Septiembre 30, 2009
Cuenta del Programa Anillo sobre Políticas de Educación Superior
Al cumplir su primer año de funcionamieto, el Programa Anillo (SOC01) sobre Políticas de Educación Superior --en el cual participan las Universidades Alberto Hurtado, de Talca, Nacional Andrés Bello y Diego Portales, donde tiene su sede principal-- da cuenta al CONICYT de sus avances y producción, así como de las lecciones aprendidas durante este período.
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The present document reports the first year activities of the Anillo Program (SOC01) on Higher Education Policy.
The Anillo Program is an associate and collaborative endeavor among Alberto Hurtado University, the University of Talca, Andres Bello University and Diego Portales University. The Program is located in the Center for Comparative Educational Policies (Centro de Políticas Comparadas de Educación, CPCE) at the Diego Portales University, Santiago with the backing of the four member universities.
This report includes those activities which have been directly undertaken as part of the Anillo Program – that is the nucleus of principal and associate researchers and participating young researchers – in research, teaching, training, international and national networking, the diffusion and transfer of knowledge as well as the sum of other joint activities in the field of higher education policy that have been indirectly supported. For the Anillo Program not only undertakes research, teaching and intervention – as described in the original proposal – but acts as a catalyst for closely associated activities by promoting spin offs, new concepts and projects, further initiatives and the opportunity to coordinate and maximize activities.
The Program researchers are José Joaquín Brunner, PhD, Director; Andrés Bernasconi, PhD, Principal Researcher; Juan Pablo Prieto, PhD, Principal Researcher; Oscar Espinoza, PhD, Associate Researcher; Enrique Fernandez, PhD, Associate Researcher; Manuel Krauskopf, PhD, Associate Researcher; Felipe Salazar, economist, Assistant Researcher and Judith Scheele, MA, Assistant Researcher.
Having completed its first year, the Anillo Program is now in full development. As a result, for the first time in Chile there is now an inter-institutional and interdisciplinary nucleus of specialized researchers working together in the field of higher education. This nucleus is composed of eight researchers (principals, associates and assistants) belonging to the four member universities. In addition, between September 2008 and September 2009 four senior researchers and around ten assistant researchers and research support staffs have become involved in various Program related activities.
The research undertaken in the first year of the project covers three areas; (i) Institutions and public regulations in mixed competitive higher education systems; (ii) Policies to stimulate and help institutional capacity building; (iii) Quality control processes and procedures in mixed and competitive higher education systems. In each of these areas there are various research-lines and projects, which are staffed by Program‟s researchers (Section IV).
During the last twelve months they have published –either as authors, coauthors or editors– three books, sixteen book chapters, twenty articles in peer reviewed journals, as well as many other more general publications for diffusion and knowledge transfer as noted below.
The Program‟s publications seek to advance specialized knowledge about the Chilean tertiary education system through a multidisciplinary and comparative focus with the purpose of disseminating and transferring knowledge to help in the formulation and design of public policies and its informed reflection and deliberation. Together, these publications cover the system‟s most important features pertinent for public policy in Chile. These are:
Institutions, regulations and finance
System governance and institutions
Institutional strategies and organizational management
Development of the academic profession and graduate studies
Information, indicators and quality assurance.
It is worth pointing out that Program research results have been published not only in Chile but also in Germany, Brazil, Spain, the United States, the Netherlands and various international journals. In addition, during its first year, the Program has enlisted higher education researchers from other (non-member) institutions in three ways:
(i) A monthly workshop for presentations and discussions about research in progress;
(ii) A national congress for higher education researchers which will take place in October 2009;
(iii) A multi-authored book, edited by Program researchers, with articles by leaders in higher education institutions and academic experts.
The Anillo Program‟s strong collaborative environment has led to the development of various cooperative activities as part of its knowledge management undertakings (i.e. joint production, transfer, application, and evaluation of knowledge) with the main national public agencies, namely, the Higher Education Division of the Ministry of Education; the National Council of Education, and the National Accreditation Commission. As well as those activities involving the member universities, there have been different kinds of joint activities with at least 20 other higher education institutions in Chile. In brief, the Program is an active participant in national knowledge networks linked to higher education.
In terms of external cooperation, the Program has undertaken different initiatives (Section VII) with three associated centers: the Institut für Hochschulforschung Wittenberg an der Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Germany; the Centre for Higher Education Management Studies at the Polytechnic University, Valencia, Spain, and the Comparative and International Education Policy Program (CIEPP) at the State University of New York (Albany) USA. Program researchers participated also in various collaborative initiatives with the Grupo Faro, based in Quito and the Fundación Ecuador; the National University of Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina; the National Autonomous University of Merida, Yucatan, Mexico; the Catholic University of Guayquil, Ecuador, and with the OECD, the World Bank, Global Initiative for Quality Assurance Capacity (GIQAC), the Colombus Program, Boston College, the Ministry of Education in Argentina, and the Department of Latin American Studies (TCLA) of Leiden University, the Netherlands. Through an agreement reached with this last university the Anillo Program will participate in the training of doctoral students within the field of higher education. These different international initiatives are described fully in appropriate sections of this report.
During this first year Anillo Program members have taught courses about higher education policy in various Masters programs given by participating and non-member institutions. This module was taught in MA programs at the University of La Frontera, the University of Chile (Industrial Engineering Department) and the Alberto Hurtado University for a total of 50 students.
During this same period Program researchers have guided 6 Masters theses and one doctoral thesis in different Chilean and foreign universities. Member institutions are also involved in training activities for leading personnel responsible for university management on issues such as research management and curricular innovation and reform, with the attendance of university management personnel. A training course for leading university executives was also given at the Autonomous University of Yucatan, in Merida, Mexico.
The principal outreach method for the scientific community has been, first, that of academic publications, listed in the Appendix and by the Bulletin of Higher Education Policies, which published five issues in the program's first year. It is electronically distributed to over two thousand interested people in government agencies, parliament, university leaders, academics, non-governmental organizations, business organizations, and mass communications.
Second, four issues of the Bulletin, which synthesizes the results of international research in the higher education field, have been published.
Third, program researchers participate on a regular basis in different academic meetings.
The Anillo Program is also involved in the diffusion of information and ideas to non-specialist publics through various types of extension activities. For example, the Program's Director has published over one hundred posts dealing with the analysis of and reflections about higher education issues in his academic blog (www.brunner.cl), while the Program‟s own site (http://www.cpce.cl/anillo/) provides timely information about its research, publications and the activities of researchers, who have in addition gave more than 50 public interviews to the press, radio and television about higher education topics.
In terms of outreach and applied knowledge, the Program has used all the different procedures and instruments originally envisaged in its proposal. The following should be briefly mentioned (for more information see Section IX):
Synthesis of research results and recommendations. Four working documents were produced during the first year: (i) Tertiary education and the labor market - review of the international literature; (ii) Doctoral education in the sciences and engineering in developed countries – recent evolution and perspectives; (iii) Quality assurance in non university tertiary education - an analysis of evaluation mechanisms in OECD countries; (iv) Accreditation processes – information and indicators: an analysis of the international literature. These publications are addressed to public policy and decision makers; boards and leaders of higher education institutions (HEIs), and the media.
Public Policy Bulletin of Higher Education Policies. An e-Bulletin is circulated on a bi-monthly basis to registered public leaders, boards of HEIs, national researchers‟ networks, relevant private organizations, and media. To date five numbers have been published dealing with the following issues: Contemporary debate about higher education policy; Management of the academic profession; Access, inclusion and equity in university entrance; Performance contracts and strategic planning. These are available at http://www.cpce.cl/es/publicaciones/boletin-de-politicas-publicas-en-ed-superior).
Academic publications in specialized journals, books and book chapters. The public here is national and international (specialized) research networks and the academic community at large. These are set out in more detail in section IV in this report and the relevant Appendix provides a detailed list.
Opinion columns in the media (print and electronic) are intended to inform and whenever possible to influence discussions about the public agenda in higher education and to participate in these discussions. Various Program members actively take part in the public sphere.
Leadership development for higher education policy through workshops on higher education policy and management for public sector and HEI personnel in executive positions. Two workshops were organized addressing issues about research management and curricular reform.
Support for publishing activities through the Program‟s site, so allowing external researchers to present working papers and to be published after peer review. These are to be found at the Program‟s web page; in the near future, the presentations at the first Congress of Higher Education Researchers, which is being organized by the Anillo Program, will be published.
Communication with public leaders of select public agencies to define working issues and priorities. The program and its members have maintained close ties with the principal agencies in the sector and gained various research contracts as noted in the appropriate sections of this report.
International networks: transfer of ideas, knowledge and policy innovations through exchanges with associated centers and participation in international events, consulting & advisory services. As noted above, the program has active agreements with many institutions in Latin America, the USA and Europe, as well as collaborative projects, academic interchanges and advisory services and consultancies.
Platform for collaborative projects through alliances with associated centers and utilization of foreign external consultants to ensure the Program‟s sustainability and strengthen its endogenous capacities. In this area, the principal success has been to develop a platform for international collaboration and to reach agreement with the Department of Latin American Studies at Leiden University to develop a joint program for doctoral training in the field of higher education studies.
Manuel Castells: Premio Nacional (España) de Sociología
Manuel Castells (en la foto), nacido en Albacete, 1942, publicó su primer libro en 1972, La Question Urbaine, que ha sido traducido a diez idiomas y ya forma parte de los clásicos de su disciplina. Con este trabajo se convirtió en uno de los fundadores de la llamada Nueva Sociología Urbana, haciendo numerosas contribuciones importantes en este campo a lo largo de los 10 años siguientes (especialmente los libros The City and the Grassroots y The Informational City).
A comienzos de los años ochenta, Castells emprendió el estudio de las transformaciones económicas y sociales emparejadas a la última revolución tecnológica, la sociedad de la información, empleando en ello una amplia perspectiva comparada que abarca sociedades de tres continentes. La trilogía The Information Age, aparecida entre 1996 y 1998 es el producto fundamental de esas investigaciones (Los tres libros han sido publicados en España con los títulos de La sociedad red, El poder de la identidad y Fin de Milenio).
Esta obra, única por su ambición en la sociología contemporánea, ha sido recibida inmediatamente como un clásico y ya ha sido traducida a 20 idiomas (a la mayoría de las grandes lenguas europeas, además de al chino, japonés, indonesio, parsi, árabe...). Su último libro es una obra colectiva titulada Mobile Communication and Society: A Global Perspective.
El Jurado ha puesto de manifiesto la proyección internacional del premiado así como su capacidad de innovación. Manuel Castells es autor de 20 libros, ha participado como coautor en otros 21 y ha publicado más de un centenar de artículos científicos en revistas académicas o en libros colectivos. Ha escrito sus obras en inglés, francés y castellano y ha sido profesor de diversas universidades de Europa, América y Asia. En su web www.manuelcastells.info/es/cv_index.htm se puede encontrar su historia académica y profesional.
Los miembros del Jurado fueron la Presidenta del CIS, Belén Barreiro Pérez-Pardo y los investigadores y profesores José María Maravall Herrero, Jesús Leal Maldonado, Luisa Carlota Solé Puig, Rodolfo Gutiérrez Palacios, Marina Subirats Martoni y Ludolfo Paramio Rodrigo.
La Factoría, 29 septiembre 2009
Manuel Castells es un gran amigo de Chile y de muchos de sus c olegas chilenos quienes lo felicitamos con todo nuestro afecto desde la distancia por este Premio.
Artículos publicados por Castells en La Factoría, ver aquí
Presencia de Castells en este Blog, ver aquí
Hace 100 años: Visita de Freud a Universidad de los Estados Unidos
Artículo que cuenta la visita de S. Freud a una pequeña universidad norteamericano justo hace 100 años, sus conferencias y otros apsectos de su viaje y estadía.
Otros artículos sobre Freud en este Blog:
When Freud Came to America
By Russell Jacoby, The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 21, 2009.
One hundred years ago, Sigmund Freud arrived in the United States on his first and only visit. As the George Washington pulled into New York Harbor, he supposedly remarked to Carl Jung, who accompanied him, "They don't realize that we are bringing them the plague." His more vociferous contemporary critics would probably agree.
Freud came to deliver five lectures over five days in September 1909 at Clark University. Its president, G. Stanley Hall, had invited a number of leading thinkers to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Clark. Clark? For our rank-obsessed society, that might seem surprising. Not Chicago or Princeton or Columbia but a small Massachusetts university with just 16 faculty members had invited one of the pivotal thinkers of the 20th century. Indeed, William James came over from Harvard to listen to the lectures. Perhaps we overlook the role of the smaller and less flashy schools in American cultural life. Twenty-four years later a small outfit on West 12th Street in Manhattan hired many more refugees from Nazism than more celebrated institutions. In its housing of exiled scholars, the New School far eclipsed grander universities.
Perhaps the balance of wealth in the early part of the century was not as skewed as it is nowadays; or at least Hall's invitation to Freud opens a small window into a neglected question of the economics of writing and lecturing. Hall first offered Freud an "honorarium" of $400 to cover expenses to lecture in July. Freud declined because he would lose too much income by canceling three weeks of private consultations. Hall upped the honorarium to $750, and the lectures were shifted to September, when Freud had no appointments.
An honorarium of $750 is roughly in the league of what might be paid a professor nowadays to fly across the country and give a lecture, if he or she is lucky. Of course a 1909 greenback is not a 2009 greenback. Various indexes exist to update past prices. Readjusted in current dollars, $750 in 1909 computes out to something between $18,000 and $36,000 in 2009—not a bad piece of change! Few writers or professors would turn down an offer nowadays to give some lectures if the invitation came with a $20,000 honorarium. The amount not only suggests the relative wealth of Clark—Hall had $10,000, or half a million in current dollars, to spend on the anniversary—but the generous remuneration for independent lectures in the early part of the 20th century.
Freud spoke off the cuff from notes to a good crowd. Yet contemporary observers of the Clark lectures did not mention what today would be extraordinary. Freud spoke in German with no translation provided. Today if Jürgen Habermas lectured in German at an American university, the audience could comfortably sit around a small table. But a century ago, a series of lectures in German neither diminished the audience nor elicited disapproval. In 1909 advanced study usually meant study in Germany. It was assumed the professoriate knew German. Today the opposite is true. That might not be a reason for dismay, if other languages have replaced German, but that has not happened. The din about globalization evades the reality of the decline of serious language study among American students. Globalization spells "English Spoken Here."
Freud suspected that American prudishness would curtail the reception of his ideas. I think, he wrote to Jung before they departed, that once the Americans "discover the sexual core of our psychological theories they will drop us." Later critics of Freud, especially feminist critics, forget to what extent he showed up as a militant sexual reformer. He wanted to be able to talk about sexual desire and liberalize sexual practices. He made no effort to mute that message. Freud's five lectures closed with a call to allow greater sexual freedom. He said civilization demands "excessive" sexual repression. "We ought not to aim so high that we completely neglect the original animality of our nature." He cautioned that it was not possible to "sublimate" all sexual impulses into cultural accomplishments.
To drive his point home, Freud closed with an analogy and recounted a folk tale about the foolish residents of Schilda. They owned a strong and productive horse with one flaw, its need for expensive oats. The thrifty citizens decided to gradually cut down its ration until the horse grew accustomed to "complete abstinence." The plan of action went well until one day the townspeople woke up and found the horse had died. This perplexed them. Freud closed his last lecture and formal visit to the United States with the following sentence: "We are inclined to believe that the horse had died of starvation and that without a certain ration of oats, no work can indeed be expected from an animal."
In the first rows of the audience sat Emma Goldman, the anarchist and sexual reformer, with her lover Ben Reitman. She was "deeply impressed" by Freud's "lucidity" and "the simplicity of his delivery." (She did not comment that he lectured in German.) She also attended the ceremony where Freud received an honorary degree. The other professors appeared "stiff and important in their university caps and gowns," but Freud looked "unassuming" in his ordinary attire. She called him a "giant among pygmies."
If he needed it, a reference from Emma Goldman could burnish Freud's credentials as a sexual reformer. Yet an opening and incidental sentence to his five lectures may prove more prescient than his last: "I have discovered with satisfaction that the majority of my audience are not of the medical profession." The observation seems trivial, but much turned on it. With virtually no success in the United States, Freud fought what might be called the monopolization of psychoanalysis by medical doctors. He wanted nonmedical or lay people to practice psychoanalysis, if they were properly trained. This was no minor issue to Freud. He distrusted the medical profession. He feared that doctors would turn psychoanalysis into a subfield, a narrow therapy. I do not "consider it at all desirable for psychoanalysis to be swallowed up by medicine," he wrote, "and to find its last resting place in a textbook of psychiatry under the heading, 'Methods of Treatment.'"
In fact, that more or less happened. American doctors banished lay practition-ers and made psychoanalysis into a medical speciality. For decades psychoanalysis prospered as psychiatrists embraced it, but more recently the doctors have moved on. Psychoanalysis was too slow, too expensive, too uncertain, and too unscientific. Along with academic psychologists, psychiatrists adopted chemical, behavioral, and pharmaceutical approaches.
But Freud did not defend psychoanalysis on the basis of its therapeutic effectiveness; he had other, perhaps more imperial ambitions. ("Somewhere in my soul," he admitted, "I am a fanatical Jew.") He wanted psychoanalysis to contribute to literature and culture, even reform society. He invoked the possibility of "combating the neuroses of civilization." He wrote smaller and smaller books on bigger and bigger subjects, such as The Future of an Illusion (on religion) and Civilization and Its Discontents (on happiness and aggression).
This may be the "plague" that Freud brought to the New World: uninhibited thinking. To be sure, the molecular, genetic, or chemical perspective may be perfectly suitable for treating many ailments or behaviors. Yet the clamorous effort to rid the world of Freud is misguided. Psychology departments may relegate psychoanalysis to phrenology and other quackeries as they seek testable results, but Freud's thought lives on in the humanities—or wherever scholars and students contemplate the vagaries of desire, morality, and religion. In the name of reason, Freud challenged the veneer of reason. He dug to uncover the forces that make us not only loving but also odd, hateful, and violent. Even when he was wrong, a boldness infused his thinking. He remains a tonic for a cautious age. The epigram that Freud chose for The Interpretation of Dreams—a line from Virgil—has not lost its appeal: "If I cannot bend the higher powers, I shall stir up hell."
Russell Jacoby is a professor in residence in the history department at the University of California at Los Angeles. A columnist for The Chronicle Review, he is author, most recently, of Picture Imperfect: Utopian Thought for an Anti-Utopian Age (Columbia University Press, 2005).
Septiembre 29, 2009
Evaluación de aprendizajes: tres documentos del Banco mundial
El primer documento, “Assessing National Achievement Levels in Education,” explica los objetivos de la evaluación educativa y resume las características principales de la evaluación del logro escolar en nueve países.
El segundo ocumento, “Questionnaires for a National Assessment of Educational Achievement,” está dirigido a los equipos nacionales de evaluación educativa y explica las actividades involucradas en el desarrollo de pruebas de desempeño escolar.
Finalmente, el tercer documento, “Using the Results of a National Assessment of Educational Achievement,” se enfoca en cómo los países han usado los resultados de exámenes de rendimiento escolar para influir en la política y la reforma educativa.
Using the Results of a National Assessment of Educational Achievement (PDF, 1.7MB)
National Assessment of Educational Achievement - Volume V
Thomas Kellaghan, Vincent Greaney, T. Scott Murray. 2009
The book outlines general considerations in translating national assessment results into policy and action, and examines specific procedures for using the data in policy making, educational management, teaching, and promoting public awareness.
Developing Tests and Questionnaires for a National Assessment of Educational Achievement (PDF, 1.2MB)
National Assessment of Education Achievement Series - Volume II
Prue Anderson, George Morgan. Document Date: 2008
This book is the second in the series designed to help build capacity in carrying out technically adequate assessments of student achievement. It introduces readers to the activities involved in the development of achievement tests, and includes developing an assessment framework, writing multiple choice and constructed response type items, pretesting, producing test booklets, and handscoring items. A section on questionnaire construction features designing questionnaires, writing questions coding responses, and linking questionnaire and test score data, The final section covers the development of a test administration manual, selecting test administrators, and contacting samples schools. A companion CD contains examples of released items from national and international tests, sample questionnaires, and administrative manuals.
Assessing National Achievement Levels in Education (PDF, 1.4MB)
National Assessment of Education Achievement Series - Volume I
Vincent Greaney, Thomas Kellaghan. Document Date: 2/1/2008
Sound assessment of the performance of educational systems is a key component in developing policies to optimize the development of human capital around the world. Assessing National Achievement Levels in Education is one of a series of five books which introduce key concepts in national assessments of student achievement levels.
Septiembre 28, 2009
La visión de los industriales británicos sobre la universidad
Esta semana se dio a conocer el Informe Stronger together. Businesses and universities in turbulent times, preparado por el Grupo de Tarea sobre Educación Superior de la Confederación Británica de Industrias (CBI Higher Education Task Force). The CBI is the UK's top business lobby organisation. Our specialist services and unmatched influence with government, policymakers, legislators, and unions mean we can get the best deal for business at home and abroad.
Más abajo ver el comunicado de prensa de la CBI sobre el informe.
Foreword by Sam Laidlaw 04
Executive summary 05
1 What business wants from higher education 10
2 Now is a critical time to act 17
3 Why business must do more 21
4 Delivering business outcomes in tough financial times 31
5 How universities can do more for business 36
6 Ensuring students have the skills to succeed 44
HE Task Force members 50
The UK has a world class higher education sector. But it faces some urgent challenges including the changing needs of business, intensifying international competition and constrained public sector funding.
Effective collaboration between the higher education sector, business and government will be critical to the UK’s economic recovery and sustainable international competitiveness.
This report was prepared on behalf of business to offer recommendations on how business, the higher education sector and government can each contribute to ensuring:
• Future students have the best chance of success in an increasingly competitive world
• The capabilities of the higher education sector are fully utilised to equip our existing workforce with the skills necessary for today and tomorrow’s world
• Research and innovation partnerships between business and higher education have the best chance of success.
Although written from a business perspective, this report recognises that business is not the only stakeholder and that universities have a wider social role to fulfil. Equally all stakeholders, including government, have some difficult choices to make.
We were fortunate in having on this Task Force the vice-chancellors of three eminent universities, as well as business leaders from different sectors, representing both large and small employers.
While there may have been differences of emphasis among Task Force members, all have endorsed the content of this report and we hope the initiatives they have outlined will be followed by businesses across the country.
Members were unanimous that the challenges are real and urgent. Business has to step up to the challenge, as does the higher education sector, in providing highly employable graduates and value for money. Finally government must provide the incentives, framework and funding necessary for sustainable success.
Chairman, CBI Higher Education Task Force and CEO, Centrica plc
BUSINESS MUST DO MORE TO HELP MAINTAIN A WORLD CLASS HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEM – MAJOR NEW REPORT
CBI Task Force calls for far-reaching changes to maintain quality
With the UK’s higher education (HE) system facing tough choices posed by recession and competition from abroad, business must do even more than it does to work with universities and the government to help maintain the UK’s international competitiveness, a major new report says today (Monday).
