has the latest and greatest of everything?

or is it to teach the next generation of Georgians?

bootney farnsworth

July 29th, 2012
10:29 am

I’d be very interested to see what his solutions might be.
criticism is easy. suggestions for change and improvement are hard.

a friend of mine who is an army vet always states this mantra:
don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions.

bootney farnsworth

July 29th, 2012
10:38 am

if up to 1/3 of US colleges and universities are likely to go under in the next 15 years – let them.

if states and legislatures refuse to deal with the realities of the problems in higher ed, let them have to deal with the fallout when the poo starts hitting the fan.

nothing motivates politicians like angry voters

Ron F.

July 29th, 2012
10:53 am

Universities are having very much the same problem we see in education at all levels- how to get better results for the money. Those kids who can learn better in an online environment will take the online courses. Those who need face-to-face will go that route. The best schools are those which offer the options and allow students to choose what works best for them. I worked on a master’s along with a friend a few years ago. She needed the face time and drove to Atlanta. I preferred the flexibility of online classes (single parent with two elementary aged boys). My friend and I shared information often as we were working on similar degrees. We both learned and applied our learning to our classrooms. We both said we couldn’t have done it the other way. Universities that will succeed are those which help students understand and use the options that suit them best.

Progressive Humanist

July 29th, 2012
11:36 am

Yes, online programs are becoming more ubiquitous and many students prefer them because of their convenience (and possibly ease). But nothing in this article speaks to the quality of online education, and shouldn’t that be the point? If we are graduating more students and the finances work better for universities (which may very well be the case with online classes), but those students graduate with inferior knowledge and skills, then we are doing students a disservice by propagating online learning.

Does Bhuiyan have any data or studies that suggest that students learn better or learn more in online classes? My understanding is that there have been mixed results when that question has been tested empirically.

The state university where I teach does not hire people with online doctorates, not as a policy position, but because when you have a stack of vitaes you’re going to pick the ones that come from strong brick and mortar programs. The universities where I earned my degrees function the same way. My wife works in staffing and she says the same thing- those in her profession will always pick the resume from the brick and mortar schools, and online degrees add nothing; only if a candidate is qualified without the degree will they be considered. The online degree never puts them over the hump.

And Bhuiyan makes the following point: “Georgia is known for its poor performances when it comes to its high school graduation rate and SAT scores. As we continue to produce poorly prepared k-12 students, eventually these shortcomings will impact our higher-education ranking as well.”

I would dispute this conclusion. Low high school graduation rates don’t really impact higher-education in Georgia because the students who don’t graduate from high school never enter into the equation for the assessment of college programs. Those students never even apply, because they can’t without a HS diploma, and even if they had somehow squeezed by and graduated they likely would never have been in the pool for college consideration. If high school isn’t high on their list of priorities then college won’t suddenly be there, so they never factor into the equation. In addition, I believe the graduation rate is inching up slowly, so there’s no reason to think it will be a greater issue in the future than it is now.

And as far as SAT scores, that’s a red herring. Georgia may have lower scores than other states, even in the South, but more of our students take the test. We have more of our marginal students taking the test while other states have only their higher level students taking it. So we are essentially comparing the full range of our students to only the upper range of theirs. That’s not the type of comparison that would cut it in any objective analysis. In actuality, the SAT scores for incoming freshmen at just about every state university in Georgia have been rising and are at their highest levels ever.

So while I don’t disagree that online courses will continue to play a major role in high ed, the argument here for a complete overhaul is not a convincing one if the goal is providing the best education for students, rather than the most convenient one.

bootney farnsworth

July 29th, 2012
11:51 am

@ progressive

where do you teach? I’d be curious to see if that is reflected in the majority of USG schools

