An idea whose time has come: online experiential learning


The romantic notion that adults come back to higher education for personal enrichment and self-directed intellectual pursuits does not hold water. After nearly 25 years working with adult students, I have met only a very small number who are pursuing a degree for the pure satisfaction of it. Instead, the vast majority are in it for a better life, which ... Read More »

Online Education Partners: Why Does a University Need One—and How Do You Choose?


Depending on who you talk to, online education is either the big man on campus (BMOC, for the acronym-minded) or the elephant in the classroom. Colleges and universities are launching new or expanded online programs for a multitude of worthwhile—and sometimes hotly debated—reasons, but the basics come down to these: to attract new students, boost enrollments, diversify student populations and ... Read More »

Measuring and understanding the true impact of community colleges

Photography for NEU web site and publications

Several recent reports have been alarming those of us in higher education who care deeply about the future of community colleges and those who attend them. One is Bridging the Higher Education Divide: Strengthening Community Colleges and Restoring the American Dream, a new report from the Century Foundation task force on “preventing community colleges from becoming separate and unequal.” Some ... Read More »

5 tips for adults thinking of going back to school

classing it up

Are you thinking of heading back to school? If so, it wouldn’t just be you and Rodney Dangerfield there. The latest research shows that adults are heading back to college in higher numbers than ever. And with grim projections of employability shortfalls looming in the not-very-distant future, adding some academic feathers to your cap makes more and more sense with every hotly sought-after ... Read More »

Love (of Food), American Style

Menus of Change cover

Last week, we  published a post that covered some current activity regarding the channels of food production. On one end of the spectrum, there were large, industry-wide changes (new, national FDA laws); on the other end were smaller, more personal goings-on (local grassroots initiatives by Maine farmers). Now, somewhere in the middle of it all, lands a new report from ... Read More »

(Whose) Farm to (Your) Table? Farmers and Federal Food Regulations

e.coli lettuce

Who’s in charge of your food? Before it reaches your plate, that is. The quick, over-arching answer is the FDA. But the actual, real-world answer is a bit more complex. This Boston Globe piece by Deborah Kotz discusses the recent changes in some of the regulations that affect the ways food is produced, processed, packaged and sold—and some of the ... Read More »

Death to the College Credit


In my experience in higher ed, I’ve learned this rule: Governance is impervious to being fixed. Somehow it works, and no degree of AAU guidance will make it uniform, or even rational. And a university’s governance works only at that university; whereas one school takes 12 minutes to approve a new concept, another may take 12 years. In general, though, ... Read More »

So Close, Yet So Far: Ambition and Expense Collide as Minority Students Seek Higher Education


Minority students face a number of challenges as they enter higher education (including entering it, as this recent New York Times item highlights)—not the least of which are the economic hurdles. Two recent articles focus on the uphill battle faced by minority students as they engage with higher education—from weighing the decision to apply, to enrolling and matriculating, to successfully ... Read More »

Passing Judgment


…or, Why joining the Shelby dissent and the Windsor majority doesn’t make you a hypocrite. What a week for the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices handed down a pair of much debated and long-awaited decisions, whose controversial ramifications will be felt for years to come. In my professional role (as well as from a personal interest), I tend to perk ... Read More »

Race and college admissions in the wake of the Fisher ruling


According to Merriam-Webster, a compromise is “something intermediate between or blending qualities of two different things.” In politics, it’s often defined as a result in which both sides are unhappy. By either of these standards, the U.S. Supreme Court compromised in its surprisingly narrow ruling in Fisher v. Texas. Most observers, myself included, expected a bitterly divided ruling, 5-3 or ... Read More »

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