The report, the culmination of a year’s work by the CBI Higher Education Task Force - comprising both business and universities - also says that the rapid rise in student numbers, coupled with a severe strain on public finances, makes current public funding levels unsustainable.
The Task Force’s report, Stronger together – businesses and universities in turbulent times, highlights the vital contribution that excellence in higher education makes to business competitiveness and argues that: "new thinking is required on the financing, structure and mission of our universities if they are to sustain and strengthen their position in a rapidly changing environment". This means that government, universities and students, as well as business, will have to do more if they are to maintain the strength and the quality of HE in the UK.
The UK's HE sector is one of the most successful in the world, and the report acknowledges that universities are a "vital public good". Business needs excellent universities to produce the graduates, postgraduates, research and innovation that are required to drive economic growth and prosperity.
The UK compares quite favourably with similar countries on how many young people go to university, and undergraduate numbers have risen by 35 per cent since 1997. However, the proportion of UK graduates taking science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) degrees has declined by 20 per cent since 1999-2000, and the CBI wants to see more young people to continue with these subjects after the age of 16.
Sam Laidlaw, Chairman of the CBI HE Task Force and CEO of Centrica, said:
"The UK has a world-class higher education sector. But it faces some urgent challenges including the changing needs of business, intensifying international competition, and constrained public sector funding. Universities and government cannot deliver a world class service alone.
"Effective collaboration between the higher education sector, business and government will be critical to the UK’s economic recovery and sustainable international competitiveness. Business must also make a sustained effort in supporting higher education. To this end, I am pleased that as a Task Force we have made a strong commitment to provide the support needed to help students build the employability and technical skills that are so important."
The report proposes that more businesses should work with universities to:
Sponsor students studying subjects relevant to business, such as science and technology.
Provide financial support to new graduates, through bonuses when they sign on with the firm.
Offer more opportunities for internships, placements, work experience or projects.
View working with universities as part of core innovation activity.
Richard Lambert, CBI Director-General, said:
"Maintaining a world-class higher education system is vital to the UK’s future competitiveness, and we should sustain current levels of investment in teaching and research, which are low by international standards. Strong leadership is also needed to minimise the risk of long-term decline.
"Business should engage more with universities, both financially and intellectually. More firms should help design and pay for courses for the benefit of the current and future workforce, and more firms should offer students practical work experience.
"In return for this extra investment of time and money, business will want to see more emphasis given to certain subjects, such as science, technology, engineering and maths. Languages are also seen to be important, and the Task Force argues that more should be done to prepare students for the world of work, and teach them the generic skills that will help smooth their pathway into employment."
The expansion of higher education and the state of public finances is putting an increasing strain on resources. The government has already asked universities in England to make savings of £180 million between 2009 and 2011, and many are budgeting for cuts between 10 to 20 per cent.
To preserve the quality of university teaching and research, the report warns that if cuts have to be made, they should be focused on what, by international standards, are generous levels of funding for student support and recommends that the government temporarily drops its target of 50 per cent of 18 to 30-year-olds participating in higher education.
Mr Lambert added: "The economic downturn makes cuts to public funding for HE inevitable, so new sources of funding have to be found. Universities and business must work together to preserve the quality of teaching and research, waste in the HE system must be cut, with universities sharing more of their services and consolidating to make efficiencies.
"On funding, our Task Force considered - and rejected - three options open to the government: cutting research funding, slashing teaching budgets and reducing student numbers. Instead, we say that savings should come from the student support system. Of course, it's never easy to ask students to pay more, but the UK's student support is on a par with some of the most generous in the world, and the priority must be to preserve quality as well as assisting those unable to pay to ensure that higher education remains open to all."
The report argues that:
The government’s target for 50 per cent of 18-30 year-olds to participate in HE should be dropped for the time being. Given financial pressures, the focus should be on quality not quantity. Following the surge in numbers over recent decades, the UK compares pretty well with similar countries and the priority must be on continuing to raise the performance at the school level.
Tuition fee loans should be provided at the government’s cost of borrowing. This should be phased in over a three-year period to avoid impacting on current students, and would deliver £1.4 billion savings per year.
Maintenance grants should be focused on those most in need, reversing the government’s recent changes and returning support to 2006-7 income thresholds. Research shows the main barrier to university is attainment prior to university and that student applications have not increased as a result of the rise in income thresholds implemented in 2007-8, so it is unlikely this change would have an adverse impact on applications. It will be increasingly important for universities, with the support of business to provide the extra bursaries that will be needed to ensure that higher education remains open to all.
An increase in fees appears inevitable. With the forthcoming review of tuition fees, likely to be up and running by the end of the year, the choice is between finding new money to put into the system or seeing student numbers decline. Universities UK has calculated that increasing the cap to £5,000 from 2012 in England would deliver an annual increase in income for universities of £1.25 billion from 2014, without leading to a decline in student demand.
The report contains a number of challenges to the universities. It argues they should focus on their strengths, and become more specialised, but also more productive by sharing more resources. The way teaching is funded also needs to change - to give students more opportunities for work experience during their degree, encourage new and innovative teaching methods and help universities expand numbers for subjects, where there is demand, within overall public funding limits.
Commitment from business:
The report contains commitments made by the 13 business members of the Task Force, over and above what they already do with the HE sector. These include:
AstraZeneca: ensure current and future needs for their sector are clearly communicated, and work with trade bodies to ensure students have easy access to careers information and opportunities in the industry.
Balfour Beatty: offer over 100 internships or placements in 2010, extend collaboration with universities on workforce development and encourage more links with universities.
Centrica: increase graduate programme through the downturn to 60 graduates, increase placements and internships by 50% to 75 in 2010, sponsor 10 students in STEM disciplines and provide sign-on bonus to support graduate tuition fees.
Imes Group: offer sign-on bonuses to graduate recruits with relevant STEM qualifications, and MSc placements and internships to undergraduates.
Kingfisher: develop its current internship programme for undergraduates into a more formal recruitment programme for students upon graduation, with a chance to join a new management training scheme from Autumn 2010.
KPMG: set up a programme for first year students with the aim of providing them with business understanding and commercial experience, with a pilot programme in 2010 for 20 students, and run a vacation programme on a paid basis for 100 students in their second year.
McDonald's: 50 graduate positions on its management training programme, 20 work placements for pre-university students, and 20 one-year internships in 2010.
Microsoft: offer 100 graduate internships in 2009-10 and a sign-on bonus scheme to support graduates pay off tuition fees.
Network Rail: double its number of graduate vacancies in 2010, aiming to recruit 150 graduates at Bachelor level, up to 80 at Masters level, and 25 at Foundation level.
Nissan: increase numbers of students on its Sunderland campus project to support graduates taking work-based Masters courses, taking 15 graduates in 2009 and a further 15 in 2010.
QinetiQ: increase its active STEM ambassadors working with schools and national STEM educational projects to 200, expand its internship programme to offer a minimum of 50 students work experience, Year in Industry or sponsorship opportunities by 2010.
Shell UK: maintain graduate recruitment though the downturn, hiring 120 UK graduates by the end of 2009, and offer programme of internships and work experience programmes for more than 50 undergraduates.
Thomson Reuters: sign up to the Graduate Talent Pool initiative, and expand its number of internships to over 50 for 2009-10.
Septiembre 27, 2009
Costo de la educación superior: ¿quién paga?
Columna publicada en El Mercurio, página de Educación, domingo 27 septiembre 2009.
Costo de la educación superior: ¿quién paga?
José Joaquín Brunner
Suele destacarse, con razón, que Chile ostenta uno de los más altos índices de esfuerzo de los hogares para el financiamiento de la educación superior.
Efectivamente, mientras en nuestro país las familias y los estudiantes contribuyen con un 83% del gasto total en instituciones de educación terciaria, en los países miembros de la OCDE dicha cifra oscila entre 4% en Dinamarca y 53% en la República de Corea, sin superar un 20% en el promedio de estos países.
Una parte de la explicación radica en el bajísimo gasto público que se destina en Chile a la educación superior; apenas un 0,3% del PIB, siendo el gasto privado de un 1,4% del PIB. En cambio, en el promedio de la OCDE, dichas cifras son, respectivamente, 1% y 0,5%.
Vivimos pues en mundos diametralmente distintos. Una diferencia es la proporción de estudiantes matriculados en instituciones privadas sin subsidio estatal: un 14,2% en carreras técnico-vocacionales y un 13,7% en programas académico-profesionales dentro del mundo OCDE, por oposición a Chile donde las cifras correspondientes son 90% y 43%.
Otro contraste: en nuestro país también los estudiantes inscritos en instituciones con subsidio fiscal pagan un elevado precio, a diferencia de lo que ocurre en varios países de la OCDE, donde solamente pagan un mínimo en ese tipo de instituciones.
Dicho a la manera de los debates televisivos, estaríamos aquí frente a un mundo neoliberal donde la educación superior se compra, en oposición a otro fraternal y solidario donde ella se dona generosamente por el Estado.
La verdad es otra, sin embargo. Primero, el mundo gratuito de la educación terciaria se halla en retirada no sólo en Asia, Europa Central y del Este y los países ricos del Pacífico, sino también en el Reino Unido, los Países Bajos, Canadá y otros antiguos bastiones del Estado de bienestar.
Enseguida, la provisión fuertemente subsidiada de enseñanza terciaria, allí donde subsiste, se compensa con altas tasas impositivas para personas y empresas. Por ejemplo, en Dinamarca los ingresos tributarios recolectados por el gobierno representan un 36% del PIB; en Chile es apenas alrededor de un 20%.
Cabe preguntar, entonces, si acaso se justifica el extraordinario esfuerzo en que incurren las familias chilenas para financiar la educación superior de sus hijos. Todo parece confirmarlo.
Los jóvenes en posesión de un título se encuentran no sólo mejor protegidos de los vaivenes del desempleo y gozan de una serie de beneficios no-monetarios, sino que obtienen, además, un importante premio salarial en el mercado de trabajo.
En efecto, mientras en los países de la OCDE los graduados universitarios reciben en promedio remuneraciones 1,6 veces superiores a las que obtienen personas con educación media completa, en Chile dicha diferencia es de casi 4 veces según cifras recientes.
En suma, la educación superior es cara y en todas partes la financian, al final, los hogares. Pueden hacerlo directamente, por la vía de aranceles y otras tasas pagadas a las instituciones, o bien de manera indirecta, a través de los impuestos.
En Chile se ha optado por el primer camino. Sin embargo, la contribución de las familias y de los propios beneficiados se ha vuelto insostenible para la mayoría, a pesar de los esquemas de crédito estudiantil y de becas existentes. Éstos necesitan ser racionalizados y ampliados, para lo cual es imprescindible un mayor gasto fiscal.
El próximo gobierno deberá elegir entre aumentar dicho gasto por el camino de una mayor tributación o reasignando fondos públicos y empleándolos de manera más eficiente.
Recursos asociados en el Blog durante el mes de septiembre
La crisis alcanza a las universidades públicas más rica: Berkeley, 24 septiembre 2009
¿Por qué aumenta el precio de los estudios superiores?, 19 septie,bre 2009
Cómo ahorrar dineros del presupuesto universitario en tiempos de crisis, 12 septiembre 2009
Panorama de la Educación 2009: Indicadores de la OCDE, 9 septiembre 2009
Septiembre 25, 2009
Educación terciaria y mercado laboral: Formación profesional, empleo y empleabilidad. Revisión de la literatura internacional
En este documento de junio 2009 (82 pp.), Judith Scheele, con la colaboración de José Joaquín Brunner, revisan la literatura internacional sobre el tema y ofrecen una síntesis de los principales tópicos abordados por ella.
Bajar el documento aquí 1,22 MB
Bajar el documento aquí 1,48 MB
Trabajo preparado en el marco del Convenio entre el Ministerio de Educación, División de Educación Superior, por un lado y, por el otro, el Centro de Políticas Comparadas de Educación, Universidad Diego Portales y el Departamento de Ingeniería Industrial de la Facultad de Ciencias Físicas y Matemáticas, Universidad de Chile para desarrollar el “Observatorio de Graduados de la Educación Superior Chilena”, 2008-2009. Contó asimismo con el apoyo del Programa Anillo (SOC01) de la Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (Conicyt) en Políticas de Educación Superior. Las opiniones vertidas y los análisis corresponden exclusivamente a los autores y no comprometen a las instituciones mencionadas.
1. POLÍTICAS PARA FOMENTAR EL ACERCAMIENTO ENTRE UNIVERSIDADES Y EL MERCADO
1.1. Políticas públicas para mejorar la empleabilidad de graduados
1.2. Orientación profesional dentro de la educación terciaria
1.3. Análisis de la posición de graduados en el mercado laboral
2. LA INSERCIÓN DE LOS GRADUADOS EN EL MERCADO LABORAL
2.1. Oferta y demanda de personal calificado
2.1.1 Sobre-educación, sub-calificación y falta de personal por desequilibrios en la dinámica del mercado laboral
2.2. Diferencias en empleabilidad y empleo entre graduados universitarios y personas con otros niveles de formación
3. EVALUACIÓN DE LA POSICIÓN DE LOS GRADUADOS EN EL MERCADO LABORAL
3.1. Satisfacción con el empleo
3.2. Rendimiento monetario de la inversión en formación
4. LAS COMPETENCIAS DE LOS GRADUADOS VERSUS LAS NECESIDADES DEL MERCADO
4.1. Las expectativas de empleadores
La educación superior siempre ha sido una parte esencial de las sociedades, dado que produce individuos altamente educados que poseen los conocimientos para realizar desarrollo e innovación y que pueden llevar el país a un nivel superior en el campo de investigación, liderazgo y producción económica.
Por décadas los gobiernos e instituciones de educación superior dieron la empleabilidad de graduados de educación superior por supuesto, porque formaban un grupo privilegiado que hizo fluidamente la transición al mercado laboral y rindió buenos resultados en términos de remuneración y desarrollo profesional. Aunque ya en los años 70 había empleadores que quejaron que los graduados no poseían las capacidades que necesitaban, esto no resultó en situaciones de desempleo o sobre-educación entre graduados, porque se necesitaron a todos los egresados universitarios para cumplir con la demanda (Mason et.al., 2003: 3).
Sin embargo, en las décadas después ocurrió una expansión impresionante de la educación terciaria, por lo que la oferta de personal altamente educado aumentó rápido y los graduados empezaron a sentir la presión de la competencia. Los empleadores, que ahora disponían de suficiente capital humano, pudieron hacer una selección de los graduados en base de sus competencias, por lo que parte de los titulados se quedaban al margen del mercado laboral.
Además de la expansión de la educación superior, ocurrieron algunos otros desarrollos que influyeron la posición de los graduados, como el surgimiento de nuevas tecnologías (sobre todo en el campo de la informática) y formas de trabajo, la globalización, y la creciente movilidad de personal y estudiantes. En resumen, había varios cambios que hicieron que el tema de la empleabilidad se pusiera en la agenda política (Teichler, 1999: 185):
• la tendencia de empleo regular hacia una forma de trabajo más flexible y precaria;
• de un paradigma elitista y de escasez hacia un paradigma de masa y abundancia;
• de una sociedad de formación `pre-carera profesional´ hacia una sociedad de aprendizaje de toda la vida;
• de un mercado de formación y trabajo nacional hacia un escenario global o internacional.
Hoy en día existe un debate mundial sobre la empleabilidad de graduados y, en general, sobre el objetivo de la educación superior con relación al mercado laboral. Dado que la transición al mercado laboral se ha puesto más compleja y duradera por graduados, se discute la necesidad de modificar los programas de educación superior y adaptarlos mejor a los requisitos de los empleadores.
En este informe se analiza la posición actual de los graduados en el mercado laboral y el rol de los gobiernos e instituciones de educación superior en los intentos de aumentar la empleabilidad de los graduados.
En el primer capítulo se da una visión del conjunto de políticas que los gobiernos han elaborado para establecer y ampliar el vínculo entre las universidades y el sector económico. Además, se estudian los diferentes tipos de formación profesional y los modos en que las instituciones de educación superior tratan de promover las habilidades profesionales de sus estudiantes.
El segundo capítulo investiga la inserción de los graduados en el mercado laboral y la dinámica del juego de oferta y demanda de personal académico.
Después, en el tercer capítulo se analiza la calidad de la posición de los graduados en el mercado laboral evaluada por medio de tasas de remuneración y satisfacción con el empleo.
Finalmente, en el cuarto capítulo se hace una comparación entre las competencias de los graduados y las expectativas de los empleadores, en base de que se hacen conclusiones sobre la empleabilidad real de los graduados y el valor profesional de una formación universitaria.
Septiembre 24, 2009
El aseguramiento de la calidad en la educación terciaria no universitaria. Un análisis del sector de educación terciaria no universitaria y sus mecanismos de evaluación en los países de la OCDE
En este documento de agosto 2009 (59 pp.), Judith Scheele, con la colaboración de José Joaquín Brunner, revisan la literatura internacional sobre el tema y ofrecen una síntesis de los principales tópicos abordados por ella.
Este trabajo fue preparado en el marco del Convenio entre el Ministerio de Educación, División de Educación Superior, por un lado y, por el otro, el Centro de Políticas Comparadas de Educación, Universidad Diego Portales, y el Departamento de Ingeniería Industrial de la Facultad de Ciencias Físicas y Matemáticas, Universidad de Chile, para desarrollar el “Observatorio de Graduados de la Educación Superior Chilena”, 2008-2009. Contó asimismo con el apoyo del Programa Anillo (SOC01) de la Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (Conicyt) en Políticas de Educación Superior. Las opiniones vertidas y los análisis corresponden exclusivamente a los autores y no comprometen a las instituciones mencionadas.
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Introducción [ver más abajo]
CAPÍTULO 1 CARACTERÍSTICAS DE LA EDUCACIÓN TERCIARIA NO UNIVERSITARIA
1.1 Definiciones de la educación terciaria no universitaria
1.2 La posición de la educación terciaria no universitaria en el sistema de educación
CAPÍTULO 2 ASEGURAMIENTO DE LA CALIDAD DE LA EDUCACIÓN TERCIARIA NO UNIVERSITARIA
2.1 Normas y estándares de calidad
2.2 Mecanismos para evaluar la calidad de los programas e instituciones de educación terciaria no universitaria
2.2.1 Perfil de los organismos de acreditación
2.3 Consecuencias de la acreditación
Anexo: Ejemplo de una estrategia de calidad con la misión, los objetivos y el plan de acción de una institución ETNU
La educación terciaria es hoy un tema central para las políticas públicas. Gracias a su rápido crecimiento en las décadas pasadas y a la diversificación de la población estudiantil, la educación terciaria se ha convertido en un importante factor de cambio social, de crecimiento económico y para la realización de objetivos colectivos de la sociedad (OECD, 2008). Además de las universidades tradicionales, se han establecidas –a partir de los años 60 pero con una rápida expansión durante las últimas dos décadas– múltiples instituciones de educación terciaria no universitaria (ETNU), promovidas por los gobiernos como una alternativa costo-efectiva junto a las universidades, en condiciones de contribuir a satisfacer la creciente demanda de educación superior (Mikhail, 2008: 1).
En diversas partes del mundo, las instituciones ETNU se crean bajo el supuesto de que ellas representan diversas ventajas en comparación con las universidades tradicionales. Primero, su carácter menos elitista, que les permite abrir el acceso a la educación terciaria a un mayor número de estudiantes. En efecto, ellas han contribuido de manera decisiva al surgimiento de un sistema educativo de masas, con estudiantes de diferentes clases socio-económicas, orientaciones y grupos de edad (Essajume, s.a.: 1). Segundo, una oferta de programas con un enfoque práctico y vocacional, que complementa la oferta principalmente teórico-académica de las universidades, dando satisfacción a demandas del mercado laboral por técnicos altamente cualificados. Tercero, una mayor diversidad de la educación terciaria al introducir nuevos tipos de programas (por ejemplo, programas de ciclo corto o de `enseñanza a distancia´) y nuevos métodos didácticos (clases participativas; prácticas en cooperación con la industria, etc.). Tal diversidad atrae a estudiantes que de lo contrario no considerarían realizar una formación más allá de la educación secundaria. En las instituciones ETNU tienen la oportunidad de seguir un programa que tal vez corresponde mejor con sus prioridades y estilos de aprendizaje.
La ETNU constituye en la actualidad una parte importante de los sistemas de educación superior; no obstante, la clasificación de las instituciones que la imparten causa hasta hoy problemas de índole académica y profesional, particularmente con respecto al reconocimiento de títulos. Este sector carece del prestigio de las universidades tradicionales, por lo que hay universidades y empleadores que no reconocen los títulos y habilidades adquiridos en una institución ETNU.
La negación del valor académico de estos títulos es, antes que todo, una consecuencia del desconocimiento de la calidad de la educación terciaria no universitaria. Dado que las instituciones ETNU no pueden apoyarse en tradiciones seculares o en la fama de las universidades, deben buscar otras maneras de demostrar la calidad de sus programas educativos, por ejemplo mediante la introducción de mecanismos de control de calidad, evaluaciones externas o políticas de transparencia. Estos mecanismos sirven para fomentar el desempeño y la estimación de las instituciones ETNU, siendo utilizados en primerísimo lugar por los gobiernos para controlar las prácticas de las instituciones y garantizar así un nivel mínimo de calidad en la educación terciaria. En el segundo capítulo de este informe profundizaremos en las formas de aseguramiento de calidad que existen en el sector ETNU, con foco en la acreditación de instituciones y sus programas. Pero antes de llegar allá, en el primer capítulo a continuación, daremos una explicación más detallada de la educación terciaria no universitaria y de su posición en los sistemas nacionales de educación superior.
La crisis alcanza a las universidades públicas más rica: Berkeley
Análisis publicado hoy por Inside Higher Ed, comentando las paralizaciones de actividades a que convocan profesores y estudiantes por recirtes presupuestarios y medidas de emergencia adoptadas por la Universidad de Berkeley.
Información relacionada en el sitio de la Universidad de Berkeley.
'60s Tactics, New Cause
Inside Higher Ed, September 24, 2009
Few think the clock will be turned back to the Berkeley of the 1960s, but the protests planned across the University of California today mark a return to the tactics of another era. This time, however, the cause isn’t free speech or an end to war, but instead a response to the university administration’s budget-cutting proposals.
Today will be the first day of classes for 8 of the 10 campuses in the California system, and protest organizers plan to send an early message that the budget cuts besetting the university have been inappropriately addressed by system leaders. The centerpiece of the planned action is a walkout, which has been supported by systemwide student and technical employee organizations, as well as more than 1,100 faculty who’ve signed an .online petition supporting the walkout.
Some campuses have also planned teach-ins, which will center on discussions about California's budget shortfall. The protests come in response to a number of actions taken in recent months by California’s regents, who approved a combination of furloughs and tuition increases to help fill an $813 million budget hole. Today’s demonstration has three stated goals:
•No furloughs or pay cuts for those making less than $40,000 a year.