An Accidential Professor

July 29th, 2012
11:58 am

@ Pride and Joy- “Nothing can replace an educated, experienced human being as a teacher.” Really….how are college professors experienced? Most of my colleagues have little to no experience outside of a college classroom yet they fancy themselves qualified to prepare students for the working world. The concept is ridiculous. A large number of online instructors have the academic qualification combined with outside experience. Would you rather be taught by someone who has actually worked in an industry or simply spent ten years studying industry? The real reason traditional academics shun online learning is because they know as instructors their continued (tenured) livelihood depends on the public continuing to believe that learning must occur in a brick and mortar classroom when in reality that represents an outdated learning model that benefits only faculty and administrators. If you spend any time on a college campus or with recent graduates you will see there is little correlation (in my experience) between completing a traditional undergraduate degree and being prepared for work. Like Chris Sanchez, I have a masters degree from both a traditional and online program. I found both programs to be challenging academically but my online program required far more discipline and motivation. I think the differences lie with the individual as my students in the classroom are vastly different in terms of their individual motivation. Those who desire to learn tend to do well while other students simply regurgitate information and slide by. I am humble enough to admit that it is not my superior teaching that allows them to excel rather their individual desire to learn.

Bernie

July 29th, 2012
12:05 pm

Excellent commentary but such words of wisdom falls upon deaf ears. Unfortunately we are far too behind the curve to make a difference at this point. Especially when our States Top Educational executive supports a State Leader who desires and plans to roll back the already established gains over the past 50years or so with a untested and unproven state wide school voucher payment system that will further decimate an already struggling education budget.

After this foreseeable and inevitable fiasco of a decision . The only remaining option afterwards will be the online option. We had better hope and pray that the online system improves to a level to provide a life line for the next generation.

America and Georgia is racing to the bottom with a plan that is being widely supported by one political party that refuses to truly recognize the danger that is at our doorstep this very moment when it comes to the education of all of our children.

Educational Leaders around the world are quietly snickering and smiling with glee every year as their students continually surpass America’s children in the areas of
Math and science. An area they all know that mastery in those fields will be the key to the greatest Nations of the future.

Progressive Humanist

July 29th, 2012
12:08 pm

bootney,

I’d prefer not to say where I teach, as I like to have the freedom to comment anonymously and unfiltered, but it’s a well established state university north of Atlanta currently under consolidation. I think you can figure it out. But I have degrees from both UGA and GSU and I don’t recall ever having had a professor who didn’t have a degree from a brick and mortar college. The only place in academia I can remember coming into contact with people who earned degrees online was in the public schools where most of the graduate degrees were online ones (and IMO not legitimate ones). The k-12 educators who held online graduate degrees often had a very poor understanding of educational research and often advocated for debunked myths like multiple intelligences/learning styles, thus wasting students’ time on ineffective instructional strategies.

At the higher ed level there are plenty of people out there with PhDs from brick and mortar universities who can’t find a job, so someone with an online degree has almost zero chance unless they are research stars with 8-10 strong publications right out of their doctoral programs, which is highly unlikely.

Gerogia and education not compatible

July 29th, 2012
12:27 pm

Great post Micheal

bootney farnsworth

July 29th, 2012
12:34 pm

@ progressive

understand the reluctance. GPC has wanted to know who I am for a long time.
can you confirm if you’re USG or private?

mitch

July 29th, 2012
12:35 pm

Don’t be too hard on our University System. Remember that it was recreated in 1931, the middle of the great depression. Yes, it could use an upgrade. Try taking a committee of eighteen unrelated people (Regents) managing thirty five schools but going through one person (Chancellor) and being totally limited in the scope of that management. They are operating with a mind set of the 1960s and doing the best they can. Online classes would just one more “Duh”.

bootney farnsworth

July 29th, 2012
12:35 pm

@ progressive

my bad. I just reread your post and saw the state university bit.
only the USG can come up with such stupid names

yuzeyurbrane

July 29th, 2012
12:39 pm

You can’t slash state funding of k-12 to 38% and expect anything except bad results. Re higher education, the latest technology should certainly be incorporated, but carefully and objectively. It should not merely be a cover for slashing funds. Nor should the funds be simply be candy for the venture capital startups mentioned in the article and for politicians to have another source of campaign contributions and graft. In other words, we should incorporate what works objectively and without corruption.

bootney farnsworth

July 29th, 2012
12:45 pm

@ mitch

the USG regents are primarily political stooges who have little to no concept of what it takes to make education work. most are UGA affiliated.

the chancellors are an interesting lot.

