College Rankings: What Gets Schools To The Top?

Educational Innovation Weekly Review for Academics
Curated by Tecnológico de Monterrey's Observatory of Educational Innovation
August 4, 2015
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College Rankings: What Gets Schools To The Top?
  • College rankings matter. They influence school reputations and aspirations of prospective students. And because college rankings matter, it matters how college rankings are made. 
  • Many of us equate a good college with a good job, and expect a highly-ranked college to be assurance of job security and high-pay, but college rankings don’t always share those priorities.
  • Many different college rankings exist, each with its own angle. While Forbes and Money each give significant weight to career success measures such as salaries, U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges National Universities Rankings doesn’t. 
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Keywords: higher education, rankings, colleges and universities
College Can Be Made More Affordable and More Accessible–-Here’s How
  • By 2020, the US alone will be three million college graduates short and by 2025, that number could skyrocket to 16 million. Making college exclusive and expensive is not the answer the global economy needs. Higher education shouldn’t be an exclusive club.
  • If a student wants to open his or her mind and learn from a respected research university, they ought to have an inclusive program to jumpstart their college career. So we decided to give people a chance by creating the Global Freshman Academy
  • No applications, no SATs, no letters of recommendation. Just university-quality courses open to anyone, anywhere, at any time. This is a plan based on values, not profits. We want to be a model; programs like it will be an essential part of the future of education. 
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Keywords: education, Anant Agarwal, edX, Michael Crow, ASU
A College Without Classes
The Atlantic
  • A a new model is upending the traditional college experience, and has the potential to change the way universities think about learning. Called competency-based education (CBE), is model that was pioneered by Western Governors University (WGU), a non-profit school founded in 1996. Its goal was to create an institution that would better prepare students for the working world.
  • Since then, WGU’s student graduation rate is rising. Bob Mendenhall, the president of WGU, says mentors make the difference. When students enroll in WGU, they’re assigned a student mentor, who keeps in touch with them weekly through their college careers. 
  • Institutions like WGU upend the faculty model once again. Course mentors are typically Ph.D.s in their field, so this model also has the potential to employ Ph.D. students who might otherwise be without jobs.
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Keywords: competency-bases education, CBE, online education, colleges and universities
Japan Rethinks Higher Education in Skills Push
Liberal arts will be cut back in favor of business programs that emphasize research or vocational training
The Wall Street Journal
  • Japan is retooling its public universities, sacrificing liberal-arts programs in collaboration with a business community eager for better-skilled graduates. The drive is part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's efforts to revitalize the country. 
  • Abe wants to inject more dynamism and innovation into the economy through a greater focus on research, and improving the competitiveness of its graduates with precisely tailored course work. Many businesses have cut back their training programs and are looking to universities to fill the gap. 
  • But there are critics of this shift. Bruce Stronach, dean of Temple University’s Japan campus, said productive citizens are those who engage in society and understand the political and social issues of the day. “That’s why those traditional fields like arts, literature, history and social sciences are also—and will always be—important,” he said.
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Keywords: higher education, labor market, skills gap, liberal arts, Japan, asia
Is the Skills Gap Real?
The Boston Globe
  • Even as the skills gap lights up teleprompters and fills editorial pages, a growing number of economists are sounding a sharp, skeptical note. The problem, they argue, is overblown. The focus on skills, said former US Treasury secretary Lawrence H. Summers, is “fundamentally an evasion of a profound social challenge.”
  • Skills gap skeptics say plenty of hard data support their view. If there was truly a shortage of skilled factory workers, the argument goes, employers would be raising wages to attract people who could do the job. 
  • These days the chief concern is not technical skills. It’s finding workers with a good attitude and a good work ethic. The problem is not mechanical, it’s cultural. And that may be harder to fix. 
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Keywords: economy, education, skills gap
Facilities Key to Students’ University Choice
Times Higher Education
  • Students regard facilities as more important than reputation when choosing their university, a research suggests. A survey of 2,000 students, commissioned by the Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE), found that more than two-thirds (67 per cent) viewed facilities as a crucial part of their decision.
  • “As the cap on student numbers is lifted and a free market emerges, having excellent, well-maintained facilities is going to be a key driver for all universities," said Sue Holmes, chair of AUDE. 
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Keywords: universities, facilities
Trump University: How Donald Trump Persuaded Students to Pay $35,000 to Become Just Like Him
  • Donald Trump once charged thousands of dollars for an education that people thought would teach them to be just like him. From 2005 to 2010, Trump offered what he called "Trump University," which was supposed to offer instruction on becoming a real estate investor. 
  • Trump University didn't promise a college degree. It was a series of seminars at escalating price points that purported to teach students the secrets of successful real estate investing.  
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Keywords: Donald Trump, business, universities, entrepreneurship 
Academics Lack Understanding to Make Business-University Links Work, Says Study
Times Higher Education
  • The reportBuilding Successful Collaborations: The SME’s Viewpoint on Partnering with a University, compiled by data firm Beauhurst, found that a third of companies surveyed say that academics lack the commercial understanding needed to make a business-university collaboration work. 
  • Ben McLeod, senior associate at Beauhurst, said that "One of the key things that needs to continue to change is the incentives to get innovation to not just create shiny things, but shiny things that change the world and are able and encouraged to be moved into businesses."
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Keywords: academia, business, science, innovation, research, universities
The School to Work Transition in Latin America
EdTech Review
  • Latin America's education systems are facing major challenges. Experts have pointed out that there is a persistent disconnect between education and the labor market in the region. Some 55 million Latin Americans don't have a high school degree. Despite underemployment, employers struggle to hire enough qualified labor, limiting the region's growth potential. 
  • Companies like the manufacturing firm Tenaris, with its Tenaris University, Argentine appliance supplier Fravega, and Colombian chocolate conglomerate Casa Luker are examples of firms getting involved in part due to their own shortage of qualified workers. 
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Keywords: education, Latin America, LATAM, labor market
India Loves MOOCs
MIT Technology Review
  • Throughout India, online education is gaining favor as a career accelerator, particularly in technical fields. Indian enrollments account for about 8 percent of worldwide activity in Coursera and 12 percent in edX, the two leading providers of MOOCs. 
  • In the United States and Europe, MOOCs seem to find their biggest audience among those eager to learn more about history, psychology, or some other side interest and enrollees try lots of classes but often drop out after a few sessions. It’s a different story in India. There, students are a more serious bunch, hoping that the right technical courses can help them win better jobs. 
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Keywords: MOOCs, online education, India
Measuring The Power Of A Prison Education
  • The Obama administration is taking a small step toward expanding adult prisoners' access to federal Pell grants. The money would help pay for college-level classes behind bars. There's strong evidence that a range of prison education programs help reduce recidivism and improve a prisoner's chances of thriving once released. 
  • The goal is to test the effectiveness of higher education programs for a U.S. prison population that has grown dramatically. Today, America's state and federal prisons hold some 1.6 million people. 
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Keywords: higher education, peel grants, Obama
Educational Innovation Weekly Review is curated by Tecnológico de Monterrey's  Observatory of Educational Innovation. With the highlights of the week on innovation, technology and education. If you require more information about a specific note, please email us: TECNOLÓGICO DE MONTERREY, 2015.

Observatory of Educational Innovation

Tecnológico de Monterrey's Observatory of Educational Innovation: We identify and analyze the educational innovation trends that are shaping the future of learning and education. 

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