•Implementation of a furlough plan endorsed by the Academic Senate, which suggested a portion of the furlough days be taken on instructional days. Many faculty say disallowing furloughs on teaching days – as the university’s systemwide leadership has mandated – disguises the true impact of the furloughs, and amounts to a pay cut for faculty whose responsibilities won’t be reduced.
•Full disclosure of the system’s budget, which some argue has been insufficiently transparent throughout the budget-cutting process.
“I think there are real goals here,” said Joshua Clover, an associate professor of English at the Davis campus and one of the organizers of the walkout. “I think the three demands made in the letter are real and achievable goals, and I hope we get there, although I don’t think we’re going to get there with a one day action.”
The prospect of both faculty and students walking out of classes or not even showing up today has administrators scrambling. Patricia Turner, vice provost of undergraduate studies at Davis, said efforts are underway to keep the walkouts to a minimum.
“We’re taking advantage of every opportunity to encourage our faculty to meet their obligations and attend their classes, and to use other mechanisms for making their dissatisfactions with the fiscal situation known,” she said.
At the same time, there’s a fair amount of ambivalence detectable at Davis and elsewhere. Memos sent to faculty suggest a delicate balancing act, where administrators accept the prospect of a walkout without actually endorsing it. In a letter to Berkeley faculty, Provost George Breslauer and Chancellor Robert Birgeneau said faculty participation in the walkout was “a matter of personal prerogative.’ They urged, however, that faculty who planned to walk out make their intentions known to department chairs so arrangements could be made for unspecified “alternative arrangements.”
Turner, a professor of African and African American studies at Davis, said “no ultimatums have been issued” to faculty who plan to walk out. Asked if she personally thought faculty were misguided to shirk their teaching duties, Turner said “I respect the academic freedom of my colleagues.”
Turner added that efforts will be made to send administrators to classes that are empty, so they can at least meet with students. Leslie Sepuka, a spokeswoman for Yudof’s office, also declined to condemn the walkout.
“I can say we respect and support the staff’s right to participate in these types of demonstrations,” she wrote in an e-mail. “We also expect that those participating will appropriately account for their time away from their jobs and/or classrooms in accordance with our policies.”
Critics Seek Broad Coalition
While campuses are prepared for the possibility of faculty simply not showing up for class, many say it would undermine their own aims to not at least make an appearance. Mike Davis, a professor of creative writing at the Riverside campus, said he does not believe students will walk into any empty classrooms today. Professors will meet with their classes, hand out syllabuses and discuss their concerns about the budget situation before leaving, he said. One of the objectives of the demonstration is to illustrate the budget problem to students, and communicating with them in class is part of that effort, he said.
The walkout planning process has been largely decentralized, and individual campuses have embraced some of their own stated goals or demands. At Riverside, participants are calling on university regents to cease future tuition increases – dubbed “fees” in California – and roll back the 9.3 percent increase they approved in May. In addition to the previously approved increase, regents will vote in November on whether to phase in another two hikes, bringing in-state tuition to $10,302 by next fall – 44 percent higher than it was in fall of 2008.
By including opposition to tuition hikes in their demands, Riverside faculty aim to win the support of students in a growing coalition.
“We’re hoping that when the students see this isn’t primarily about our own selfish interest, but we’re fighting on their behalf, that there will be a big response from students,” Davis said.
Today’s effort aims to bring together disparate groups that haven’t always rallied around the same causes. The walkout was scheduled to coincide with a one-day strike by the University Professional and Technical Employees-Communication Workers of America union (UPTE). UPTE represents the university’s research support professional employees and technical employees, who have charged the university with unfair labor practices in connection with layoffs.
One of the key endorsements for the walkout has come from the University of California Student Association (UCSA), which approved a resolution expressing solidarity with the demonstrators.
“There has been a real effort to spin this as faculty against students,” Clover said. “[That argument] doesn’t hold water at all. The UCSA resolution supporting the walkout makes it clear that no one is buying it.”
Some students have spent recent days promoting the walkout. On Tuesday morning, Jorge Serrato was handing out fliers about the demonstration on the Riverside campus. The Riverside senior said the tuition hikes have raised serious concerns among his classmates about whether they can continue at the university, and some have already opted to attend community colleges instead – although space is scarce on those campuses.
Serrato said Tuesday that he had already mapped out a plan for the demonstration.
“I am showing up to class and I’m going to announce to the whole class that we’re walking out,” he said. “I already e-mailed my professors and they said it was OK for me to do that.”
The walkout, however, is not universally embraced. Joel Michaelson, chair of the Academic Senate on the Santa Barbara campus, said he was sure there were some faculty who supported the action and others who viewed it as a disservice to tuition-paying students who showed up for class.
“We rarely agree on anything,” said Michaelson, a professor of geography. “There’s a range of opinion on it, clearly.”
Henry Powell, chair of the systemwide Academic Senate, showed no interest in even touching the subject of the walkout.
“I have nothing to say about that,” said Powell, a professor of pathology at San Diego’s School of Medicine.
State of Shared Governance Questioned
Underlying the discontent at the University of California is a concern expressed by some that a time-honored tradition of shared governance has been dispensed with amid a period of economic difficulty. That concern was exacerbated when Yudof rejected the Academic Senate’s recommendation that a portion of furlough days be taken on instructional days.
The furlough plan differs for employees based on their salaries. Those on the lowest end of the pay scale – making up to $40,000 – will take 11 furlough days or the equivalent of a 4 percent salary reduction. For those making more than $240,000, 26 furlough days or the equivalent of a 10 percent salary reduction will be required.
While staff are expected to actually take their furlough days off, few faculty see how they can take true furloughs. None of their responsibilities in teaching, service and research are being curtailed to accommodate furloughs.
“From a faculty perspective, it absolutely is a salary cut, and it was never portrayed as anything other than that,” said Croughan, a professor of obstetrics, gynecology, epidemiology and biostatics at the San Francisco campus.
Medical center employees were exempted from furloughs to protect patient safety, but the centers had to develop alternative plans to reach equivalent savings. Given their appointments in medicine, some have questioned whether Croughan and Powell -- the immediate past chair and chair of the Academic Senate – are subject to the furlough plan. Both say they are subject to the furloughs – most faculty aren’t considered medical center “employees” – and will work through their furlough days like other faculty.
Supporters of taking furloughs on instructional days hope to reinforce the impact of the budget cuts to the public, but that sort of symbolic action is exactly what systemwide leaders decided against. Provost Lawrence Potts, who suggested Yudof not approve instructional day furloughs, wrote in a September 10 letter to faculty that he worried it “would be perceived as further burdening our students in order to make a political point with Sacramento.”
Yudof’s decision prompted a rebuke from the American Association of University Professors, which called it “at best unwise and at worst dismissive of a cornerstone of the UC system’s strength, its faculty.” That is not the way the chair of the Academic Senate sees it, however.
“Shared governance is a system whereby the faculty give advice, and by and large President Yudof has taken that advice on virtually all of the major issues,” said Powell, who wrote a letter disagreeing with the AAUP’s premise.“On this one [matter] he chose a different way, and we recognize the administration can make a decision even if it’s a decision that doesn’t agree with us. I think the Senate was disappointed in the decision he made, but on the other hand is respectful that on many different issues he has agreed with Senate.”
— Jack Stripling
© Copyright 2009 Inside Higher Ed
Revista de Investigación Educativa
Se encuentra en circulalación el Nº 9 de la Revista de Investigación Educativa, julio-diciembre 2009, del Instituto de Investigaciones en Educación de la Univerisdad Veracruzana, México.
Educación y masculinidad en un Colegio técnico de la Patagonia argentina: el caso de los salesianos en Comodoro Rivadavia durante la primera mitad del siglo XX
Diagnóstico de los estilos de aprendizaje en los estudiantes: Estrategia docente para elevar la calidad educativa
Maribel Aragón García y Yasmín Ivette Jiménez Galán
Crítica y opinión
Acerca del multiculturalismo, la educación intercultural y los derechos indígenas en las Américas
Érica González Apodaca
La toma de decisiones metodológicas en la investigación social: Un devenir entre la subjetividad y la objetividad
Mayra Margarito Gaspar
Integración educativa: Visión de los docentes en cuatro escuelas venezolanas
Rosalinda Romero, Nerylena Inciarte, Odris González y Nelly García-Gavidia
Estudio comparativo de los resultados de aprendizaje en un curso de Autocad básico, entre estudiantes que recibieron el curso en línea o presencial
Reyna Godos García, Juan Gabriel Nolasco Trujillo, José Enrique Díaz Camacho y Mario Miguel Ojeda Ramírez
Elementos de contexto para pensar la escuela
Jessica Badillo Guzmán
Theatres of Memory
Fernando Calonge Reíllo
Acceso a los artículos aquí.
Septiembre 23, 2009
Formación de doctorado en ciencias e ingenierías en los países desarrollados: evoluciones recientes y perspectivas
En este documento de junio 2009 (172 pp.), Judith Scheele, con la colaboración de José Joaquín Brunner, revisan la literatura internacional sobre el tema y ofrecen una síntesis de los principales tópicos abordados por ella.
El documento forma parte del Proyecto sobre “Oferta, Demanda, Inserción y Trayectorias Laborales de Doctores en Ciencias e Ingenierías”, encomendado por la División de Educación Superior del Ministerio de Educación de Chile, al Centro de Políticas Comparadas de Educación, Universidad Diego Portales, y al Departamento de Ingeniería Industrial de la Facultad de Ciencias Físicas y Matemáticas, Universidad de Chile. Contó asimismo con el apoyo del Programa Anillo (SOC01) de la Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (Conicyt) en Políticas de Educación Superior. Las opiniones vertidas y los análisis corresponden exclusivamente a los autores y no comprometen a las instituciones mencionadas.
Bajar el documento aquí 1,8 MB
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LISTA DE CUADROS
LISTA DE FIGURAS
1. CONTENIDO Y TUTORÍA DE LOS PROGRAMAS DE DOCTORADO EN CIENCIAS NATURALES, INGENIERÍA Y TECNOLOGÍA
1.1. Definición de los programas de doctorado
1.2. El rol del Estado en la organización de los programas de doctorado
1.2.1 Dirección institucional de los programas de doctorado: la autonomía de las universidades
1.3. Modificación y sincronización internacional de los programas de doctorado
1.3.1 El proceso de Bolonia y el Comunicado de Berlín
1.4. Sistemas de aseguramiento de la calidad
1.5. Formas de admisión y selección de los estudiantes de doctorado
2. DATOS GENERALES ACERCA DE PROGRAMAS Y ESTUDIANTES DE DOCTORADO EN CIENCIAS EXACTAS E INGENIERÍA
2.1. Características demográficas de los estudiantes de doctorado
2.2. Diversidad étnica y movilidad internacional
2.2.1. Diversidad étnica entre los estudiantes de doctorado
3. FINANCIAMIENTO DE LOS ESTUDIOS DE DOCTORADO
3.1. Subvención estatal
3.2. Fondos privados o extranjeros
3.3. Financiamiento de los estudiantes de doctorado
4. POSICIÓN DE LOS ESTUDIANTES DE DOCTORADO
4.1. Estatus laboral de los estudiantes de doctorado
4.2. Posibilidad de participar en proyectos y centros de investigación
4.3. Asociaciones de estudiantes de doctorado
5. TRAYECTORIA Y EXPECTATIVAS DE LOS ESTUDIANTES DE DOCTORADO
5.1. Realización del programa de doctorado
5.1.1. Duración de los estudios de doctorado y edad al momento de graduarse
5.1.2. Tareas adicionales aparte de la realización de la investigación doctoral
5.2. Expectativas laborales de los estudiantes de doctorado
ANEXO: CÓDIGO DE BUENAS PRÁCTICAS
Alrededor del mundo, pero especialmente en los países desarrollados, las instituciones de educación superior ofrecen una variedad de programas de doctorado en las diversas disciplinas académicas. Tradicionalmente el doctorado fue un aprendizaje intensivo, en que el estudiante llevaba a cabo una investigación profunda bajo la tutoría -- ´cara a cara´-- de un supervisor. Al contrario, hoy existe una amplia gama de programas, variando de aprendizajes individuales hacia doctorados profesionales en que el estudiante participa en cursos y proyectos de investigación. La mayoría de los programas de doctorado se cursan en las universidades, pero también existen escuelas de doctorado/investigación/graduados que ofrecen programas a estudiantes de posgrado. Las instituciones de educación superior disponen de cierta autonomía para modelar sus programas de estudios y en algunos países – como Suiza, Holanda o Alemania – tienen incluso la libertad para determinar la forma y el contenido de lo que enseñan en este nivel. Sin embargo, en la mayoría de los países el gobierno influye decisivamente el modelo de educación doctoral y determina los requisitos de evaluación de la tesis y calidad de los cursos y supervisión. Los gobiernos destacan la importancia de sistemas transparentes de aseguramiento de la calidad y exigen de las universidades que pongan en práctica una política justa en relación con estudiantes y profesores.
A consecuencia de desarrollos mundiales como la globalización y la creciente competencia económica a nivel global, los gobiernos se propusieron revisar sus sistemas de educación superior. Aparte de reformas dirigidas a la enseñanza terciaria en general, elaboraron políticas específicas para los programas de doctorado que los harían más atractivos y competitivos. Adoptaron estas medidas con el objetivo de crear una comunidad de académicos altamente calificados, capaces de convertir a sus países en ‘sociedades de conocimiento’ competitivas al nivel más elevado de la economía mundial. Establecieron para ello nuevos tipos de fondos y becas universitarias e implementaron medidas que fomentarían la movilidad internacional e interinstitucional. En Europa, los estados miembros de la Unión Europea lanzaron en 1999 el Proceso de Bolonia; un proyecto para crear un Espacio Europeo de Educación Superior en que existiría libre intercambio entre conocimientos, estudiantes y académicos. Aprobaron nuevas políticas con el objetivo de igualar los sistemas de educación en términos de calidad, contenido de programas, y calificación, de modo que los títulos otorgados en un estado miembro tuvieran un valor similar en los demás países europeos y los estudiantes pudieran realizar parte de su formación en una universidad extranjera. A través del Proceso de Bolonia los gobiernos europeos buscan activamente – por cooperación y acuerdos comunes – crear una sociedad de conocimiento que exhiba un alto grado de formación científica y que sea atractiva para jóvenes talentosos de otras partes del mundo. Los ministros europeos de Educación Superior formularon algunas metas concretas con los siguientes objetivos:
• Establecimiento de un sistema de grados y títulos comparables – de modo que sean entendibles y adoptables en todos los países – para fomentar la formación de un mercado laboral con alcance internacional;
• Fomento de la movilidad de estudiantes, académicos e investigadores por medio de la eliminación de obstáculos administrativos y la expansión de las posibilidades de un período de trabajo o estudio en el extranjero;
• Establecimiento de un sistema de créditos académicos que se reconoce internacionalmente y que sirve para fomentar la movilidad de estudiantes entre universidades y países;
• Constitución de un sistema basado en dos ciclos principales: universitario no licenciado y licenciado. El primer ciclo tiene que durar un mínimo de tres años, el título que se obtiene después de la finalización satisfactoria del primer ciclo sirve como un nivel adecuado para integrarse en el mercado laboral. Un título del primer ciclo da acceso al segundo ciclo, el cual lleva a un título de Magíster. Los títulos obtenidos con la terminación satisfactoria de los dos ciclos serán reconocidos en todos los países de la Unión Europea;
• Fomento de la cooperación europea en el aseguramiento de la calidad de la educación por el desarrollo de criterios y metodologías comparables;
• Promoción de dimensiones europeas en la educación terciaria, particularmente respecto a la cooperación entre instituciones y el desarrollo de programas internacionales de investigación y de estudio.
En una primera instancia estas metas no estaban directamente relacionadas con la educación de doctorado; se focalizaban en sólo dos ciclos de educación terciaria: la licenciatura y el magíster. En 2003 los ministros decidieron que era necesario elaborar políticas específicas para los programas de doctorado y promover los vínculos entre el Espacio Europeo de Educación Superior y el Espacio Europeo de Investigación. Así se formularon políticas para proveer a los estudiantes de doctorado de mayores recursos y de un mejor ambiente de investigación, y se crearon proyectos con el objetivo de estimular la matrícula en programas de doctorado.
Junto con las nuevas políticas públicas para reformar los sistemas de educación superior, se producen también algunos cambios dentro de las universidades. Evaluaciones de estudiantes y graduados mostraron que en varios casos los programas de doctorado tradicionales no preparaban suficientemente a los candidatos para una carrera profesional. Sobre todo en las ciencias exactas los graduados señalaron la carencia de capacidades para trabajar en contextos profesionales en que debían que cooperar con colegas investigadores y ser capaces de presentar su trabajo bajo la modalidad de informes y ponencias. Para mejorar el desarrollo profesional de los estudiantes de doctorado y prepararlos para una carrera en el ámbito no-académico, las instituciones de educación superior – en general bajo presión de los gobiernos – introdujeron programas de doctorado y cursos (eventualmente obligatorios) de formación profesional. Elaboraron proyectos de colaboración con centros de investigación y la industria para proporcionar a los estudiantes oportunidades de adquirir experiencia en equipos profesionales de investigación. Al mismo tiempo creció el número de escuelas de doctorado/investigación/graduados; instituciones en que los estudiantes siguen un programa estructurado y participan en cursos y prácticas de investigación. La incorporación de cursos profesionales y tareas intermedias tiene varias ventajas, tanto para las universidades como para los candidatos. Por un lado, la estructura de estos programas y el contacto frecuente con los profesores evitan que los estudiantes pierdan los vínculos con la universidad o se paralicen en su investigación sin buscar ayuda de sus supervisores. La participación en cursos y grupos de investigación fomenta el compromiso de los candidatos con la finalización satisfactoria del programa y, por lo tanto, con el progreso de la investigación final. Por otro lado, la enseñanza de capacidades – como dar presentaciones, trabajar en equipos y conocimientos de computación – y la experiencia que los estudiantes adquieren trabajando en proyectos cooperativos o en centros de investigación, contribuyen a su mejor preparación para la vida laboral después de graduarse. Al contrario del modelo tradicional de doctorado, estos nuevos programas no sólo se focalizan en la capacidad de efectuar una investigación profunda, sino buscan formar investigadores calificados, flexibles y capaces de trabajar en varios ámbitos profesionales. Con todo, las nuevas formas de educación de doctorado complementan los programas de investigación individual sin sustituirlos. Hoy puede observarse que en las ciencias aplicadas cursan más estudiantes en programas estructurados o proyectos de investigación en colaboración con la industria, mientras que la mayoría de los estudiantes de ciencias sociales y humanidades está matriculada en programas individuales de supervisión ´cara a cara´.
El número de estudiantes que cursa un programa de doctorado y es capaz de completar una investigación doctoral depende de varios factores. Primero, los programas de doctorado en general son costosos porque exigen supervisión intensiva; sistemas de aseguramiento interno de la calidad de los cursos de doctorado y, en el caso de las disciplinas duras – o sea las ciencias naturales, ingeniería, matemática–, además instalaciones para efectuar investigación de laboratorio. En consecuencia, las universidades pueden mantener sólo un número limitado de cupos de doctorado, dependiendo de los recursos que tienen a su disposición. A su turno, la aceptación de los estudiantes de doctorados es altamente competitiva y sólo una fracción de los postulantes obtiene un puesto. Segundo, los fondos para estudiantes de doctorado no alcanzan para financiar a todos los postulantes admitidos, por lo que existe una fuerte competencia y, como resultado, una parte de los estudiantes aceptados se ven obligados a financiar sus estudios con recursos propios o por medio de un empleo, lo que torna más gravosos sus estudios. Efectivamente, en estos casos los estudiantes experimentan una fuerte presión económica. Además, para muchos egresados del primer grado aparece como más atractivo empezar a trabajar de inmediato después de haber completado su magíster en tecnología o ciencias naturales, pues frecuentemente tienen la posibilidad de encontrar un puesto bien remunerado a consecuencia de la competencia entre empresas por contratar a jóvenes talentosos. Finalmente, realizar una investigación doctoral es un proyecto largo e intensivo que exige un fuerte compromiso y perseverancia. Los programas de doctorado duran al menos cuatro años – años en que el estudiante dispone de pocos recursos económicos y, a veces, tiene que sobrellevar la soledad que suele acompañar a la investigación académica – todo lo cual pone a prueba su entusiasmo y voluntad. No todos los estudiantes tienen la capacidad (o el deseo) de realizar un trabajo tan intenso; sólo aquellos que demuestran gran entusiasmo y tenacidad son seleccionados por los supervisores y logran realizar el programa completo.
En cuanto al financiamiento de los programas de doctorado, existen varios tipos de fondos que financian los programas y proyectos de investigación y que proporcionan respaldo económico a los estudiantes. Los fondos públicos disponibles para las instituciones de educación superior se dividen en tres tipos: las subvenciones competitivas, la asignación global, y los fondos para programas específicos. La diferencia es que los primeros dos fondos se pagan generalmente de una vez y no están limitados a proyectos particulares. Si las universidades son subvencionadas por el Gobierno por medio del pago de una cantidad global, tienen la libertad de distribuir el dinero entre los departamentos según su preferencia. En cambio, los fondos para programas específicos se entregan directamente al departamento correspondiente. De esta manera el Gobierno es capaz de dar incentivos económicos para fomentar los proyectos que considera interesante. Los fondos para estudiantes de doctorado se componen de becas – de investigación o de aprendizaje – y de créditos con condiciones propicias. Las becas proporcionan ingresos mínimos a los estudiantes para cubrir los gastos de mantenimiento, de matrícula y, sobre todo en el caso de estudiantes de ciencias aplicadas, los gastos de investigación (materiales y servicios laboratorios).
Aparte de los fondos públicos, hay varios organismos y proyectos cooperativos particulares que ponen fondos a disposición de la investigación de doctorado. Cofinancian proyectos, entregan becas, u ofrecen puestos de trabajo a los investigadores en formación. Muchas instituciones de educación superior establecen acuerdos de cooperación con la industria o con empresas que disponen de una sección de investigación, para adquirir acceso a estos puestos de especial valor para jóvenes investigadores. En estas circunstancias los candidatos que realizan un período de práctica en tal cooperativo tienen la oportunidad de trabajar en un equipo de investigación o simplemente en un ambiente profesional. Además reciben un sueldo o una recompensa por las prácticas, lo que generalmente significa que ganan más que sus compañeros becados. También hay países en que todos los candidatos al doctorado son considerados empleados de la universidad. Por tanto, tienen un contrato y reciben un sueldo de la universidad que, de acuerdo con la ley, deben cumplir con ciertas disposiciones, entre otros el derecho a un sueldo mínimo. En consecuencia, los ingresos de los estudiantes de doctorado varían fuertemente entre países, así como las condiciones bajo las que realizan su investigación.