Steve Portch was the equilavent used car saleman who actually convinced the legislature moving Ga. from quaters to semesters could be done with no immediate budgetary impact.

Tom Meredith was in and out so far nobody could figure out what he was

Errol Davis (I liked him personally, nice man) was in so far over his head -on pupose?- he was little mroe than a seat warmer for the legislature til they figured out what they wanted to do. plus he had the political benefit of being black, so the legislature could feel good about themselves for appointing him. under his tenure GPC and several other schools got into deep fiscal trouble with the USG claiming ignorance how such things could happen.

chancellor Huck had the guts to pull the cord on Tricoli so I’ll give him leeway. for now.

they may be well intentioned, but they are political ladies of the evening who appear to have no clue the damage they are doing. or worse, don’t care.

DaPoet

July 29th, 2012
1:01 pm

Shark Punch wrote: The recent brouhaha around online courses (and this piece especially) reminds me of the 90’s dotcom boom, when we were told that the new-and-shiny online retail model would make brick-and-mortar stores a thing of the past. So how’d that turn out?
______________________

The brick and mortar stores are now being forced to adapt to the reality of online retail shopping and in some cases going out of business. Now that I have an e-reader I no longer need to go to a bookstore since I can download just about any book I want to read from Amazon. com. Which also means that I don’t eat out as often at Johnny Rockets or watch a movie in the theater at the Douglasville mall since I used to combine dining out, watching a movie and buying a book at the now defunct Borders bookstore all in one trip. Now I download the book I want from the comfort of my own home while dinning out and watching movies closer to home.

Once college students and their parents finely grasp just how much colleges and universities are ripping them, off many will end up collapsing as students and their parents begin boycotting these places of so called higher learning, that only give a substandard education in return for a lifetime of indebtedness.

MM

July 29th, 2012
1:02 pm

The first clue of Dr. Bhuiyan’s ability to sense a career-building trend is his use of the corporate-speak term “business model.” He comes off as an academic bored with his own research and trying to make a career jump in academic admistration. A true educator uses the more human language of learning.

Bhuiyan is out to bamboozle the technical illiterate by blowing sunshine about technology that will save us all. Americans have always been susceptible to such tomfoolery because of their lack of a technological background and an overwhelming desire to solve diffuclt problems–here the influence of money, power, and careerism on education–with simplistic solutions.

Bhuiyan is just another Harold Hill (see the Music Man)selling silly dreams to a naive public. Yes, right here in River City.

Prof

July 29th, 2012
1:10 pm

I just want to note that FSU in this case refers to Fayetteville State University in NC, not Florida State University.

Betty

July 29th, 2012
1:13 pm

I agree. The University system needs to come up to date. On line graduates should be able to get the same education as on campus. If not more quality. When you go to school on-line your objective is to learn or get a degree, where most students objective upon entering college is to party and have a good time.

northern neighbor

July 29th, 2012
1:36 pm

You can take a look at Georgia Tech’s Strategic Plan and learn how the Institute is working to reinvent itself into the technological institute for the 21st century. http://www.gatech.edu/vision/sites/gatech.edu.vision/files/SP_Goals_Initiatives_brochure.pdf?phpMyAdmin=e8b0747258bacacf752aeba1f5ce3180
Tech has also joined up with Coursera to put their web-based courses online and create new opportunities for hands-on learning in the classroom.