Una parte significativa de los candidatos no dispone de un contrato bien definido y no tiene acceso a servicios como seguridad social o un fondo de pensiones. Sobre todo la situación puede complicarse cuando surgen problemas con el supervisor, porque el estudiante no puede recurrir a un contrato o al respaldo de otros estudiantes o profesores. Para evitar este tipo de situaciones y proveer a los candidatos de respaldo y medios de comunicación, se establecieron asociaciones de estudiantes que se dedican a la defensa de los intereses de los doctorandos. Estas asociaciones representan a los estudiantes al nivel directivo de las universidades y median en el caso de un conflicto. Además organizan eventos para evitar la soledad entre jóvenes investigadores y ejercen presión sobre las autoridades públicas para que adopten políticas beneficiosas para ellos. En suma, estas asociaciones buscan hacer más satisfactoria la trayectoria de los estudiantes de doctorado, lo que a la postre es ventajoso tanto para los candidatos como para la sociedad en general, que obtiene provecho de la graduación de nuevos investigadores y profesionales. A pesar de la existencia de estas asociaciones que defienden los intereses de los candidatos, las instituciones públicas reconocen que los derechos de estudiantes de doctorado deben ser acompañados con servicios sociales y de salud, sea cual fuere su estatus formal. Los gobiernos europeos acordaron --en el marco del Proceso de Bolonia-- elaborar políticas para definir los derechos de los candidatos y suministrar servicios básicos a todos (i.e. sea cual fuere su estatus: estudiante o empleado).
En conclusión, puede afirmarse que las autoridades públicas y las instituciones de educación superior siguen reformando los programas de doctorado para alcanzar un mayor grado de diversidad y calidad en la educación de posgrado. Por medio de programas innovadores – el doctorado profesional es el mejor ejemplo – y políticas que fomentan el ambiente de investigación, tratan de estimular la investigación científica en sus países para convertirlos en sociedades de conocimiento competitivas e innovadoras.
Septiembre 22, 2009
Modalidades internacionales de colaboración en programas de posgrado
Artículo aparecido recientemente en el Chronicle of Higher Education sobre uno de los temas cruciales para el futuro desarrollo de los estudios de posgrado en Chile.
American Graduate Programs With Overseas Partners Are on the Rise
By Aisha Labi, The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 20, 2009
American universities may still lead the world when it comes to the sheer number of students they attract. But in another measure of internationalization, Europe fares far better.
At the annual meeting of the European Association for International Education here last week, many educators focused on the booming field of international joint-degree and dual-degree programs.
In the European Union, both joint and dual degrees are increasingly common. Universities see them as an effective way to offer their students an international experience, expand their research partnerships, and tap into financing sources that promote such joint ventures. Interest is rising in the United States as well, presenters said, for many of the same reasons.
Debra W. Stewart, president of the Council of Graduate Schools, who chaired a panel on best practices for joint- and dual-degree programs, said that such programs have been slow to catch on at American institutions, but that the tide is quickly turning.
In a 2007 survey, one-third of the council's member institutions, which are primarily in the United States and Canada, reported that they had joint- or dual-degree programs. A year later, the tally had risen to half.
At the conference, the council unveiled the results of a new survey of joint and dual degrees at American graduate schools, which highlighted the growing interest in these programs as well as the challenges involved in setting them up.
"There is lots of enthusiasm around pursuing growth in these areas," Ms. Stewart said.
Joint-degree programs offer graduates a single diploma, awarded for work at two more institutions. A dual, or double, degree is one in which students receive separate diplomas from each of the participating institutions. Many institutions prefer dual degrees because they are administratively easier to set up than joint degrees.
In both Europe and the United States, the majority of these collaborative programs at the master's level are in engineering and business, while at the doctoral level, the physical sciences and engineering are the most common fields for formal collaboration.
"The greatest opportunities for these programs are to capitalize on those disciplines where the cutting-edge research depends on international collaboration," said Daniel Denecke, director of best practices at the Council of Graduate Schools.
A report published this year by the Institute of International Education and the Free University of Berlin said both European and American universities are more likely to have collaborative degree programs with European partners than with institutions in other parts of the world.
Several European university officials who have been involved in establishing joint- and dual-degree programs credit their growth to the European Union's Erasmus Mundus program, started in 2004, which provides financial support to universities to set up institutional collaborations as well as partnerships with non-European universities.
Last year the program was expanded to include doctoral as well as master's-degree programs, and its budget quadrupled. The addition of doctoral programs was intended to help retain non-European graduate students who were leaving Europe for the United States to pursue their Ph.D.'s after completing their Erasmus Mundus master's degrees.
The Bologna Process, through which 46 European nations are harmonizing their degree systems, has also helped facilitate inter-European collaboration. One of the greatest challenges to setting up joint- and dual-degree programs, those involved say, is trying to assess and compare course work across institutions. Bologna has made that first step much easier.
In Norway, a non-European Union nation awash in oil money, international collaborations have also been motivated by development goals and a commitment to stem the exodus of talent from the developing world. At a conference session on the different types of joint- and dual-degree programs, Unni Kvernhusvik, a coordinator of joint programs at the University of Bergen's Centre for International Health, talked of her institution's experience with research-based joint-degree programs in Nepal and Tanzania. Like any partnership, including those the university has in Europe, she said, their success is founded on sustained, long-term collaboration.
"You have to know your partners well and know that they can give added value to what you have, and together this will make a program of excellence for a joint degree," she said.
Increasing American Interest
Joint and dual degrees are likely to become more common in the United States as American universities look to internationalize their academic offerings in a cost-effective way. Many of the degree programs that American institutions operate with European counterparts have been supported by the Atlantis Program, a U.S.-E.U. collaborative.
The Council of Graduate Schools' new research found several reasons for the growing enthusiasm for pursuing formal international-degree collaborations. These include declining interest among American graduate students in science and engineering degrees and increasing reliance on international students to fill these programs; international recognition that graduate education is a crucial component of economic-competitiveness strategy; and indications that, with growing competition from European and other countries for international graduate students, American universities can no longer count on a guaranteed steady stream of foreign graduate students to come to the United States to fill their programs.
At a session focusing on American projects in Europe, H. Stephen Straight, senior adviser for international initiatives at Binghamton University, in the State University of New York system, talked about an undergraduate program it has under way in Turkey.
SUNY has an extensive partnership with a consortium of universities in Turkey that allows Turkish students to spend two alternating years at SUNY. The undergraduate dual-degree program, designed to deal with a severe lack of capacity in the Turkish system, allows some 150 Turkish students a year to be "offloaded" into the SUNY system, said Mr. Straight.
"We get a flow of interesting students, with the intellectual creativity that brings, and out-of-state tuition for two solid years from them," he said. "Cynics would say we're doing it for the money, but frankly, for the dollars spent on getting the program up and running and keeping it up and running, we would do much better just recruiting students for the full four years."
Like many formal institutional collaborations, SUNY's Turkish connection originated through personal links—between the former director of the Turkish higher-education council and a SUNY official. Sustaining such programs, several presenters emphasized, requires full support from the administrative hierarchy of participating institutions as well as enthusiasm among students and professors.
The logistical hurdles and costs involved in setting up formal degree collaborations can be daunting. Even among European institutions, legal issues can provide some of the biggest obstacles.
In the Netherlands, for example, legislation prohibits joint degrees but allows dual degrees. Tuition policies also differ widely among nations, and administrators may run up against legislation saying that degrees cannot be awarded unless students pay local university fees, even if institutions have worked out fee waivers.
For American institutions, which usually charge much higher tuition than their European counterparts, deciding on a fee structure for formal degree collaborations is among the biggest hurdles they face in establishing and maintaining joint- and dual-degree programs with international partners, the new Council of Graduate Schools study found. Other major challenges include sustaining such programs over the long term, securing adequate financing, recruiting students to take part in such programs, and getting formal accreditation.
The council will publish the results of its latest survey in January. Ms. Stewart said she hopes the findings will help provide guidance on best practices for the growing number of American institutions seeking to establish formal degree collaborations with their international counterparts.
Copyright 2009. All Rights reserved
Septiembre 21, 2009
España - Megaproyectos universitarios para la innovación
Las universidades españolas compiten por recursos públicos para desarrollar megaproyetos colaborativos en vistas a expandir sus capacidades de contribuir a la innovación. El Programa apoyado por el Gobierno se denomina Campus de Excelencia Internacional (CEI) y busca promover la agregación de instituciones que, compartiendo un mismo campus, elaboren un proyecto estratégico común con el fin de crear un entorno académico, científico, emprendedor e innovador dirigido a obtener una alta visibilidad internacional. [Ver más abajo información del diario El País sobre presentación de Proyectos).
Los CEI deben ser verdaderos entornos de vida universitaria integrada socialmente al distrito urbano o territorio, con gran calidad y altas prestaciones de servicios y mejoras en sostenibilidad medioambiental.
Asimismo, se pretende afrontar retos tales como la atracción de los mejores estudiantes e investigadores y la competencia por ubicar instalaciones científicas y empresas de alto valor añadido en los entornos de los campus universitarios.
Las subvenciones reguladas se concederán, en régimen de concurrencia competitiva, a las universidades que hayan sido seleccionadas y se estructuran en los siguientes subprogramas:
a) Subprograma para el Desarrollo y Concreción de un Plan Estratégico de Viabilidad y Conversión a Campus de Excelencia Internacional.
Los Planes Estratégicos de Viabilidad y Conversión a Campus de Excelencia Internacional, que deberán contemplar, como mínimo, los aspectos que se indican a continuación:
a) Mejora docente.
b) Mejora científica.
c) Transformación del campus para el desarrollo de un modelo social integral.
d) Mejoras dirigidas a la adaptación e implantación al Espacio Europeo de Educación Superior, incluyendo la correspondiente adecuación de los edificios.
e) Transferencia del conocimiento y tecnología como resultado de la investigación académica al sector empresarial.
f) Interacción entre el campus y su entorno territorial.
g) Además, se indicará cómo el Plan Estratégico servirá para el cumplimiento de los siguientes objetivos:
1º Mejorar la calidad de las universidades españolas con el objetivo de situarlas entre las mejores del panorama europeo e internacional, globalmente o en un aspecto determinado.
2º Aumentar la calidad investigadora y su reconocimiento internacional, mediante una mejora de las infraestructuras de investigación que incidan en el desarrollo pedagógico y científico.
3º Crear entornos académicos que promuevan la vida universitaria, con instalaciones pensadas para la atracción internacional de demandantes de educación superior universitaria y de investigación de excelencia.
4º Configurar campus integrados urbanística y socialmente en el entorno urbano o territorio en que se ubican, aumentando las condiciones de calidad de vida y con altas prestaciones de servicios y mejoras energéticas y medioambientales.
5º Promover una política integral en el ámbito de la formación, la investigación, la transferencia y valorización del conocimiento, y la actividad profesional y empresarial.
6º Potenciar la singularidad y especialización de los campus, al objeto de que formen parte de un mapa español diversificado, basado en las correspondientes fortalezas.
7º Mejorar los indicadores de eficiencia académica de los graduados y aumentar del nivel de internacionalización de los estudiantes de todos los niveles educativos.
8º Aumentar el grado de internacionalización de estudiantes, investigadores, profesores y profesionales de apoyo a la actividad académica.
9º Promover políticas de empleo dirigidas a compaginar estudio y trabajo dentro de las actividades de los campus universitarios.
10º Proponer un plan de comunicación innovador para el proyecto internacional del CEI.
11º Aglutinar en el Plan Integral proyectos de varias universidades.
12º La participación en el proyecto de colectivos de estudiantes.
b) Subprograma de I+D+i y Transferencia mediante el cual se concederán ayudas para la ejecución de aspectos parciales de dicho Plan Estratégico, que merezcan una Mención de Calidad en el ámbito de la investigación, incluida la formación avanzada de investigadores de excelencia internacional (que incluye las actuaciones de desarrollo de Escuelas de Doctorado o Posgrado interinstitucionales), de la transferencia de conocimiento o de la innovación, para convertir a las universidades y a sus campus en referentes internacionales de excelencia en I+D+i, siempre que dichos aspectos abarquen en su integridad una o varias de las siguientes acciones especificas:
Identificación de líneas y programas de I+D+i de gran proyección y ambiciosos así como las estrategias, medios y recursos necesarios para llevarlas a cabo en posible cooperación con otras instituciones.
Desarrollo de programas innovadores así como actuaciones encaminadas a la transferencia del conocimiento y de los resultados de la investigación a la sociedad y al tejido productivo.
Desarrollo de agregaciones estratégicas con otras instituciones y entidades públicas y privadas con alianzas estables para poner en marcha los programas de I+D+i diseñados y la utilización conjunta de equipamientos vinculados con estos programas de I+D+i.
Actuaciones encaminadas a desarrollar una estrategia y planificación de captación de personal de alta calidad y excelencia (científicos, tecnólogos, gestores, etc.)
Formación de excelencia de investigadores incluyendo las actuaciones de desarrollo de Escuela de Doctorado o Posgrado de excelencia internacional.
Puesta en marcha de mecanismos para asegurar a las universidades un liderazgo nacional e internacional en sus líneas estratégicas de actuación en el ámbito de la I+D+i.
Las universidades se reinventan para orientarse a la innovación
50 centros compiten por ser los primeros en crear los grandes campus del conocimiento - Deben defender sus proyectos ante un comité internacional SUSANA PÉREZ DE PABLOS - El País - Madrid - 18/09/2009
La actualización de toda una ciudad universitaria, uno o varios siglos después -en la Complutense (que lo hará junto a la Politécnica, que agrupa centros centenarios), Salamanca o Sevilla-; un conjunto de docentes, investigadores y centros de innovación de diversas universidades trabajando sobre un mismo sector, el del olivo (en Córdoba); un punto de encuentro para conectar instituciones de Europa, África y Latinoamérica (en Canarias); dos universidades unidas para potenciar un proyecto regional (Cantabria y UIMP), o la reconversión de un campus para apostar por lo sostenible o saludable (Santiago de Compostela).
Las universidades se han puesto las pilas y por primera vez han ideado un plan con el claro objetivo de contribuir al desarrollo económico y social de su entorno. De los alrededor de 250 campus que tienen las 77 universidades españolas salpicados por las más diversas poblaciones, éstas quieren reconvertir 51 en megacampus del conocimiento o, como se llaman ya en Suecia, ecosistemas del conocimiento. Se han presentado 50 universidades, y la de Barcelona es la única que compite con dos propuestas. Este gran programa es el primer embrión de lo que serán las instituciones superiores en el futuro y es la primera iniciativa que da una idea clara de cómo construir la arquitectura en la que se sostenga el tan anunciado nuevo modelo productivo basado en el conocimiento.
En dos meses escasos, las universidades han elaborado sus planes de acuerdo con las bases aprobadas por el Gobierno el pasado julio. Se trata de proyectos plurianuales (este primero va de 2008 a 2011) de unas 50 páginas que incluyen una propuesta global en la que el centro expone los aspectos generales (como la agregación de centros de investigación, empresas... y los convenios suscritos); un plan estratégico (qué tienen ahora y adónde quieren llegar en cuatro años) y una memoria económica.
Una comisión técnica, formada por 21 expertos, escogerá un máximo de 15 proyectos de megacampus entre los 43 que han presentado universidades públicas y analizará los ocho de las privadas, que no optan a financiación pero sí a la categoría de Campus de Excelencia Internacional (CEI). La lista provisional, sujeta a alegaciones, se hará pública el 29 de septiembre y la definitiva, el 10 de noviembre. Ya entonces recibirán ya 200.000 euros cada una para dar los primeros pasos del plan. Despúes, cada universidad que tenga un campus seleccionado tendrá 10 minutos para defender su propuesta en una exposición oral ante una comisión internacional, entre el 25 y el 27 de noviembre. El 30 de noviembre estará ya todo decidido.
El arranque se empezará a ver en los centros e incluso en las ciudades ya a primeros de 2010, el año que empieza a implantarse oficialmente el Espacio Europeo de Educación Superior. Se moverán o unirán centros, se construirán edificios, se crearán desde guarderías a centros de mayores. "No es un ranking de universidades, aunque sí de proyectos", explica el secretario general de Universidades, Màrius Rubiralta. "Se basan en cuatro grandes ejes: docencia, investigación, innovación y entorno social".
La carrera es por colocarse entre las 100 mejores universidades en los ranking internacionales, el objetivo que se marcó el Gobierno con esta iniciativa. A ello destinará 50 millones de euros en 2009 más otros tres para la puesta en marcha (200.000 euros por centro seleccionado). Las comunidades cofinanciarán estos proyectos a través de los 150 millones destinados a créditos. "La excelencia y la internacionalización son los principales objetivos", destaca Rubiralta. "Los dos valores principales que se miden son el proyecto de futuro, es decir, cuál es la posición de partida y adónde se quiere llegar, y la agregación entre instituciones académicas, de investigación, empresas...".
La competición se presenta interesante, no sólo para obtener las ayudas del Gobierno sino dentro de un mismo territorio. Por ejemplo, las dos universidades navarras (la pública y la privada) compiten con candidaturas totalmente diferentes por un territorio común, del "campus integral con impacto regional y compromiso social y con el medio ambiente" de la pública al "plan estratégico" de la privada.
Las dos universidades no presenciales, la Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED) y la Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) han presentado sendos proyectos de grandes campus virtuales que integran instituciones a distancia. La ventaja de ambos es evidente: la expansión, campus que pueden llegar hasta Asia.
Septiembre 20, 2009
Chile y Brasil: Formación de políticas educacionales bajo la inspiración de gobiernos social demócratas (Tesis de doctorado de G. Burton)
Texto de la tesis de Guy Burton para optar al grado de doctor en el london School of Economics: Social democracy in Latin America: Policymakers and education reform in Brazil and Chile, London, January 2009, (pp. 307).
Bajar texto de la tesis aquí 1,62 MB
What is social democracy in the Latin American and what has been its impact on public policy? I argue that it is a government's origins and its use of the state and related institutions that shape the nature and content of social democracy. To illustrate this, three cases using governments and their approach to educational policy to 2007 are presented: the Concertación (since 1990) in Chile and the Cardoso (1995-2002) and Lula (since 2003) governments in Brazil.
The first part situates social democracy within the Latin American context. First, social democracy is defined ideologically and sociologically in relation to the wider Left-Right divide. Second, social democracy is distinguished between two models: the Third Way (which is more tolerant of inequality resulting from difference, the market and less associated with class concerns) and the Participatory Left (which has deeper roots in socialist ideology, state intervention and social movements). The section establishes that despite differences between each, Third Way and
Participatory Left social democrats adopt elite-based policymaking in government.
The second part analyses the impact of Third Way and Participatory Left social democracy on public (education) policy. The findings reveal broadly similar policy approaches, including a broader role for the state, curricular reform within the prevailing economic/education paradigm; increased (targeted) public spending; extensive use of evaluation/assessment mechanisms; and adoption of more representative means of participation with (organised) stakeholders. At the same time, policy content and relations with particular stakeholders (i.e. private interests, teachers and students) was also shaped by the institutional constraints and historical contexts faced by each government.
2. LATIN AMERICAN SOCIAL DEMOCRACY: THIRD WAY AND PARTICIPATORY
LEFTS IN BRAZIL AND CHILE..................................................................................................31
3. ENGINEERING ELITES: ACCOUNTING FOR THE NATURE OF GOVERNMENTAL
POLICYMAKING IN EDUCATION IN BRAZIL AND CHILE...............................................55
4. FINDING THE RIGHT BALANCE: THE ROLE OF THE STATE AND SOCIAL
5. THE PURPOSE OF EDUCATION: SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC OBJECTIVES AND
6. SPENDING MORE?: PUBLIC EXPENDITURE ON EDUCATION AND SOCIAL
7. MAKING US ALL MANAGERS?: THE USE OF ASSESSMENT AND EVALUATION
BY SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENTS......................................................................143
8. NO PARTICIPATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION: SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC
GOVERNMENTS AND PARTICIPATION IN THE EDUCATION SECTOR.....................160
9. A COMPROMISED POSITION: PRIVATE INTERESTS AND SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC
10. LOBBYING FROM THE LEFT: TEACHERS AND SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC
11. AN UNEQUAL RELATIONSHIP: STUDENTS AND SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC
Septiembre 19, 2009
¿Por qué aumenta el precio de los estudios superiores?
Notable serie de siete columnas de opinión experta sobre el costo siempre creciente de la educación superior, aparecidas recientemente en The Chronicle of Higher Education [Copyright 2009. All Rights reserved].
Ver a continuación la introducción a esta serie y, más abajo, las columnas de opionión.
Why Does College Cost So Much?:7 experts offer answers to one tough question
Christophe Vorlet, The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 7, 2009
Why does college cost so much? That seemingly simple question, which may be one of the most perplexing of our time, was the motivation for a series of reports The Chronicle has published over the past year. The series culminates here with a set of commentaries by academic leaders and other experts exploring ways that colleges can contain costs while preserving the integrity of their academic missions.
We started this debate by asking a handful of people—some on the streets of Washington, others in the corridors of power—why tuition has increased faster than the cost of nearly any comparable good or service, including health care, over the past few decades. The question stumped even the most-polished policy wonks, and continues to frustrate everyday Americans.
To solve the problem, colleges may have to consider radical changes in the ways they do business. If they don't, many observers have noted, they could face public outcry and government intervention.
But how to fix the cost problem? (And is it really a problem?) Should colleges cut programs that are not productive? Should they redefine their view of prestige? How should they measure the work they get from professors?
And, as institutions pursue new directions, how do they preserve what made them great in the past?
Those are but a few of the questions discussed in this final installment of our series. Many of the ideas for the concluding essays originated in an online discussion group that The Chronicle established to inform the series. The group included more than 40 leading administrators, faculty members, economists, and consultants.
While the series is ending, the debate on college costs shows no sign of relenting. With the country in the middle of a rancorous dispute over the cost of health care, people in higher education may be wondering: How long before members of Congress turn that same scrutiny on colleges and the sums they charge students? — The Editors
Take a Hard Look at Academic Programs, and Weed Out the Weak
By Charles Miller
There is severe pressure to reduce the cost of college. To achieve that, institutions must go far beyond traditional cost-cutting and embrace a broader concept of improving productivity—paying attention to not just what we spend, but what we get for funds expended.
There are aspects of the financing system of higher education that can be considered dysfunctional. Traditionally, higher education operates on a revenue-based model, focused on top-line income, with very little capacity or interest in outcome measurements. This has been lightly, but accurately, described as, "Get all the money you can, and spend all that you get." There is no bottom line in this financing model.
As a result of this structure, specific spending decisions lack the kind of discipline urgently needed when both cost pressures and financing pressures are severe.
One powerful way to attack costs—or improve productivity—is to examine academic programs that constitute a major portion of costs and are a major cost driver, and develop a culture of program accountability.
Many academic programs operate with negative margins. Costs are rarely allocated fully or directly or appropriately to academic programs. Research is often cross-subsidized by teaching revenue. Some programs with large enrollments and lower costs, such as education, have a positive margin—they are the cash cows—and they subsidize smaller, expensive programs, such as the sciences.
Colleges often maintain academic programs with small enrollments, high costs, and questionable academic purpose if those programs serve the overall mission of the institution. However, without methods applied in a regular and rigorous fashion to reduce, improve, or eliminate weak programs—a strong system of accountability—most programs continue simply because of inertia or politics.
As a result, limited resources are very poorly allocated, and institutions become inefficient and less effective.
In the broadest sense, institutions without program accountability experience mission creep, in which resources and management are spread among too many programs. That leads to poorer program quality on average and few programs of the highest quality.
A systematic review of all programs—in which both specific direct and estimated indirect costs are calculated and allocated to each program and compared with the revenue derived from that program—would bring to light the true program costs. An evaluation of programs as cost drivers, placed in the context of the academic mission, would allow college administrators to set priorities and make additions and reductions.
Over time, this process could produce the highest quality at the best cost, creating a much more efficient and productive financing system for the institution and higher education as a whole.
But academic-program accountability is a difficult process. It could be considered the "third rail" of academia. It would require a change in culture and a departure from the current revenue model, including the use of more and better analytical tools to allocate costs and measure outcomes.
As difficult as this process might be, it is common in most successful organizations. Without academic-program accountability, cost drivers will remain disguised, management decision making will remain clouded, and the providers of funds will remain uninformed about the results of their expenditures.
In a period of inexorably rising costs and inevitably declining revenue, it is dangerous for higher education to maintain its dysfunctional revenue system of financing. After all, no academic programs, or even institutions, are guaranteed their existence.
Charles Miller, a former investment manager, was chairman of the secretary of education's Commission on the Future of Higher Education during the George W. Bush administration.
Hysteria Over High Tuition Distracts From Real Solutions for Students
By Sandy Baum
Prices at public colleges and universities have risen rapidly in recent years largely because state financing has failed to keep up with growing enrollments. Of course, if colleges were more successful at finding ways to reduce their costs—as they must—they could live with lower per-student appropriations. But cost reduction could lead to further reductions in appropriations, rather than leading to lower prices for students. As we see all too vividly in the current recession, severe budget cuts have a tendency to reduce both the number of students who can be accommodated and the quality of the opportunities available to them.
There is no question that tuition increases must be slowed. But before colleges consider ways to do that, they should keep several things in mind.
To begin with, holding tuition down gives the same benefit to the wealthiest students as to the poorest, and it is an expensive way of assuring that students at the margin will not be priced out of college.
Need-based financial aid is a more appropriate tool, and the price students pay after taking grant aid into consideration is a more appropriate measure of college affordability than is published tuition.
Surveys consistently reveal that people believe tuition is higher than it actually is. This is partly because a tiny number of expensive private colleges make the headlines so frequently. It is also because our complicated financial-aid system makes it virtually impossible for people to predict how much they will have to pay. Simplifying the financial-aid system, and providing more information in advance about what students will owe, would go a long way toward correcting this problem.
People also misperceive the financial benefits associated with education and tend to think of college as an out-of-pocket expense in the year it is due. That makes no sense. No one could imagine buying a house, and few people would own cars, if they thought of those purchases that way. How much you can afford for college depends both on current resources and on the amount of debt you can reasonably pay back out of future earnings. Pinpointing what is affordable is not easy, but it is surely higher than what people would say if stopped on the street and asked how much they could afford to pay for college tuition this year.
Living costs are the largest expense most students face. And little that colleges and universities do to hold down tuition will make the rent cheaper.
Even a 20-percent cut in average published tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities would leave the average price close to $5,500. Many would still feel burdened. Real solutions have to include protecting borrowers who can't afford to repay loans, and helping both students and the general public think of higher education as an investment—one of the best investments both society and individuals can make in the future.
The impressive characteristics of American higher education include the variety of institutions and educational offerings available to students, and the range of price tags. The focus of those concerned with access and affordability should be on assuring the existence of good, reasonably-priced options—not fretting over the existence of high-priced options that may be out of reach for some students.
Sandy Baum is a professor emerita of economics at Skidmore College and senior policy analyst for the College Board.
Don't Let Cold Cost-Cutting Endanger the American Model of Higher Education
By Warren Bennis and C. L. Max Nikias
Can the best system of higher education in the world be done "on the cheap"? And can the United States adequately invest in new leadership by bringing a coldly calculating cost model to its chief intellectual and cultural asset?
To preserve the best within the American model—while making it accessible to as many of our citizens as possible—we feel compelled to emphasize that cost-cutting must be done without losing sight of higher goals that are unique to the mission of higher education. America's colleges and universities are not revenue centers. They are investment centers, reflecting a broadly shared covenant to prepare future generations to lead successful lives and create healthy societies.
One often hears of "opportunity costs" related to education—cold calculations of, say, whether a B.A. or M.B.A. will yield a dollar return in excess of the tuition tendered and time spent. This factorylike accounting does not serve our students, our colleges, or our country.
We believe that one encounters something singular and distinctive at America's leading universities—an electric interaction of intellectuals from various disciplines in the pursuit of new knowledge, which drives American innovation, compensates for the weaknesses of our elementary and secondary educational system, and keeps the United States poised as a pacesetter.
When a reporter suggested to the great hitter Ted Williams that he could raise his batting average even higher if he swung at more pitches, Williams was circumspect: "You gotta draw the line somewhere." Similarly, we at universities will have to draw the line in cost-cutting with great tact.
American higher education has less fat than some realize; as such, wise administrators and trustees should cut surgically with a scalpel rather than aggressively with an ax. Competition among state-subsidized public universities and private universities has already maximized efficiencies as much as possible without sacrificing our distinctive edge—unrivaled academic quality.
Let us also take seriously solutions beyond cost-cutting. We recommend that our societal investment in leadership be shared more broadly, by the very American for-profit industries and sectors that require such leadership.
Such organizations should be granted special federal tax incentives for that investment. And those organizations should proudly trumpet their investment to the American public as an essential element of their own brands.
A grand, covenantal approach can expand access to higher education while preserving academic quality and the greater ideals that fuel our society.
As the recent economic meltdown has shown, some treasures can be erased instantly. They existed only on paper. The treasures of the mind, however, cannot be lost. As we seek greater efficiency, let us be mindful above all of the need to protect the unrivaled treasures found at America's colleges and universities.
Warren Bennis, professor of business administration at the University of Southern California, is the author of a new 20th-anniversary edition of "On Becoming a Leader." C. L. Max Nikias is the university's executive vice president and provost.
Colleges May Have to Consider Scaling Back Their Ambitions
By J. Douglas Toma
When considering cost in higher education, institutional ambitions matter. Colleges and universities, at least those that are even somewhat selective, are fixated on enhancing their prestige, believing it helps them attract resources. Accordingly, their willingness to spend money in the hopes of making money has never been more pronounced.
Despite significant diversity in audiences served and resources available, higher-education institutions across types tend to arrive, independently, at what amounts to a common aspiration. They are eerily similar in vision, in fact, seemingly obsessed with "moving to the next level," seeking to become more like those directly above them on the prestige hierarchy, no matter where they begin on the ladder.
Institutions not only portray their ambitions using similar rhetoric, but also attempt to achieve them through a rather generic set of strategies. Those include efforts to attract more-accomplished students and noteworthy faculty members, as well as to start academic initiatives intended to appeal to each.
Strategies also involve investments in "collegiate" infrastructure—building or renovating student residences, dining facilities, fitness centers, and even commercial districts. (Some institutions are also enhancing athletics.) Constructing academic buildings with similar "curb appeal" is also popular.
Granted, the energy that the aggressive pursuit of prestige is bringing to campuses has some real value, making individual institutions more dynamic. Colleges are working harder and are more focused than ever—and perhaps even more disciplined. In competing to attract more-demanding students, campuses are challenging themselves to do everything better. Also, projects like fitness centers and student residences have revenue streams—as do star faculty members (although the revenue they generate is far less certain).
The psychology of moving forward is important—essential, really—in any organization. Is it even realistic for an institution or college president not to engage in positioning for prestige? Is it possible, in effect, for any institution to simply maintain its status, even if justified by the need to keep costs in line?
But whether institutions will actually realize the advantages they seek through those investments is uncertain. Even if they rise in reputation, will more resources necessarily follow? There are also legitimate concerns about whether the cost of such aspirations and strategies diminish access and equity. And mission inflation skews the balance and disrupts the efficiency of our overall system of higher education.
The obvious question is whether institutions, in response to the current economic crisis, will scale back their efforts to realize their ambitions, if not the rhetoric around those ambitions.
Institutions have frozen discretionary spending, reduced budgets across departments, and held off hiring permanent faculty members in favor of using adjuncts. But will institutions begin suspending building projects? Will they ease off on purchasing the most-desirable students and faculty members? Will different types of institutions begin to act differently? I suspect not. Organizations naturally tend toward replicating market leaders, and they gain legitimacy in doing so.
J. Douglas Toma is an associate professor at the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Georgia.
Superstar Professors Renowned for Teaching? Pay Them per Student
By Mark B. DeFusco
When discussing productivity and performance at colleges and universities, the conversation often quickly moves to faculty output. This focus seems senseless.
The professors I know, tenured or not, seem to be extraordinarily engaged in their work, and seem to work plenty of hours, either at home or in the office. But many colleges use an outdated model of productivity that measures output against time on task and considers input as the best predictor of output. This was a useful model when engineers were looking for efficiencies and organizations were designed to look like the machines of their day.
The academy must find a different way to measure productivity. Bankers in my firm measure success (for better or worse) by the fees they generate; fees are generated only when the clients' goals are accomplished, so the bankers can see the fruits of their work in specific, rewarded outcomes. In other disciplines, like law and medicine, professionals earn more billable hours and higher rates with better performance. Markets determine the value of their outcomes.
Outcomes are not related to rewards at universities. Colleges have yet to apply standards to the three main tasks of professors—teaching, research, and service—with anything but very gross subjective measures during promotion and tenure.
Without a better way to measure outcomes, I am afraid that professors will fight an uphill battle of explaining how hard they work. (The middle-class families paying college bills won't be sympathetic.)
Why not pay a superstar faculty member, renowned for teaching, on a per-student basis? Why not pay the faculty member who draws the finest graduate students accordingly? Why not give an equity interest to faculty members who boost college rankings so they can share in the success they bring an institution? Why not pay a faculty member better if her class learns the course objectives in nine weeks as opposed to traditional 15 weeks? While all this goes against centuries of tradition, it is how we now judge professionals in a postindustrial age.
In many ways, for-profit colleges have a much simpler scorecard. Shareholders are legitimately concerned that decision makers tie investment to payoff, and in this case the shareholders are the most important constituents. The notion that students represent "customers" is important insofar as they have impact on the scorecard.
These scorecards are not so simple for traditional colleges and universities. For-profit colleges have been designed in large measure with the customer in mind. Throughout history, traditional universities have been built around their most important asset: the faculty. Colleges continue to operate on the quaint agrarian cycle, with summers off, and the most prestigious institutions are essentially shut down on Fridays. (What business would give up 20 percent of its earning time?)
The challenge: How does one develop a scorecard for product ivity in the academy? Each institution will have to find ways to judge the effectiveness and value in the holy trinity of teaching, research, and service.
A 21st-century approach to productivity is founded on incentive pay for performance. Until the academy designs measures of performance, the folks footing the bill will find it hard to know what they are paying for.
Mark B. DeFusco is managing director of Berkery, Noyes, an investment-banking company based in New York. He has also worked for the Apollo Group and was president of Vatterott Education Holdings, a for-profit educator in the Midwest.
Reward Colleges Not for Rankings but for Social Responsibility
By Gary Rhoades
American institutions of higher education have long been driven by an aspiration to move up the prestige hierarchy, in what David Riesman called a "snakelike procession." Ranking systems such as U.S. News & World Report's have recently intensified this status-seeking; the education-reformer Lloyd Thacker has said institutions are "driving under the influence."
They are driving toward higher costs, larger shares of money spent on noneducational matters, smaller shares on educational expenditures, and less access for lower-income, minority students, the fastest-growing populations.
Although aspiration is good, we are at the point at which the frenzied chasing of status is counterproductive for institutions, the system, and the society we serve.
For three decades, the drive for institutional status-seeking has been part of the drive to generate revenue, a pattern I call "academic capitalism." As colleges and universities have sought to generate more of their revenue, they have substantially raised tuition, worked to maximize net tuition revenue by chasing students who do not need aid, become more aggressive in fund raising, expanded auxiliary enterprises and contracts with business, invested in facilities to attract students who will pay (and donate) more, undertaken online and overseas educational ventures seeking new markets, and directed more money to research and technology transfer. All of this has led to rising costs, tuition, and fees.
Institutional costs in American higher education are related to college and university ambitions to gain status and revenue. Not only do institutions spend all the revenue they receive, they also spend revenue they have not yet received, in the hopes of gaining greater prestige and revenue—what I would call an aspirational venture theory of cost. Colleges often make bad investments in ventures driven by (often unfulfilled) ambitions, paying too little attention to costs, proffering too much faith in the hoped-for benefits, and passing along costs to students.
Paradoxically, as costs to students have been rising, investment in the academic work force that produces higher learning has been falling. The labor cost of the faculty, now generally less than a third of institutional costs, has been declining, as faculty members have become an increasingly part-time, contingent, low-paid work force. Moreover, the average age of faculty members in four-year institutions is now over 50, compromising the system's ability to accommodate future demand and to engage students for educational success.
Our system is out of sync with societal needs. And our mechanisms of public finance promote the pattern of ambition and institutional misinvestment. More money to students for financial aid encourages states to reduce their investment in higher education, which has been declining on a per-student basis for decades, and encourages institutions to further increase their tuition.
We need targeted reinvestment in institutions and in academic and professional positions, giving priority to those colleges that serve first-generation and diverse students, displaced workers, returning veterans, and older students. Our policies should support institutional movement more toward social responsibilities than organizational ambition.
Gary Rhoades is a professor of higher education at the University of Arizona and director of its Center for the Study of Higher Education. He is also general secretary of the American Association of University Professors.
In Search of Efficiency, We Shouldn't Surrender Our Soul to 'University City'
By Ronald R. Thomas
The relentless rise in the cost of college tuition has been a source of high anxiety for students, parents, and politicians, and for those of us working to find the answers on our own campuses for a long time. But as we wrestle with ways to reduce our budgets, increase need-based aid, and find innovative efficiencies, we must also avoid creating a problem of equal or potentially even greater concern. Simply put, in making tough choices to contain costs and increase access, we must not surrender the soul of the enterprise that has made American higher education the envy of the world.
Like it or not, education has become a principal economic player in a highly competitive, knowledge-based economy. This is evident in emerging economic giants like India and China, which are making large investments in higher education and threatening the historic global dominance of American colleges and universities. A powerful lesson on the subject was offered on a recent trip I took to China to learn how that country is tackling the demands of an ever-expanding technological world.
It was also a lesson in just what we have to lose if we act without caution.
I visited a city of several million people, where in a single year a four-square-mile University City has risen out of the farmlands (and outside the city) in the shadow of a new superhighway. Ten huge new university campuses, one after another, each housing tens of thousands of students, reach out as far as the eye can see: one campus for engineering; another, just steps away, for tourism; others for business, aeronautics, technology, agriculture, education, and so on. All of them are built on land confiscated from farmers, some of whom are still squatting in a few scattered shacks on the plots they were forced to evacuate with little compensation, surrounded by a forest of towering dormitories and construction cranes.
As I compare this futuristic vision of efficiency and state planning with the jumbled patchwork of American higher education—from community colleges and technical schools to Ivy League and liberal-arts colleges, and land-grant state universities and research institutions—I cannot help but wonder if University City represents the efficient and affordable future of higher education, and we represent its quaint past.
And if that's true, I wonder about the cost to the Chinese—about the quality and value of the education those students will receive, the sense of meaning and worth they will develop in those anonymous places, the values they will cultivate, the vision and solutions for the future they will invent, the understanding and appreciation for human possibility that will live in them.
The Chinese educators with whom I spoke, while publicly proud of their achievement, privately grieve over the cultural emptiness in which their plans are being carried out—the lack of free and independent thought being nurtured on their campuses, and the intense focus on public institutions without anything like our private colleges to promote innovation and choice. Those regrets hang like the cloud of pollution that obscures the sun on most days in many Chinese cities and hovers over the skyscraper campuses they build with such efficiency and speed.
As we in America seek to recover from the blows our economy has taken, China offers a cautionary tale about both cost and value. And as we make the hard decisions to contain costs and improve access, we must not surrender the fundamental values that have won American higher education the esteem of the world. We must remain open to change and pursue new ideas, and we must also commit to advancing the fundamental American values of choice and free inquiry that created the strength and variety of educational options we have built. A great education for times like these will not be cheap. And it must not be cheapened.
Ronald R. Thomas is president of the University of Puget Sound.
Copyright 2009. All Rights reserved
Septiembre 18, 2009
Nuevo libro sobre la justicia de Amartya Sen
Una interesante revisión del más reciente libro de Amartya Sen [en la foto], ganador del Premio Nobel de Economía, titulado The Idea of Justice, Belknap Press, 496 pp, se publicó recientemente en The Chronicle Review. Ver a continuación texto completo. Más abajo, el comentario sobre el mismo libro de la revista británica The Economist.
Amartya Sen Shakes Up Justice Theory
Carlin Romano, critic at large for The Chronicle Review, teaches philosophy and media theory at the University of Pennsylvania.
The Chronicle Reviwe, September 14, 2009
The economist Amartya Sen’s magnum opus on justice theory is published this month.
Suppose three children—Anne, Bob, and Carla—quarrel over a flute. Anne says it's hers because she's the only one who knows how to play it. Bob counters that he's the poorest and has no toys, so the flute would at least give him something to play with. Carla reminds Anne and Bob that she built the darn thing, and no sooner did she finish it than the other two started trying to take it away.
Intuitions clashing yet? Need something more complex to tingle your justice antennae—perhaps a puzzler from game theory? The example is Amartya Sen's, from the Nobel-Prize-winning economist's just-published The Idea of Justice (Belknap Press/Harvard University Press), his magnum opus on a line of work he's long addressed and now thoroughly re-examines: justice theory. And what a growth industry it's been since John Rawls revived the subject with his classic, A Theory of Justice (1971), and colleague Robert Nozick made its core principles into an Emerson Hall battle with his libertarian Anarchy, State, and Utopia (1974). Since Rawls, one hardly ranks as a political theorist without a whack at the J-word. Sen's stepping into the fray should keep things hopping, but justice theory is one subsidiary of philosophy that never really suffers a bad century.
Back in Homeric times, life was simpler. Justice largely meant personal vengeance. Complications began when Plato famously pinned on Thrasymachus the view that justice is simply the will of the stronger, and on Glaucon and Callicles the idea that justice is conventional. Plato argued, through his familiar Socratic ventriloquy, that justice is divine, an ideal to which human justice can only haltingly aspire. Aristotle then introduced a formal criterion of justice that still wins the greatest agreement, perhaps because it's merely formal: Treat equals equally and unequals unequally.
From then on, follow the history of philosophers' sentences that begin "Justice is … " on and you hit so many diverse endings you wonder whether anyone, including the lady in the blindfold, knows what justice is.
To Aquinas, it's "a certain rectitude of mind whereby a man does what he ought to do in the circumstances confronting him." To Hume, it's "nothing but an artificial invention." To Sir Edward Coke, it's "the daughter of the law, for the law bringeth her forth." To 20th-century American jurist Learned Hand, it's "the tolerable accommodation of the conflicting interests of society." Do a survey, and about the only thinker who invites instant agreement is Belgian philosopher of law Chaim Perelman. According to Perelman, justice is simply "a confused concept."
One reason theories of justice abound is the range of the concept, applied to decisions, people, procedures, laws, actions, events. Justice is usually considered a positive thing, yet some rank it below mercy. It's divine for some, purely human for others. It's supposedly majestic, yet many complain of its quotidian banality and everyday scarcity. Recall the old lawyer's joke:
Petitioner: "Justice, justice, I demand justice!"
Judge: "Silence or I'll have you removed! This is a court of law!"
When Rawls declared justice "the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought," and began his painstaking probe of the conditions of just institutions, he re-established a modern tradition dating back to Hobbes: using social-contract theory to articulate ideal forms of social justice, sometimes in quasi-syllogistic form. But there was also a longstanding, skeptical, antisystematic tradition in justice theory. One of the suspenseful aspects of Sen's book is how its author, personally close to Rawls (who died in 2002) but more expansive and historical in regard to justice, walks a difficult line between the analytic foundationalism Rawls and Nozick practiced and the sensitivity to real-world justice in people's lives that Sen and Martha Nussbaum argue for and describe as the "capabilities" conception of justice.
Although Sen mentions neither the late philosopher Robert C. Solomon, author of A Passion for Justice (1995), nor the very-much-with-us Elizabeth H. Wolgast, author of The Grammar of Justice (1987), both deserve credit for adumbrating ideas in justice theory that Sen, with his enormous intellectual prestige and cachet as a star in Harvard's firmament, may finally infiltrate into elite Ivy League and Oxbridge political theory.
Solomon wrote in A Passion for Justice that justice is "a complex set of passions to be cultivated, not an abstract set of principles to be formulated. … Justice begins with compassion and caring, not principles or opinions, but it also involves, right from the start, such 'negative' emotions as envy, jealousy, indignation, anger, and resentment, a keen sense of having been personally cheated or neglected, and the desire to get even." In time, suggested Solomon, "the sense of justice emerges as a generalization and, eventually, a rationalization of a personal sense of injustice."
That common-sense attempt at causal explanation—taking seriously how feelings of injustice spur the intellectual drive toward a theory of justice—had also been observed by Wolgast, who argued in The Grammar of Justice that injustice "grammatically" precedes justice. Sen's Harvard colleague, Michael J. Sandel, at the outset of his new Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?—not quite The Idiot's Guide to Justice but, unlike Sen's work, mainly a summary for general readers of key ideas in justice theory—notes, "At the heart of the bailout outrage was a sense of injustice."
Might our concept of justice arise when society's normal moral inertia, the tendency to accept traditions and status quo ethical procedures without challenge, is itself challenged?
Sen inclines to that view. He begins An Idea of Justice by quoting Pip in Charles Dickens's Great Expectations: "In the little world in which children have their existence, there is nothing so finely perceived and finely felt, as injustice." Sen adds, "The identification of redressable injustice is not only what animates us to think about justice and injustice, it is also central … to the theory of justice."
Thus the great economist, who long ago transcended the bounds of his discipline, goes full-frontal with justice—and John Rawls. Displaying his customary mix of erudition and worldliness, his irritation at the "parochial" slighting of Eastern thought (see The Argumentative Indian) and resistance to (despite mastery of) purely formal approaches to justice, Sen both praises Rawls profusely for his "rightly celebrated" work and nicks him with a score of cuts.