Michael

July 29th, 2012
2:43 pm

@ML, dragonlady, georgia and education not compatible:
Many thanks. I posted a reply earlier but it seems not to have registered, so here goes again.
I wrote that bit early in the morning after a sleepless night (sinus problems) so upon re-reading it I’m a bit disappointed in my overall style (too many grammar errors for a teacher) but I am flattered that you enjoyed it. I would like to elaborate on a few things.
First, when I said I’d seen colleagues fired for taking a stand, I meant taking a stand for students. Occasionally someone will point out that some of these initiatives don’t make sense or don’t put students first (which is supposed to be our mantra) and those people, in my experience, are soon seeking other employment. These reforms (often engineered by politicians with zero educational experience) generate millions of dollars for various people and no two-bit teacher will stand in their way. You either toe the line or move to the unemployment line.
Second, the issue of pay. Many people have an issue with my “paid vacations”. I have eight years of experience and for that I make $41,000 for nine months work. That’s on the low end of any professional salary so I don’t see the problem. My nine months pay is spread over twelve to make money management easier; if I were being paid for the other three I’d be bringing in about $50,000, which is still on the low end for a professional with years of experience. I don’t complain about my pay and I wish others wouldn’t either.
The purpose of my post was to gather thoughts on what is behind the state of education. In light of so much “reform” why do things not improve? The constant factor for me is the decline of the family and the increase of children’s autonomy at younger and younger ages. I see a child for one hour a day, and in my one hour I can work quite a few miracles. But at the end of the day, it was only an hour. If you reform education over and over again with no positive result, it stands to reason that the problem might not lie in education. It might lie outside education. I’m not bashing parents. I do believe that our society no longer values self accountability.
I would love to write a piece for the ajc but I’m not sure I could. I can’t use my real name because you can rest assured that I would be very quickly unemployed. My bosses read this column and they would be more than displeased if they knew who I was. In the meantime, there’s bills to pay and mouths to feed, so next week I will embrace the year’s latest reforms with open arms and continue to wonder whose purposes I am truly serving.

MM

July 29th, 2012
2:49 pm

Michael,

You say “In light of so much “reform” why do things not improve? The constant factor for me is the decline of the family and the increase of children’s autonomy at younger and younger ages.”

Couldn’t have said it better my self.

Prof

July 29th, 2012
3:30 pm

Dr. Bhuiyan states: “Ten years ago, online classes and degrees were considered low-quality, and most workplaces didn’t even recognize the diplomas. Today, online courses and programs are both important and ubiquitous.” They may be ubiquitous today, and online degrees may be acceptable in K-12 education and elsewhere.

But I can tell you that Progressive Humanist at 11:36 am is dead-right: at this point that the candidate for an academic position who offers such a degree won’t even be considered; and it seems disingenuous to suggest otherwise. Caveat emptor. Evidently, I’m not at PH’s USG school north of Atlanta, but, Bootney at 11:51 am, it is certainly true at my own USG research University.

Ole Guy

July 29th, 2012
4:07 pm

HSMT…”A JELLY DOUNUT”!! “WHAT THE FREQ IS THAT”!! Did I read your comments correctly: “Higher ed…is a complete waste of time…99% of what students learn in school has no purpose in life…”. In admiting that you are a high school math teacher, you have, quite effectively, provided glaring indications as to just where the problems, within public ed, lie. Apparently, by YOUR admittance, 99% of your “teachings” are moot; have no value to the student and, by extension, to a generation of youth.

I am not too sure if you might be ferreted out as to your ID, and your employer, much less the parents (who just might care) of your students, but I would want to do everything possible to ensure your removal from the classroom and, quite possibly, from the educational arena.

While it may be true that, for example, that the works of Steinbeck and Chauser may never be considered “useful” in the real world…short of being an instructor in these areas…the ability, perseverence, and tenacity in absorbing, digesting, and “regurgitating” a mass of materiel is indicative of one who can get things done…I believe the 21st century lexicon is “multi-tasking”.

Much discussion, in previous blogs, has centered on the market values of degrees; of job-specific degrees vs the broad-based variety of BA degrees. While the jury is still out on that question, and will probably remain so forever, it cannot be disputed that many employers, in all frankness, may not give a damn about the specific flavor of degree. All things being equal, the job candidate with that sheepskin has demonstrated the ability to (as Larry the Cable Guy would say) “Giterdone”!

HSMT, you might wish to find a copy of “The Color Of Your Parachute”. You just may be creating more harm than good in your current billet

Ole Guy

July 29th, 2012
4:15 pm

I stand corrected, HSMT…that’s “What Color Is Your Parachute”

redweather

July 29th, 2012
4:36 pm

@Betty: “When you go to school on-line your objective is to learn or get a degree, where most students objective upon entering college is to party and have a good time.”

If you are an online student and your comment is indicative of your ability to think critically abouty this issue, you just sold me on face-to-face classes.

redweather

July 29th, 2012
4:39 pm