"Justice," Sen writes, "is ultimately connected with the way people's lives go, and not merely with the nature of institutions surrounding them." Two concepts from early Indian jurisprudence, niti (strict organizational and behavioral rules of justice) and nyaya (the larger picture of how such rules affect ordinary lives), provide a better prism for justice than Rawls's obsession with the characterization of just institutions. Indeed, Sen writes in a killer sum-up: "If a theory of justice is to guide reasoned choice of policies, strategies, or institutions, then the identification of fully just social arrangements is neither necessary nor sufficient."
It was Solomon, in A Passion for Justice, who voiced the problem that hangs over ostensibly rigorous justice theory, which Sen plainly finds unconvincing yet never quite denounces. Speaking of the enormous technical literature spawned by Rawls, Nozick, and their acolytes, Solomon wrote: "The positions have been drawn, defined, refined, and redefined again. The qualifications have been qualified, the objections answered and answered again with more objections, and the ramifications further ramified. … But the hope for a single, neutral, rational position has been thwarted every time." Solomon complained that justice theory had "become so specialized and so academic and so utterly unreadable that it has become just another intellectual puzzle, a conceptual Gordian knot awaiting its academic Alexander."
Will Sen be that Alexander? In repeatedly bringing back into the discussion Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments, Sen signals the need for justice theory to reconnect to realistic human psychology, not the phony formal rationalism that infects modern economics or the for-sake-of-argument altruism that anchors Rawls's project. (In A Theory of Justice, Rawls writes that in his well-ordered society, "Everyone is presumed to act justly.") By declaring his desire "to address questions of enhancing justice and removing injustice, rather than to offer resolutions of questions about the nature of perfect justice," Sen sinks a knife into the heart of the latter utopian program.
On the other hand, Sen's own understanding of his aim in The Idea of Justice hardly dismisses formal resources or careful reasoning. He cites an alternative tradition to social-contract theory, one he identifies as extending from Smith to Mill and beyond and characterizes as "comparative" in its measuring of the justice actually experienced by individuals. That countertradition issued, Sen explains, in the "analytical—and rather mathematical—discipline of social-choice theory" developed by Kenneth Arrow in the mid-20th century.
Alas, Sen spends some of the most arid sections of his book arguing for how its insights can aid "enhancement of justice." He's far more convincing when he sticks to nonformal arguments. Nothing would be sadder than if An Idea of Justice, like A Theory of Justice, generates a fresh industry of acolyte-driven justice literature without moving political actors to improve people's lives (surely the author's paramount goal).
Still, one should never underestimate the influence in philosophy of a big book by a Harvard or Princeton luminary that impeaches an intellectual tradition, however politely. Richard Rorty successfully undermined the pretensions of analytic epistemology (except among its practitioners) because he was an ex-analyst whistle-blower. Sen may be just the inside man to redirect philosophical thinking about justice to that real-world "capabilities approach" he and Nussbaum urge.
One irony is that the famously media-shy Rawls had a complicated human relationship to "justice" few students of the magisterial system-builder understood. With the 2007 publication of Thomas Pogge's John Rawls: His Life and Theory of Justice, we learned that Rawls evolved away from Christianity and toward his secular theory of justice from deep feelings about concrete injustices such as the Holocaust. Another challenge to justice—the chanciness of life—occurred closer to home and similarly left a profound impact on him. In the Philippines during World War II, an assignment from a superior officer that might have gone to Rawls or another soldier went to the other man, who was killed.
"Reasoning," writes Sen early on, "is a robust source of hope and confidence in a world darkened by murky deeds." In The Idea of Justice, Sen provides us with a stunning model despite his eternally ambiguous and imperfectible subject. As he so winningly adds, "The remedy for bad reasoning is better reasoning."
Amartya Sen on justice: How to do it better
From The Economist print edition, Aug 6th 2009
In his study on how to create justice in a globalised world, Amartya Sen expounds on human aspiration and deprivation—and takes a swipe at John Rawls
The Idea of Justice. By Amartya Sen. Belknap Press; 496 pages; $29.95. Allen Lane; £25. Buy from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk
AT THE disputed crossroads where economics and ethics meet stands Amartya Sen, a Nobel-prize-winning economist who thinks like a philosopher. In a dauntingly impressive flow of books and papers over 40 years he has done much to change both disciplines for the better, humanising the one, bringing content from the real world to the other. His work is technical, however, and the fine detail has sometimes hidden the shape of the whole. Mr Sen’s latest book answers both difficulties in magisterial style.
In the courtliest of tones, Mr Sen charges John Rawls, an American philosopher who died in 2002, with sending political thinkers up a tortuous blind alley. The Rawlsian project of trying to describe ideally just institutions is a distracting and ultimately fruitless way to think about social injustice, Mr Sen complains. Such a spirited attack against possibly the most influential English-speaking political philosopher of the past 100 years will alone excite attention.
“The Idea of Justice” serves also as a commanding summation of Mr Sen’s own work on economic reasoning and on the elements and measurement of human well-being. It is often intricate but never worthy. Conceptual subtleties flank blunt accounts of famine’s causes or physical handicap’s economic effects. A conviction that economists and philosophers are in business to improve the world burns on almost every page.
Mr Sen writes with dry wit, a feel for history and a relaxed cosmopolitanism. He presumes that the values in play are of global, not purely Western, import. Earlier thinkers he cites on justice and toleration come less from fourth-century Athens or 17th-century England than from India, where he was born 75 years ago. Growing up in Bengal, he learned about poverty and equality directly, not from books.
Two themes predominate: economic rationality and social injustice. Mr Sen approaches them alike. He can, when he wants, theorise without oxygen at any height. But he believes that theory, to be of use, must keep its feet on the ground. Modern theorists in his view have drifted too far from the actual world.
Economists have tended to content themselves with a laughably simple picture of human motivation, rationality and well-being. People are not purely self-interested. They care for others and observe social norms. They do not always reason “instrumentally”, seeking least-cost means to given ends. They question the point of their aims and the worth of their wants. Well-being, finally, has no single measure and is not inscrutable to others. Its elements are many and do not boil down to “utility” or some cash-value equivalent.
Complexity, though, need not breed mystery. Well-being’s diverse elements (freedom from hunger, disease, indignity and discrimination, to name four) are generally observable and, he believes, measurable. They are, to put it crudely, matters of fact, not taste, even if his philosophical story—that what underpins the several elements of well-being is that they all extend people’s “capabilities”—is still argued over.
Rawls held that social justice depended on having just institutions, whereas Mr Sen thinks that good social outcomes are what matter. Strictly both could be right. The practical brunt of Mr Sen’s criticism, however, is that just institutions do not ensure social justice. You can, in addition, recognise social injustices without knowing how a perfectly fair society would arrange or justify itself. Rawlsianism, though laudable in spirit, is too theoretical, and has distracted political philosophers from corrigible ills in the actual world.
Other arguments feed Mr Sen’s main themes. For example, that social-choice theory (how to gauge a society’s welfare from that of its members) permits good-enough, albeit incomplete, social comparisons. Also that the inevitable fact that moral judgments are made from a viewpoint does not make moral values local or subjective; that when talking of equality, you must always ask “equality of what?”; that rights carry extra weight without necessarily outweighing every concern; that justice’s demands outrun countries’ borders.
Tying the whole together is Mr Sen’s confidence that, though values are complex, economics provides tools for thinking clearly about complexity. “The Idea of Justice” is a feast, though perhaps not one to be consumed at a single sitting.
Virtually every claim Mr Sen makes will be objected to by someone. Right-wingers who follow Friedrich Hayek or James Buchanan will treat “social justice” and “social choice” as nonsenses. Mr Sen wants to humanise canons of “maximising” rationality; behavioural economists, much in fashion, aim to ditch them altogether. Rawlsian liberals will rally to the defence of their hero. Nobody, however, can reasonably complain any longer that they do not see how the parts of Mr Sen’s grand enterprise fit together.
His hero is Adam Smith: not the Smith of free-market legend, but the father of political economy who grasped the force of moral constraint and the value of sociability. To encapsulate the shift in attitude that Mr Sen has sought to bring about, ethics and economics are to be seen as Smith saw them: not two subjects, but one.
Mr Sen ends, suitably, with democracy. It can take many institutional forms, he says. But none succeeds without open debate about values and principles. To that vital element in public reason, as he calls it, “The Idea of Justice” is a contribution of the highest rank.
Septiembre 17, 2009
La difícil tarea de contar profesores de jornada completa y el juego de los rankings
Cómo contar profesor de jornada completa (PJC) y PJC equivalente, y el impacto de esta contabilidad sobre los rankings de universidades así como el juego que éstas juegan para representarse de la mejor manera posible en la carrera del prestigio, es el objeto del siguiente, interesante, artículo publicado por Inside Higher Ed.
Calculation That Doesn't Add Up
Inside Higher Ed, September 14, 2009
When critics question the validity of the calculations U.S. News & World Report uses to rank colleges, one answer the editors of the magazine have given is to note that it publishes not only the total rank, but also data on how colleges perform in the various categories that go into the rankings. So a prospective student who cares more about faculty resources or competitiveness or any other factor can see how colleges do there, and judge accordingly.
But if the factor that would-be students and their families care about is a percentage of full-time faculty, you can't count on the numbers about research universities to be correct. The two universities with the top scores in this category (both claiming 100 percent full-time faculty) have both acknowledged to Inside Higher Ed that they do not include adjunct faculty members in their calculations. U.S. News maintains that colleges do count adjuncts (or are told to) so that figure gives a true sense of the percentage of faculty members who are full time. But the two with 100 percent claims are not alone in boosting their numbers by leaving adjuncts out.
Some colleges that do so say that they read the instructions from U.S. News that way, and others say the magazine is itself inconsistent, in effect inviting them to do so. Others just leave the adjuncts out and don't indicate that unless asked.
The inconsistency shouldn't be a surprise, given that other publicly available data sources -- granted, sources that don't have the broad readership of the U.S. News rankings -- plainly state that most research universities rely heavily on adjuncts and have done so for years, making it difficult to believe that any of them would have a 100 percent full-time faculty. (A note on wording: These days many adjuncts work full time at a single institution, off the tenure track. And such adjuncts don't diminish a university's number in percentage of full-time faculty members. But the adjuncts that would -- and that are excluded at some institutions -- are those who work less than full time.)
U.S. News says that any discrepancies are the universities' fault and that it does not plan to make any corrections of rankings based on universities admitting that they left out adjuncts -- in some cases hundreds at an institution -- from their calculations.
"If a school says adjuncts should not be counted or were not reported, that means that particular school was consciously misreporting its faculty data or was on purpose deciding to understate its adjuncts for its own reasons," said Robert Morse, who runs the college rankings at the magazine. Further, he said no corrections were needed.
"U.S. News is not going to re-rank schools based on any reporting that Inside Higher Ed does that finds schools now say they misreported faculty counts to U.S. News (and probably other publishers, too). The ranking variable in question -- percent of faculty that is full-time is based on converting part-time to a full-time equivalent -- counts just 1 percent of the Best Colleges ranking," he said.
Could a University Be 100% Full Time?
The issue of inaccuracies in the rankings was first raised this month by the American Federation of Teachers, in its blog devoted to its campaign to improve the treatment of adjuncts and to create more tenure-track jobs. Focusing on the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, the AFT asked how it could be listed as having a faculty that is 100 percent full time when data submitted to the U.S. Department of Education show it has 401 part-time faculty members (compared to 1,539 full-timers).
U.S. News divides the part-time total in three, in theory because a part-time adjunct wouldn't be teaching as much as a full-time professor. Ignoring for a minute the reality than many a part-time adjunct teaches more sections than a tenured professor at a research university, applying the formula at Nebraska would not yield a 100 percent figure.
Inside Higher Ed asked Nebraska how it could claim a 100 percent full-time faculty, and it answered that it left out all of its adjuncts, believing that was what U.S. News wanted.
The answer raised the question of whether other universities did the same. One institution besides Nebraska said it had 100 percent: the Georgia Institute of Technology. A spokesman said that Georgia Tech believes U.S. News wants only faculty members with academic rank, and this excludes adjuncts, so Georgia Tech -- which does in fact have adjuncts -- doesn't include them.
Surveying the top research universities that U.S. News says have at least 95 percent full-time faculty, it's clear that those two are not alone in making greater use of adjuncts than the magazine's rankings state.
Take North Carolina State University, which U.S. News says has a faculty that is 96 percent full time even though it has hundreds of adjuncts. Karen Helm, director of university planning and analysis, said that the university counts as faculty only those whose "whose sole or primary employer is NC State." So full-time adjuncts are counted, as are some who are close to full time. But most part-time adjuncts are not counted, making it not surprising that the figure results in a high percentage of full-time faculty members.
Pennsylvania State University has 414 part-time faculty members, according to the most recent count by the university. But the university considers them to be employees, not faculty members, and so does not count any of them in its calculation for U.S. News, which says that 95 percent of the university's faculty is full time. "The problem is in the definition of 'adjunct' -- because that can vary by institution. We consider adjuncts to be part-time employees," said Lisa Powers, director of public information.
The University of Iowa (98 percent full time according to U.S. News) gets its high percentage in part because it counts only "permanent" employees, so any part timers who work semester to semester or year to year (a not uncommon circumstance) are not counted. The University of Missouri at Columbia (98 percent full-time faculty according to U.S. News) does not count its adjuncts in its total, a spokeswoman said.
Simeon Moss, a spokesman for Cornell University (98 percent full-time faculty according to U.S. News), said that Cornell excludes adjuncts from the calculation on full-time faculty members, but he said that the inconsistent party is the magazine, not the university, because U.S. News goes back and forth in different items on whether to include adjuncts, explicitly excluding them sometimes. Moss noted that the question is raised by four figures requested by the magazine: average faculty salaries, proportion of faculty who are full time, proportion of faculty who have a terminal degree, and student-faculty ratio.
Cornell excludes adjuncts across the board -- so that it is consistent in its faculty counts, Moss said.
"U.S. News is inconsistent in how they define faculty across these areas. They use the most stringent definition for the average faculty salaries, explicitly excluding 'non-professorial rank faculty with title of instructor, lecturer, or no-rank.' and in the others they are more generous with what constitutes faculty," Moss said. "For the sake of consistency, we've proceeded on the assumption that when we talk about faculty we should be talking about the same group of people in all areas. This, of course, may help us on the proportion of faculty who are full time, but it certainly does not help us with the student-faculty ratio. But, we are being consistent."
Beyond these definitional disagreements, there are broader questions about whether the U.S. News approach -- counting bodies of faculty members -- is the right one. The AFT, which flagged this issue by spotting the Nebraska inconsistency, has argued that what should be counted is course sections -- and how many are taught by full-time or part-time individuals.
That's because -- especially at prominent research universities -- course loads of many tenured and tenure-track faculty members are low, given the research obligations of these scholars. So to the extent rankings systems are trying to tell prospective students about their undergraduate experience, what matters is how many sections are taught by whom, not the mere existence of full-time faculty members.
A further issue that has been raised by the AFT and other critics is that the U.S. News figures exclude (by the magazine's choice) all instruction by graduate students -- meaning that just about every research university in the rankings would have a lower percentage if the actual section instructors were all counted. Using federal data, the AFT calculated for a report last year that 19 percent of instructional staff members at research universities are graduate students -- so nearly one fifth of instructors, almost all of them part-time because they are also graduate students, are not counted by the magazine when portraying the faculty.
Morse, of U.S. News, defends the magazine's methodology, even if many of the universities ranked at the highest levels in this category are excluding hundreds of adjuncts and all graduate instructors. He said that the magazine has made "a conscious decision not to include grad instructors in the definition, since we are just measuring faculty." And as for the definitional questions raised by the universities, "U.S. News believes the faculty definition that we use is very clear and that adjuncts should be counted."
— Scott Jaschik
© Copyright 2009 Inside Higher Ed
Septiembre 15, 2009
Aumentan postulantes para ser profesor de Enseña Chile
Circula el siguiente comunicado de Enseña Chile que da cuenta de la exitosa convocatoria para profesionales de diferentes disciplinas y carreras que desean dedicar los próximos años a labores docentes en colegios subvencionados. No parece necesario resaltar la enorme importancia de esta iniciativa.
Aumentan postulantes para ser profesor de Enseña Chile
Con más de 2600 interesados para los 60 cupos disponibles concluyó la primera etapa de selección para formar parte de la generación de profesores Enseña Chile 2010.
Durante los próximos meses, los postulantes serán parte de un riguroso proceso de selección para identificar a los mejores candidatos.
Santiago, 15 de septiembre de 2009.- Superando todas las expectativas, concluyó el proceso de postulación para ser profesor de Enseña Chile a partir de 2010. Más de 2.600 jóvenes profesionales se inscribieron a través del sitio web de la institución, 704 de los cuales completaron su postulación para hacer clases en los colegios más vulnerables de Chile por dos años a tiempo completo.
Para el período 2010-2011, Enseña Chile busca incorporar a 60 nuevos profesionales de excelencia para que se desempeñen como profesores en colegios vulnerables que no cuentan con docentes de especialidad. De este modo, Enseña Chile aspira a disminuir la brecha educacional que existe en Chile desde la sala de clases, motivando y reforzando el aprendizaje de los alumnos.
Durante los próximos meses, los postulantes serán parte de un riguroso proceso de selección para identificar a los mejores candidatos. Los seleccionados recibirán un completo entrenamiento y apoyo continuo para enfrentar el desafío.
Para Tomás Recart, director ejecutivo de Enseña Chile, la exitosa convocatoria es reflejo de los buenos resultados del proyecto –que en su primer año ya cuenta con 25 profesionales enseñando a tiempo completo en colegios vulnerables de la Región Metropolitana, Región de la Araucanía y la Región de los Ríos-, del enorme potencial de la iniciativa y de inquietud de los jóvenes por terminar con la desigualdad de oportunidades.
“El interés demostrado y la cantidad de postulaciones que tuvimos este año, demuestra que los chilenos sí están comprometidos, que sí quieren aportar desde la acción para mejorar el sistema educacional de nuestro país”, explica con entusiasmo Recart.
Enseña Chile selecciona, forma y acompaña a jóvenes líderes, de todas las disciplinas, para que trabajen por dos años como profesores tiempo completo en colegios vulnerables del país. De este modo, busca transformar la sala de clases desde la acción, mejorando el aprendizaje de los niños y comprometiendo a los mejores profesionales del país con el cambio del sistema educacional.
Cabe señalar que en el primer proceso de postulación, en 2008, se inscribieron más de 700 jóvenes, 320 de los cuales completaron su inscripción.
En el año 2010, se abrirán 100 nuevas vacantes para que más jóvenes profesionales se comprometan como profesores de Enseña Chile para que un día todos los niños en Chile reciban educación de calidad.
Más información sobre Enseña Chile a continuación.
Enseña Chile se basa en el exitoso modelo de Teach For America, uno de los principales proveedores de profesores para los niveles socioeconómicos más bajos de Estados Unidos, reconocido por construir un cuerpo de líderes comprometidos con la excelencia y equidad educacional.
Teach For America fue fundada por Wendy Kopp en 1990, quien la propuso como su tesis de grado en la Universidad de Princeton. Ella estaba convencida de que en su generación había muchas personas que buscaban realizar un verdadero cambio en la sociedad, y que muchos de los mejores alumnos universitarios estarían dispuestos a ser profesores y a formar parte de un cuerpo destacado de docentes, antes que optar por otras oportunidades laborales más lucrativas.
Varios años después, un grupo de profesionales chilenos, mientras realizaban estudios de postgrado en Estados Unidos, conocieron Teach For America y comenzaron a pensar en la posibilidad de replicarlo en el país. En 2006, en plena revolución “pingüina”, estos jóvenes lograron reunirse con Wendy Kopp para estudiar la posibilidad de adaptar este modelo e implementarlo en Chile.
Luego de un arduo trabajo, en que se desarrolló un plan para adaptar el programa a la realidad y necesidad de Chile, en enero de 2008 se fundó formalmente Enseña Chile. El año 2009 comenzó a trabajar la primera generación de profesores Enseña Chile.
Ser profesor es convertirse en el actor principal del cambio social que propone Enseña Chile.
Para lograr el desafío de disminuir la brecha educacional se necesita a los mejores profesionales del país en las salas de clases, personas que junto con demostrar un buen desempeño académico, tengan capacidades de liderazgo y motivación por hacer un aporte concreto para mejorar la calidad de la educación.
Queremos profesionales que, trabajando por dos años como docentes en colegios vulnerables, sean capaces de impactar y motivar el aprendizaje de los niños.
Durante estos dos años de trabajo el profesor será contratado por el colegio que le fue asignado y asumirá las mismas responsabilidades que el resto del cuerpo docente de ese establecimiento. Durante este tiempo el profesor recibe apoyo y capacitación continua por parte de Enseña Chile.
Una vez terminado este compromiso, el profesor Enseña Chile pasa a formar parte de la red global Teach For All.
Esta experiencia desarrolla importantes habilidades de liderazgo, gestión y compromiso, competencias muy valoradas en el mercado laboral, junto con entregar un conocimiento real de los problemas de la educación chilena, m uy importante para aquellos profesionales interesados en seguir vinculados a esta área después de su paso por Enseña Chile.
La graduación (in)oportuna en las principales universidades de los EE.UU.
Reportaje a fondo publicado por Inside Higher Ed a propósito del libro recientemente publicado por William G. Bowen, president emeritus of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Princeton University; Matthew M. Chingos, a Ph.D. student in government at Harvard University and a research associate at Mellon; and Michael S. McPherson, president of the Spencer Foundation and former president of Macalester College.
En su libro Crossing the Finish Line: Completing College at America's Public Universities, los autores abordan un conjunto de temas que se hallan muy presentes también en el debate latinoamericano y chileno, partiendo por las bajas tasas de graduación oportuna de los estudiantes en las universdades, el promedio real de las carreras de 4 años (nominales) que en EE.UU. es de seis años, las razones de estos fenómenos, su costo para las personas y lam sociedad y los posibles remedios.
El mismo tema es tratado también por The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Ver a continuación los dos reportajes.
(Not) Crossing the Finish Line
Inside Higher Ed, September 9, 2009
America's flagship public universities are failing to graduate enough students in four (or even six) years and are doing too little to improve the completion rates of low-income and minority students, especially black males, according to a much awaited book being released today.
Crossing the Finish Line: Completing College at America's Public Universities is based on a database tracking what happened to students who entered 21 flagship universities in 1999, as well as a comparative database with information on several statewide higher education systems. The information available for the study was detailed enough for the authors to track not only graduation rates, but many other issues. For instance, the book raises questions about the value of the six-year emphasis of the federal rate, the inability of public universities to do a better job of graduating some subsets of their students, the role of standardized testing, the use of merit aid and the ability of community college students to transfer.
The authors of the book -- published by Princeton University Press -- are William G. Bowen, president emeritus of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Princeton University; Matthew M. Chingos, a Ph.D. student in government at Harvard University and a research associate at Mellon; and Michael S. McPherson, president of the Spencer Foundation and former president of Macalester College.
While the authors include the former presidents of two private institutions, and the book notes the relative success of private, residential colleges in graduating students, the authors are emphatic that the United States cannot improve overall educational attainment unless there are significant changes in public higher education -- because that is where most students enroll. "Public universities have to be the principal engines," the book says. And the "only way" they can succeed at this task, the authors write, is through a renewed push to close gaps in graduation rates that exist among racial, ethnic and economic groups.
At the same time, the authors are calling for attitudinal changes -- by students and those who run universities -- so that four-year graduation is seen as the standard all are expected to meet. In fact, the study found that at less selective flagships, only about a third of students are graduating in four years, and that totals in less selective university systems are about one quarter.
In an interview, Bowen cited an anecdote that to him typifies the flawed culture at many institutions that considers it perfectly normal to graduate in six years. "At a very highly regarded flagship university, when you talk there to students about graduation rates, you can be told, as we were told by one person, 'graduating in four years is like leaving the party at 10 o'clock,' " he said.
Here are overall figures from the study, with both flagships and state systems divided by admissions selectivity, with the more selective on the top of each category. (A list of the flagships studied, and their selectivity grouping, may be found here.)
Graduation Rates by Selectivity
Sector Graduated in 4 Years Graduated in 5 or 6 Years Total in 6 Years
Flagships (most selective) 65% 21% 86%
Flagships (mid level of selectivity) 52% 28% 80%
Flagships (less selective) 33% 33% 66%
State systems (more selective) 54% 23% 77%
State systems (less selective) 26% 25% 51%
While the federal calculation of graduation rates is based on six years, Bowen said it was important to start to focus on the four-year rate. If programs require four years of work, he said, students should be able to get through them in four. "The costs to the higher education system and to the students are very high" of letting six years become a normal time to degree, Bowen said.
He acknowledged that the residential, private colleges that tend to have graduation rates in the 90s have the benefits of small size and the money to spend on outreach efforts to encourage graduation in four years. But he said that evidence from the databases showed that large universities that use small units to divide students, and that have significant residence life and a sense of community (as many do with honors colleges), are having more success than other larger universities at graduating students in four years.
He acknowledged that many large research universities -- especially now -- are limited in resources and won't match the per-student spending levels of elite liberal arts colleges. But he said that the question isn't of trying to become a small college, but "to find ways to mimic them."
And a big part of that is expectations, he said. "A key question is how hard does an institution push to get students through in four?"
One of the major themes of the book is of the importance of disparities -- and the need to be precise about them. For all flagships, the following table shows significant gaps among male students, and much smaller gaps among female students, with Asian-American students having the highest graduation rates for both groups, and black students the lowest rates. Asian women at flagship universities are in fact more likely to graduate within four years than are black men in six years.
Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Graduation Rates at Flagship Universities
Group Graduated in 4 Years Graduated in 5 or 6 Years Total in 6 Years
--White 42% 33% 75%
--Black 26% 33% 59%
--Hispanic 32% 34% 66%
--Asian 47% 31% 78%
--White 56% 23% 79%
--Black 45% 27% 72%
--Hispanic 48% 28% 76%
--Asian 60% 25% 85%
Selectivity adds further to the racial gaps, as this table from the book shows, in comparing black and white students, with gender breakdowns, at different groupings of flagship universities by admissions selectivity.
Black-White Gaps at Flagship Universities, by Selectivity
Group Graduated in 4 Years Graduated in 5 or 6 Years Total in 6 Years
--White at most selective 54% 22% 86%
--Black at most selective 33% 32% 65%
--White at mid level of selectivity 46% 33% 79%
--Black at mid level of selectivity 27% 32% 59%
--White at least selective 27% 38% 65%
--Black at least selective 14% 35% 49%
--White at most selective 76% 14% 89%
--Black at most selective 59% 22% 81%
--White at mid level of selectivity 61% 23% 84%
--Black at mid level of selectivity 42% 30% 72%
--White at least selective 41% 29% 70%
--Black at least selective 29% 30% 59%
Mismatch or 'Undermatch'?
The large gaps in graduation rates, especially for black men, are an issue of great concern to the authors. And they note that some might look at these figures and see evidence for the "mismatch" theory that is popular with many critics of affirmative action. That theory holds that students from various minority groups are not well served by being admitted to highly competitive colleges with grades and test scores that are lower than those of other admitted applicants. These students -- as evidenced by lower graduation rates -- don't experience academic success as they might at less competitive institutions, the theory holds.
The new book argues that it has conclusive evidence to debunk mismatch theory. The authors used data from their database to compare black men with high school grade-point averages below 3.0 who enrolled in the most selective flagships and those who enrolled in less selective flagships and the least selective flagships. What the authors found was that these students -- who mismatch theory would suggest would do better at less competitive institutions -- actually are most likely to graduate at more competitive flagships. The graduation rate for this cohort of black males at the three selectivity levels of flagships is (starting from the most selective), 46 percent, 40 percent, and 38 percent. So these black males benefit significantly from being at the more competitive institutions.
In the interview, Bowen said that this is more evidence of the powerful impact of peer expectations and institutional expectations at more competitive institutions. The message for black males (and other minority groups) is not to be scared off by alleged mismatches but to "go to the best place that will admit you."
The book also argues that the existence of programs in which black students are admitted, held to very high standards, but also given support services and a supportive environment -- and then thrive -- shows that success is possible with the right combination of factors. The Meyerhoff Scholars Program at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County is cited as an example in not only educating hundreds of black and other minority students, but in sending them off to top graduate programs in math and science.
The obvious question that the authors then pose, given the success at UMBC, is why this isn't taking place elsewhere. While the book says that the program's features "could certainly be copied," it adds that the efforts are expensive and have benefited from a strong leader in Freeman Hrabowski, UMBC's president, championing the program.
Most black students not only aren't ending up at UMBC, the book notes, but they aren't in fact ending up at the most challenging institution they could get into. Using GPA and other measures in the state systems examined, the book argues that there is considerable "undermatching" going on -- with minority students in particular not applying to the most competitive institutions that would admit them.
This is the problem, the authors argue, not mismatch. "The way to improve graduation rates and other outcomes for black men is not to discourage them from enrolling in academically strong programs.... On the contrary, more presumptively well-qualified black men should be encouraged to 'aim high' when deciding whether and where to to pursue educational opportunities after high school," they write.
Testing and Its Value
Another area that the book examines with its database is the relative predictive value of grades and standardized tests like the SAT and ACT on predicting college graduation rates. The overall conclusion of the section is that high school grades have more predictive value than do standardized tests, and that the additional predictive value from tests is quite small (although slightly greater at the most competitive institutions).
The finding could be significant for several reasons. First the authors intentionally go to a new measure of testing validity -- graduation rates -- rather than focusing on the measure used by the College Board for predictive validity of the SAT, which is first-year grades. Bowen said that since the goal should be graduation (and on time graduation), testing should be measured in that way.
While the limited value they find for testing might be seen as an anti-testing stance, the authors are careful not to go there. They say that they don't want to focus on "to test or not to test" but on how testing could or should be used. Generally, the book offers praise for the SAT II (the subject tests) and the Advanced Placement tests, noting that both of these tests are based on what students actually learn in academic areas.
Bowen said that "we're not anti-testers," but that colleges -- especially those that aren't at the most competitive levels -- need to "think about weighting" so that it's clear that "if you have done well in high school, but not on the SAT," you can enroll, he said.
What the book does suggest is wrong, however, is the use of a test like the SAT as the sole or even dominant admissions criterion. Asked about the National Merit Scholarship Program, on which semifinalist status is based entirely on PSAT scores, Bowen said that based on the evidence in the book, "I'm highly skeptical that it makes any sense."
The Transfer Route
Yet another area explored with the database (and this article leaves out still many others) is the subject of community college transfers. Here the book offers a very mixed message.
First it says that its data on student progression suggest that high school seniors who want to earn a bachelor's degree are less likely to do so if they start at community colleges than if they enroll at a four-year institution. But second, the analysis of the database finds that of those community college students who transfer to selective flagships, they graduate at the same rate as those who enrolled at those institutions as first-time freshmen. This parity is more impressive, the book notes, considering that the transfers were more likely than those who started at the universities to be from low-income families and more likely to have not had great pre-college academic credentials.
Bowen said that, from a policy perspective, the findings leave him thinking that "investing more heavily in community colleges is wise," but he added that it may not be wise to assume that community college transfers "are going to solve the B.A. completion problem." He said that he was particularly concerned about state systems -- such as California's -- where four-year campuses have not kept up with student demand. Having a strong community college system, he said, "is no substitute for providing the places in four-year institutions."
Of course California is not the only state cutting budgets -- and doing so in ways that may undercut many of the sorts of initiatives that might deal with some of the issues the new book discusses. Outreach to low-income and minority students, scholarships, academic advising, better residential facilities and more -- all of these cost money.
"I think it's very serious," said Bowen of the trends today. "I think the country is underspending on the major public universities. No question about it, and the consequences will be serious."
But he also stressed that much in the book -- especially related to expectations -- concerns philosophies that don't necessarily have price tags. "If the expectation is 'all of you who entered together are going to graduate together,' that just is different from being in a situation where there are no such expectations."
© Copyright 2009 Inside Higher Ed
Helping Students Finish the 4-Year Run
By William G. Bowen, Matthew M. Chingos, and Michael S. McPherson
The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 8, 2009
Over the last 35 years, the United States has failed to build human capital at anything like its historic rate, and the Obama administration is wise in giving a high priority to an improvement in graduation rates. Our new book, Crossing the Finish Line: Completing College at America's Public Universities (Princeton University Press), examines the factors behind this plateau in educational attainment and the substantial (and closely related) disparities in bachelor's-degree completion rates by socioeconomic status, race, and ethnicity. Reducing these disparities is essential if the United States is to raise the overall level of educational attainment and regain its leadership in higher education worldwide.
We focus on America's public universities because they enroll such a high percentage of the college-going population—about two-thirds of all full-time students seeking B.A.'s and more than three-fourths of all students in four-year programs. This is also the sector that has the strongest historical commitment to promoting social mobility. We present data for all members of the 1999 entering cohorts at 21 flagship universities and at all 47 four-year public universities in four states: Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia. Here are six major findings:
1. Disparities in outcomes (especially graduation rates and the time it takes to earn a degree) are strongly related to socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity. The disparities are substantial, pervasive, and persistent (see Figure 1). Moreover, related differences in college preparation account for a relatively small part of the gaps.
2. Lengthy time-to-degree is a major problem. At the flagship campuses of public-university systems, just under half of entering freshmen go on to graduate in four years. Throughout the four state systems that we studied, less than 40 percent graduate in four years, and the number who take five and six years exceeds the number of four-year graduates. There is now debate over the desirability of promoting three-year programs; yet raising the percentage of students who graduate in four years would save far more resources and have a much greater impact on the "efficiency" of the educational system.
3. Withdrawals from flagship universities are far less concentrated in the first two years of study than many people assume. Nearly half of all students who withdraw do so after the second semester, so it will not do to focus only on getting students off to a good start—important as that is. Once again, there are substantial gaps among students from different socioeconomic groups, although the overall pattern is similar (see Figure 2).
4. Money matters. We find big gaps by family income in completion rates and in the time it takes to earn degrees—even after we control for related differences in factors like parental education. For example, at the flagships 83 percent of students from the top half of the income distribution graduate within six years, but only 68 percent from the bottom half do so: a difference of 15 percentage points. The difference in four-year graduation rates is 19 points. We also find that differences across states in the net prices paid by students have significant effects on the odds that a low-income student will graduate: the higher the net price, the lower the completion rate (other things equal). On the other hand, there is no correlation between net price and completion rates for high-income students, a finding that raises real questions about the wisdom of merit-aid programs and policies aimed at keeping tuition low across the board.
5. But money is by no means the entire story, perhaps not even the largest part. Student's choices of where to apply to college are enormously important. A surprisingly large number of students—especially those from poor families and those who are African-American or Hispanic—"undermatch." That is, they go to less demanding four-year institutions than they are qualified to attend, to two-year colleges, or to no college at all. For example, 59 percent of students in the bottom quartile of family income undermatch; 27 percent in the top quartile do so. In addition, 64 percent of students whose parents have no college education undermatch, compared with 41 percent of those whose parents have college degrees and 31 percent whose parents have graduate degrees (see Figure 3). Undermatching has serious consequences because there is a strong association between institutional selectivity and B.A.-completion rates: Students with essentially the same qualifications who attend more-selective universities have a considerably higher probability of graduating than do comparable students who attend less selective universities. Our data also confirm the results of other studies that show that students whose objective is to earn a B.A. are much less likely to do so if they start at a two-year college (again, other things equal).
6. "Sorting" of applicants by universities, especially overreliance on standardized tests, is consequential and problematic. We are not opposed to testing per se. Standardized tests can be helpful when used in the right ways and in the right settings. They are especially helpful when used with high-school grades to predict college grades at the most selective universities. It is clear, however, that high-school grades are far better predictors of graduation rates, especially at less selective universities. This finding holds even when we do not take account of differences in the quality of the high school that a student attended. Results of achievement tests, especially scores on Advanced Placement tests, are also good predictors. Both grades and achievement-test scores measure not only cognitive achievement but also coping and time-management skills—which, we surmise, affect completion rates.
Thus, in our view, institutions and national policy makers need to make stronger efforts to help students complete their college programs in a timely way. Starting college is obviously important, but so is crossing the finish line.
Septiembre 14, 2009
CONACEP: X Congreso Nacional de Educación
Colegios Particulares de Chile, A.G (CONACEP) convoca al X Congreso Nacional de Educación que se realizará en Santiago los días 24 y 25 de septiembre próximos en el marco del Salón Anual de la Educación en la Estación Mapocho. En esta oportunidad el sector privado de educación se detendrá a analizar y perfilar el futuro de la educación en Chile.
Jueves 24 de septiembre de 2009
14.45 Llegada y acreditación
15.00 - 15:40 CEREMONIA INAUGURACIÓN Saludo Alumno(a) destacado Saludo Profesor(a) o Director(a) Intervención del Sr. Rodrigo Bosch Elgueta, Presidente de CONACEP, “Educación Bicentenario y rol de privados”
“La magnitud de las reformas educacionales en marcha”, Sra. Mónica Jiménez de la Jara, Ministra de Educación
15:40 - 16:00 Educación para el Bicentenario: exposición del candidato presidencial Sebastián Piñera
16:00 - 16:25 Comisión de expertos y actores del sistema educacional
16:25 - 17:00 Café
17:00 - 17:20 Educación para el Bicentenario: exposición del candidato presidencial Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle
17:20 - 18:00 Comisión de expertos y actores del sistema educacional
18.00 Cierre primer día. Recordatorio actividades viernes
Viernes 25 de septiembre de 2009
9.00 Llegada asistentes; se recoge encuesta a participantes sobre temas tratados.
9:30 - 9:45 Sistema de Aseguramiento de la calidad. Expone principales aspectos del Proyecto Ley, Alejandro Hasbún, Vicepresidente de CONACEP.
9:45 - 10:15 Diálogo con parlamentarios de la Comisión Educación Diputado Sergio Bobadilla Diputado Gabriel Silver Diputada Clemira Pacheco Modera Rodrigo Ketterer, Director CONACEP
10:15 -11.00 Innovaciones de CONACEP al servicio de la calidad Sello de calidad de la CONACEP, Josefina Rossetti, Gerenta Calidad Mapcity: buscador de colegios , expone… Herramientas para la calidad , Ricardo Awad , Gerente BancoEstado Pymes Modera: Josefina Rossetti
11:00 - 11.45 Iniciativas regionales de la CONACEP en torno a la calidad Marco Riquelme, Director Regional CONACEP Antofagasta Daniel Villarroel, Director Regional CONACEP Bío Bío Modera: Josefina Rossetti, Gerenta Calidad CONACEP
11:45 - 12:00 Café/Se recoge encuesta y procesa.
12:00 - 12:20 Educación para el Bicentenario: exposición del candidato presidencial Marco Enríquez-Ominami
12:20 - 12:45 Comisión de expertos y actores del sistema educacional
12:45 - 13:00 Cierre Principales conclusiones del X Congreso y Desafíos CONACEP Expone: Rodrigo Bosch, Presidente CONACEP
Colegios Particulares de Chile, A.G (CONACEP) es una agrupación que reúne a sostenedores de establecimientos educacionales particulares chilenos, tanto subvencionados como pagados. Actualmente posee 500 socios, y representa un total de 840 colegios, los que en conjunto atienden a 435.000 estudiantes, es decir, 25% de la matrícula particular del país. La presencia de Colegios Particulares de Chile - CONACEP se encuentra distribuida en todo el país, y cerca de 40% de la matrícula atendida por establecimientos socios se encuentra en regiones.
La corporación fue creada en 1977 por un grupo de sostenedores preocupados por las características del sistema escolar chileno de la época, y fue evolucionando hasta su transformación en asociación gremial, en 1983.
Entre los objetivos fundacionales de Colegios Particulares de Chile - CONACEP destaca el entregar información que permita “a los sostenedores y representantes legales de colegios particulares adoptar una decisión homogénea con respecto a situaciones generales, sin perder las características particulares que impriman a su quehacer docente” y promover entre sus asociados el respeto a normas éticas que contribuyan al bien común del país.
Colegios Particulares de Chile - CONACEP se ha convertido en la voz de los colegios particulares en Chile, defendiendo la igualdad de trato desde el Ministerio de Educación y en relación a los establecimientos municipales; abogando por autonomía en la administración de los colegios de su dependencia; por la correcta interpretación de la regulación vigente; respaldando aquellas propuestas que promueven mayor competencia y calidad; y combatiendo las opciones que reducen o abiertamente atentan contra la participación privada en la provisión de servicios educativos.
La presencia de Colegios Particulares de Chile - CONACEP en todas las instancias formales de opinión (Comisión de Educación de la Cámara de Diputados y del Senado, reuniones con distintos niveles jerárquicos del MINEDUC, Consejo Asesor de la Calidad de la Educación, e innumerables seminarios y conferencias), son muestra de la posición que ha logrado la corporación como representante del sector privado en educación escolar.
Colegios Particulares de Chile - CONACEP tiene especial interés en promover mejoras efectivas en la calidad de la educación en Chile y en especial de sus socios; y es por ello que está en permanente búsqueda de buenas prácticas para ser difundidas entre ellos, así como facilitando la colaboración e intercambio de experiencias.
Adicionalmente, la corporación se mantiene permanentemente actualizada de nuevos sistemas y modelos que sirvan de ejemplo y apoyo al sistema educativo en Chile; para lo cual ha realizado misiones técnicas a países de Latinoamérica y Europa, teniendo la oportunidad de conocer experiencias interesantes en evaluación y sistemas de aseguramiento de la calidad, entre otros.
Septiembre 12, 2009
Cómo ahorrar dineros del presupuesto universitario en tiempos de crisis
¿Qué hacer cuando los cursos están llenos de alumnos, digamos 450, y la universidad no está en condiciones de contratar suficientes ayudantes que colaboren con el profesore para corregir pruebas y animar discusiones?
Una vía posible de solución --no sin costos-- es explorada por Robert Reich [en la foto], exitoso profesor de Berkeley, intelctual público y ex Ministro del Trabajo del presidente Clinton.
Ver a continuación el reportaje de Inside Higher Ed.
Economics Lesson for Higher Ed
Inside Higher Ed, September 10, 2009
On Sunday talk shows of late, Robert Reich has been a vocal advocate of expanding access to health care for all Americans. It is perhaps fitting then that Reich, the former U.S. Labor Secretary turned public policy professor, has been advocating access of a different kind at the University of California at Berkeley.
Reich is one of Berkeley’s more widely known faculty members, and his “Wealth and Poverty” course quickly fills to capacity – and that’s a problem in California where capacity is rapidly shrinking. Indeed, as the Goldman School of Public Policy analyzed its budget this year, officials surmised that enrollment in Reich’s
“He said 'I’d really hate to do that; I don’t want to close people out,' ” recalls Henry Brady, the school’s dean.
Given budgetary constraints, the school was only going to be able to provide six teaching assistants for Reich’s class. When Reich previously taught a class of 440 students, he needed nine TA’s to help grade papers and run weekly break-out discussions of 25 students each. With just six TA’s, there would only be enough support to enroll 300 students, Brady said.
Call it third way politics if you like, but Reich, the former Clinton Cabinet member, suggested another option no one else had previously considered. What if the school could offer two different options for students, giving them some access to the popular class while still reducing the need for TA’s? In one class, worth four units, students would have the traditional lectures with Reich and break-out discussion groups with TA’s. In a second class, worth only two units, students would attend the Reich lectures without the additional break-out sessions or the same level of coursework. Students in the lecture-only class will still receive exams, which will be graded by less expensive readers, but they won't write essays graded by TA's.
Reich concedes the option is "not ideal," but says "I wouldn't be offering it to students lecture-only if I didn't think they would get a lot out of it. And it seems to me we've hit on a reasonable compromise."
“I think it’s a model for making sure we still give students access to lecturers like Bob Reich without breaking the bank,” he said.
Brady anticipates the newly offered courses will produce a net savings of $15,000 to $17,000. Those savings are in part attributable to a decision by the College of Letters and Science to fund a seventh TA for the course. The college will now list “Wealth and Poverty” as one of its “Discovery Courses,” which are used to help students fulfill seven breadth requirements needed for graduation. The breadth requirements are designed to give students exposure to broad disciplines.
While Reich’s proposal may expand access to the lectures, there will now be 175 students in his class without access to the small group discussions that have been considered vital to the large lecture format. The lower credit option may appeal to some students, but Brady concedes it was a stopgap measure to address a difficult situation.
“We’ve got terrible problems,” he said, “but we’re trying to find creative ways to solve them and meet the students’ needs.”
Even though some students will be in lecture-only classes, Reich says he's tried to keep students engaged even when they number well into the hundreds.
"It's never a lecture," he said. "I wonder around the aisles, I talk to students. We do not only Socratic dialogues but also various scenarios, and I try also not to make it a static lecture."
Reich also closes each two-hour session with something he calls "the salon," where students can opt to hang around for an additional 30 minutes for a smaller group discussion. In a class that typically enrolls about 425, Reich says about 30 or 40 stay for the salon.
Reich's course, "Wealth and Poverty," is an examination of the widening gap of income inequality and wealth in the United States and elsewhere. The course blends a variety of disciplines, including sociology, economics, ethics, political science and social psychology. In short, it offers something for just about everyone. But one wonders if Reich's own celebrity drives the numbers as well.
"I've done it for a number of years and the course keeps growing dramatically," he said. "I would prefer to think that the reason it's growing is not name recognition, because I had the same name recognition at the start."
Septiembre 11, 2009
Reformas Pendientes en la Educación Secundaria
Nuevo libro en la serie de PREAL (Programa de Promoción de la Reforma Educativa en América Latina y el Caribe) aborda las reformas que la educación secundaria debe enfrentar en América Latina.
Bajar el libro aquí 5.9 MB
Este libro es el tercero que se realiza en el marco de las actividades del Fondo de Investigaciones Educativas (FIE), un proyecto del Programa de Promoción de la Reforma Educativa en América Latina y el Caribe (PREAL) que se desarrolló en asociación con el Global Development Network (GDN) y el apoyo del Banco Mundial.
El objetivo del FIE es propiciar la realización de estudios de alta calidad técnica cuyas conclu-siones puedan ser fácilmente traducidas en políticas educativas. En segundo lugar se busca desarrollar las habilidades de investigadores de la región para llevar a cabo este tipo de estudios. De manera complementaria, también se busca acercar a las personas vinculadas al desarrollo de políticas educativas (a diferentes niveles) a los resultados de estudios empíricos de alta calidad técnica realizados en la región.
Una forma de lograr lo anterior es a través de estos concursos de investigación.
Marcela Gajardo y Jeffrey M. Puryear.................................................7
Introducción: Políticas inclusivas para la educación secundaria.
Descentralización escolar: ayudando a los buenos a ser mejores, pero dejando a los pobres atrás.
Sebastián Galiani, Paul Gertler y Ernes to Schargrodsky..........................27
Gestión pública y privada, autonomía institucional y logros educativos en la enseñanza media argentina.
María Antonia Gallart, Marcela Sandra Cerrutti y Georgina Binstock..........................65
A Reforma do Ensino Médio no Brasil: 1999-2005.
Gilda Fig ueiredo Portug al Gouvêa (Coord.), Maria Eliza Fini, Maria Helena Guim arães Cas tro, Maria Inês Fini, Sergio Tiezzi, Stella Maria Barberá da Silva Telles , Vera Lúcia Cabral Cos ta y Antonio Carlos Dias Junior.. 115
Avaliação das contribuições do programa de iniciação científica no ensino médio e profissional enquanto estratégia de melhoria na formação de jovens em Minas Gerais, Brasil.
Gisele Brandão Machado de Oliveira, Paulo de Oliveira, Delba Teixeira Rodrig ues Barros y Virgínia Torres Schall....... 181
Logros, equidad y retornos de la educación secundaria en Bolivia.
Ernesto Yáñez, Scarlet Es calante, Wilson Jiménez y Franz Arce........... 221
La Educación Técnica Profesional costarricense (ETP) en Especialidades No Tradicionales (ENT) y su
correspondencia con los requerimientos de los empleadores: un fundamento para el cambio.
Aída M. Mainieri Hidalgo................................................................................ 311
Valoración de la puesta en marcha de un modelo alternativo para telesecundarias unitarias y bidocentes.
Santiag o Rincón Gallardo Shimada, Emilio Domínguez Bravo, Annette Santos del Real, Gabriel Cámara Cervera y
Dalila López Salmorán................................................................................... 363
La deserción escolar de adolescentes en Paraguay.Rodolfo Elías y Jos é R. Molinas.............. 409
Sobre los autores............................................................................................. 475
Septiembre 10, 2009
Fé, razón y universidad: Benedicto XVI (2006)
VIAJE APOSTÓLICO DE SU SANTIDAD BENEDICTO XVI A MUNICH, ALTÖTTING Y RATISBONA
(9-14 DE SEPTIEMBRE DE 2006)
ENCUENTRO CON EL MUNDO DE LA CULTURA: DISCURSO DEL SANTO PADRE EN LA UNIVERSIDAD DE RATISBONA
Martes 12 de septiembre de 2006
Fe, razón y universidad. Recuerdos y reflexiones
© Copyright 2006 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Ilustres señoras y señores:
Para mí es un momento emocionante encontrarme de nuevo en la universidad y poder impartir una vez más una lección magistral. Me hace pensar en aquellos años en los que, tras un hermoso período en el Instituto Superior de Freising, inicié mi actividad como profesor en la universidad de Bonn. Era el año 1959, cuando la antigua universidad tenía todavía profesores ordinarios. No había auxiliares ni dactilógrafos para las cátedras, pero se daba en cambio un contacto muy directo con los alumnos y, sobre todo, entre los profesores. Nos reuníamos antes y después de las clases en las salas de profesores. Los contactos con los historiadores, los filósofos, los filólogos y naturalmente también entre las dos facultades teológicas eran muy estrechos. Una vez cada semestre había un dies academicus, en el que los profesores de todas las facultades se presentaban ante los estudiantes de la universidad, haciendo posible así una experiencia de Universitas —algo a lo que hace poco ha aludido también usted, Señor Rector—; es decir, la experiencia de que, no obstante todas las especializaciones que a veces nos impiden comunicarnos entre nosotros, formamos un todo y trabajamos en el todo de la única razón con sus diferentes dimensiones, colaborando así también en la común responsabilidad respecto al recto uso de la razón: era algo que se experimentaba vivamente. Además, la universidad se sentía orgullosa de sus dos facultades teológicas. Estaba claro que también ellas, interrogándose sobre la racionabilidad de la fe, realizan un trabajo que forma parte necesariamente del conjunto de la Universitas scientiarum, aunque no todos podían compartir la fe, a cuya correlación con la razón común se dedican los teólogos. Esta cohesión interior en el cosmos de la razón no se alteró ni siquiera cuando, en cierta ocasión, se supo que uno de los profesores había dicho que en nuestra universidad había algo extraño: dos facultades que se ocupaban de algo que no existía: Dios. En el conjunto de la universidad estaba fuera de discusión que, incluso ante un escepticismo tan radical, seguía siendo necesario y razonable interrogarse sobre Dios por medio de la razón y que esto debía hacerse en el contexto de la tradición de la fe cristiana.
Recordé todo esto recientemente cuando leí la parte, publicada por el profesor Theodore Khoury (Münster), del diálogo que el docto emperador bizantino Manuel II Paleólogo, tal vez en los cuarteles de invierno del año 1391 en Ankara, mantuvo con un persa culto sobre el cristianismo y el islam, y sobre la verdad de ambos. Probablemente fue el mismo emperador quien anotó ese diálogo durante el asedio de Constantinopla entre 1394 y 1402. Así se explica que sus razonamientos se recojan con mucho más detalle que las respuestas de su interlocutor persa. El diálogo abarca todo el ámbito de las estructuras de la fe contenidas en la Biblia y en el Corán, y se detiene sobre todo en la imagen de Dios y del hombre, pero también, cada vez más y necesariamente, en la relación entre las «tres Leyes», como se decía, o «tres órdenes de vida»: Antiguo Testamento, Nuevo Testamento y Corán. No quiero hablar ahora de ello en este discurso; sólo quisiera aludir a un aspecto —más bien marginal en la estructura de todo el diálogo— que, en el contexto del tema «fe y razón», me ha fascinado y que servirá como punto de partida para mis reflexiones sobre esta materia.
En el séptimo coloquio (διάλεξις, controversia), editado por el profesor Khoury, el emperador toca el tema de la yihad, la guerra santa. Seguramente el emperador sabía que en la sura 2, 256 está escrito: «Ninguna constricción en las cosas de fe». Según dice una parte de los expertos, es probablemente una de las suras del período inicial, en el que Mahoma mismo aún no tenía poder y estaba amenazado. Pero, naturalmente, el emperador conocía también las disposiciones, desarrolladas sucesivamente y fijadas en el Corán, acerca de la guerra santa. Sin detenerse en detalles, como la diferencia de trato entre los que poseen el «Libro» y los «incrédulos», con una brusquedad que nos sorprende, brusquedad que para nosotros resulta inaceptable, se dirige a su interlocutor llanamente con la pregunta central sobre la relación entre religión y violencia en general, diciendo: «Muéstrame también lo que Mahoma ha traído de nuevo, y encontrarás solamente cosas malas e inhumanas, como su disposición de difundir por medio de la espada la fe que predicaba». El emperador, después de pronunciarse de un modo tan duro, explica luego minuciosamente las razones por las cuales la difusión de la fe mediante la violencia es algo insensato. La violencia está en contraste con la naturaleza de Dios y la naturaleza del alma. «Dios no se complace con la sangre —dice—; no actuar según la razón (συν λόγω) es contrario a la naturaleza de Dios. La fe es fruto del alma, no del cuerpo. Por tanto, quien quiere llevar a otra persona a la fe necesita la capacidad de hablar bien y de razonar correctamente, y no recurrir a la violencia ni a las amenazas... Para convencer a un alma racional no hay que recurrir al propio brazo ni a instrumentos contundentes ni a ningún otro medio con el que se pueda amenazar de muerte a una persona».
En esta argumentación contra la conversión mediante la violencia, la afirmación decisiva es: no actuar según la razón es contrario a la naturaleza de Dios. El editor, Theodore Khoury, comenta: para el emperador, como bizantino educado en la filosofía griega, esta afirmación es evidente. En cambio, para la doctrina musulmana, Dios es absolutamente trascendente. Su voluntad no está vinculada a ninguna de nuestras categorías, ni siquiera a la de la racionabilidad. En este contexto, Khoury cita una obra del conocido islamista francés R. Arnaldez, quien observa que Ibn Hazm llega a decir que Dios no estaría vinculado ni siquiera por su propia palabra y que nada le obligaría a revelarnos la verdad. Si él quisiera, el hombre debería practicar incluso la idolatría. 
A este propósito se presenta un dilema en la comprensión de Dios, y por tanto en la realización concreta de la religión, que hoy nos plantea un desafío muy directo. La convicción de que actuar contra la razón está en contradicción con la naturaleza de Dios, ¿es solamente un pensamiento griego o vale siempre y por sí mismo? Pienso que en este punto se manifiesta la profunda consonancia entre lo griego en su mejor sentido y lo que es fe en Dios según la Biblia. Modificando el primer versículo del libro del Génesis, el primer versículo de toda la sagrada Escritura, san Juan comienza el prólogo de su Evangelio con las palabras: «En el principio ya existía el Logos». Ésta es exactamente la palabra que usa el emperador: Dios actúa «συν λόγω», con logos. Logos significa tanto razón como palabra, una razón que es creadora y capaz de comunicarse, pero precisamente como razón. De este modo, san Juan nos ha brindado la palabra conclusiva sobre el concepto bíblico de Dios, la palabra con la que todos los caminos de la fe bíblica, a menudo arduos y tortuosos, alcanzan su meta, encuentran su síntesis. En el principio existía el logos, y el logos es Dios, nos dice el evangelista. El encuentro entre el mensaje bíblico y el pensamiento griego no era una simple casualidad. La visión de san Pablo, ante quien se habían cerrado los caminos de Asia y que en sueños vio un macedonio que le suplicaba: «Ven a Macedonia y ayúdanos» (cf. Hch 16, 6-10), puede interpretarse como una expresión condensada de la necesidad intrínseca de un acercamiento entre la fe bíblica y el filosofar griego.
En realidad, este acercamiento había comenzado desde hacía mucho tiempo. Ya el nombre misterioso de Dios pronunciado en la zarza ardiente, que distingue a este Dios del conjunto de las divinidades con múltiples nombres, y que afirma de él simplemente «Yo soy», su ser, es una contraposición al mito, que tiene una estrecha analogía con el intento de Sócrates de batir y superar el mito mismo.  El proceso iniciado en la zarza llega a un nuevo desarrollo, dentro del Antiguo Testamento, durante el destierro, donde el Dios de Israel, entonces privado de la tierra y del culto, se proclama como el Dios del cielo y de la tierra, presentándose con una simple fórmula que prolonga aquellas palabras oídas desde la zarza: «Yo soy». Juntamente con este nuevo conocimiento de Dios se da una especie de Ilustración, que se expresa drásticamente con la burla de las divinidades que no son sino obra de las manos del hombre (cf. Sal 115). De este modo, a pesar de toda la dureza del desacuerdo con los soberanos helenísticos, que querían obtener con la fuerza la adecuación al estilo de vida griego y a su culto idolátrico, la fe bíblica, durante la época helenística, salía desde sí misma al encuentro de lo mejor del pensamiento griego, hasta llegar a un contacto recíproco que después tuvo lugar especialmente en la literatura sapiencial tardía. Hoy sabemos que la traducción griega del Antiguo Testamento —la de «los Setenta»—, que se hizo en Alejandría, es algo más que una simple traducción del texto hebreo (la cual tal vez podría juzgarse poco positivamente); en efecto, es en sí mismo un testimonio textual y un importante paso específico de la historia de la Revelación, en el cual se realizó este encuentro de un modo que tuvo un significado decisivo para el nacimiento y difusión del cristianismo. En el fondo, se trata del encuentro entre fe y razón, entre auténtica ilustración y religión. Partiendo verdaderamente de la íntima naturaleza de la fe cristiana y, al mismo tiempo, de la naturaleza del pensamiento griego ya fusionado con la fe, Manuel II podía decir: No actuar «con el logos» es contrario a la naturaleza de Dios.
Por honradez, sobre este punto es preciso señalar que, en la Baja Edad Media, hubo en la teología tendencias que rompen esta síntesis entre espíritu griego y espíritu cristiano. En contraste con el llamado intelectualismo agustiniano y tomista, Juan Duns Escoto introdujo un planteamiento voluntarista que, tras sucesivos desarrollos, llevó finalmente a afirmar que sólo conocemos de Dios la voluntas ordinata. Más allá de ésta existiría la libertad de Dios, en virtud de la cual habría podido crear y hacer incluso lo contrario de todo lo que efectivamente ha hecho. Aquí se perfilan posiciones que pueden acercarse a las de Ibn Hazm y podrían llevar incluso a una imagen de Dios-Arbitrio, que no está vinculado ni siquiera con la verdad y el bien. La trascendencia y la diversidad de Dios se acentúan de una manera tan exagerada, que incluso nuestra razón, nuestro sentido de la verdad y del bien, dejan de ser un auténtico espejo de Dios, cuyas posibilidades abismales permanecen para nosotros eternamente inaccesibles y escondidas tras sus decisiones efectivas. En contraste con esto, la fe de la Iglesia se ha atenido siempre a la convicción de que entre Dios y nosotros, entre su eterno Espíritu creador y nuestra razón creada, existe una verdadera analogía, en la que ciertamente —como dice el IV concilio de Letrán en 1215— las diferencias son infinitamente más grandes que las semejanzas, pero sin llegar por ello a abolir la analogía y su lenguaje. Dios no se hace más divino por el hecho de que lo alejemos de nosotros con un voluntarismo puro e impenetrable, sino que, más bien, el Dios verdaderamente divino es el Dios que se ha manifestado como logos y ha actuado y actúa como logos lleno de amor por nosotros. Ciertamente el amor, como dice san Pablo, «rebasa» el conocimiento y por eso es capaz de percibir más que el simple pensamiento (cf. Ef 3, 19); sin embargo, sigue siendo el amor del Dios-Logos, por lo cual el culto cristiano, como dice también san Pablo, es «λογικη λατρεία», un culto que concuerda con el Verbo eterno y con nuestra razón (cf. Rm 12, 1). 
Este acercamiento interior recíproco que se ha dado entre la fe bíblica y el planteamiento filosófico del pensamiento griego es un dato de importancia decisiva, no sólo desde el punto de vista de la historia de las religiones, sino también del de la historia universal, que también hoy hemos de considerar. Teniendo en cuenta este encuentro, no sorprende que el cristianismo, no obstante haber tenido su origen y un importante desarrollo en Oriente, haya encontrado finalmente su impronta decisiva en Europa. Y podemos decirlo también a la inversa: este encuentro, al que se une sucesivamente el patrimonio de Roma, creó a Europa y permanece como fundamento de lo que, con razón, se puede llamar Europa.
A la tesis según la cual el patrimonio griego, críticamente purificado, forma parte integrante de la fe cristiana se opone la pretensión de la deshelenización del cristianismo, la cual domina cada vez más las discusiones teológicas desde el inicio de la época moderna. Si se analiza con atención, en el programa de la deshelenización pueden observarse tres etapas que, aunque vinculadas entre sí, se distinguen claramente una de otra por sus motivaciones y sus objetivos.
La deshelenización surge inicialmente en conexión con los postulados de la Reforma del siglo XVI. Respecto a la tradición teológica escolástica, los reformadores se vieron ante una sistematización de la teología totalmente dominada por la filosofía, es decir, por una articulación de la fe basada en un pensamiento ajeno a la fe misma. Así, la fe ya no aparecía como palabra histórica viva, sino como un elemento insertado en la estructura de un sistema filosófico. El principio de la sola Scriptura, en cambio, busca la forma pura primordial de la fe, tal como se encuentra originariamente en la Palabra bíblica. La metafísica se presenta como un presupuesto que proviene de otra fuente y del cual se debe liberar a la fe para que ésta vuelva a ser totalmente ella misma. Kant, con su afirmación de que había tenido que renunciar a pensar para dejar espacio a la fe, desarrolló este programa con un radicalismo no previsto por los reformadores. De este modo, ancló la fe exclusivamente en la razón práctica, negándole el acceso a la realidad plena.
La teología liberal de los siglos XIX y XX supuso una segunda etapa en el programa de la deshelenización, cuyo representante más destacado es Adolf von Harnack. En mis años de estudiante y en los primeros de mi actividad académica, este programa ejercía un gran influjo también en la teología católica. Se utilizaba como punto de partida la distinción de Pascal entre el Dios de los filósofos y el Dios de Abraham, Isaac y Jacob. En mi discurso inaugural en Bonn, en 1959, traté de afrontar este asunto  y no quiero repetir aquí todo lo que dije en aquella ocasión. Sin embargo, me gustaría tratar de poner de relieve, al menos brevemente, la novedad que caracterizaba esta segunda etapa de deshelenización respecto a la primera. La idea central de Harnack era simplemente volver al hombre Jesús y a su mero mensaje, previo a todas las elucubraciones de la teología y, precisamente, también de las helenizaciones: este mensaje sin añadidos constituiría la verdadera culminación del desarrollo religioso de la humanidad. Jesús habría acabado con el culto sustituyéndolo con la moral. En definitiva, se presentaba a Jesús como padre de un mensaje moral humanitario. En el fondo, el objetivo de Harnack era hacer que el cristianismo estuviera en armonía con la razón moderna, librándolo precisamente de elementos aparentemente filosóficos y teológicos, como por ejemplo la fe en la divinidad de Cristo y en la trinidad de Dios. En este sentido, la exégesis histórico-crítica del Nuevo Testamento, según su punto di vista, vuelve a dar a la teología un puesto en el cosmos de la universidad: para Harnack, la teología es algo esencialmente histórico y, por tanto, estrictamente científico. Lo que investiga sobre Jesús mediante la crítica es, por decirlo así, expresión de la razón práctica y, por consiguiente, puede estar presente también en el conjunto de la universidad. En el trasfondo de todo esto subyace la autolimitación moderna de la razón, clásicamente expresada en las «críticas» de Kant, aunque radicalizada ulteriormente entre tanto por el pensamiento de las ciencias naturales. Este concepto moderno de la razón se basa, por decirlo brevemente, en una síntesis entre platonismo (cartesianismo) y empirismo, una síntesis corroborada por el éxito de la técnica. Por una parte, se presupone la estructura matemática de la materia, su racionalidad intrínseca, por decirlo así, que hace posible comprender cómo funciona y puede ser utilizada: este presupuesto de fondo es en cierto modo el elemento platónico en la comprensión moderna de la naturaleza. Por otra, se trata de la posibilidad de explotar la naturaleza para nuestros propósitos, en cuyo caso sólo la posibilidad de verificar la verdad o falsedad mediante la experimentación ofrece la certeza decisiva. El peso entre los dos polos puede ser mayor o menor entre ellos, según las circunstancias. Un pensador tan drásticamente positivista como J. Monod se declaró platónico convencido.
Esto implica dos orientaciones fundamentales decisivas para nuestra cuestión. Sólo el tipo de certeza que deriva de la sinergia entre matemática y método empírico puede considerarse científica. Todo lo que pretenda ser ciencia ha de atenerse a este criterio. También las ciencias humanas, como la historia, la psicología, la sociología y la filosofía, han tratado de aproximarse a este canon de valor científico. Además, es importante para nuestras reflexiones constatar que este método en cuanto tal excluye el problema de Dios, presentándolo como un problema a-científico o pre-científico. Pero de este modo nos encontramos ante una reducción del ámbito de la ciencia y de la razón que es preciso poner en discusión.
Volveré más tarde sobre este argumento. Por el momento basta tener presente que, desde esta perspectiva, cualquier intento de mantener la teología como disciplina «científica» dejaría del cristianismo únicamente un minúsculo fragmento. Pero hemos de añadir más: si la ciencia en su conjunto es sólo esto, entonces el hombre mismo sufriría una reducción, pues los interrogantes propiamente humanos, es decir, de dónde viene y a dónde va, los interrogantes de la religión y de la ética, no pueden encontrar lugar en el espacio de la razón común descrita por la «ciencia» entendida de este modo y tienen que desplazarse al ámbito de lo subjetivo. El sujeto, basándose en su experiencia, decide lo que considera admisible en el ámbito religioso y la «conciencia» subjetiva se convierte, en definitiva, en la única instancia ética. Pero, de este modo, el ethos y la religión pierden su poder de crear una comunidad y se convierten en un asunto totalmente personal. La situación que se crea es peligrosa para la humanidad, como se puede constatar en las patologías que amenazan a la religión y a la razón, patologías que irrumpen por necesidad cuando la razón se reduce hasta el punto de que ya no le interesan las cuestiones de la religión y de la ética. Lo que queda de esos intentos de construir una ética partiendo de las reglas de la evolución, de la psicología o de la sociología, es simplemente insuficiente.
Antes de llegar a las conclusiones a las que conduce todo este razonamiento, quiero referirme brevemente a la tercera etapa de la deshelenización, que se está difundiendo actualmente. Teniendo en cuenta el encuentro entre múltiples culturas, se suele decir hoy que la síntesis con el helenismo en la Iglesia antigua fue una primera inculturación, que no debería ser vinculante para las demás culturas. Éstas deberían tener derecho a volver atrás, hasta el momento previo a dicha inculturación, para descubrir el mensaje puro del Nuevo Testamento e inculturarlo de nuevo en sus ambientes respectivos. Esta tesis no es del todo falsa, pero sí rudimentaria e imprecisa. En efecto, el Nuevo Testamento fue escrito en griego e implica el contacto con el espíritu griego, un contacto que había madurado en el desarrollo precedente del Antiguo Testamento. Ciertamente, en el proceso de formación de la Iglesia antigua hay elementos que no deben integrarse en todas las culturas. Sin embargo, las opciones fundamentales que atañen precisamente a la relación entre la fe y la búsqueda de la razón humana forman parte de la fe misma, y son un desarrollo acorde con su propia naturaleza.
Llego así a la conclusión. Este intento de crítica de la razón moderna desde su interior, expuesto sólo a grandes rasgos, no comporta de manera alguna la opinión de que hay que regresar al período anterior a la Ilustración, rechazando de plano las convicciones de la época moderna. Se debe reconocer sin reservas lo que tiene de positivo el desarrollo moderno del espíritu: todos nos sentimos agradecidos por las maravillosas posibilidades que ha abierto al hombre y por los progresos que se han logrado en la humanidad. Por lo demás, la ética de la investigación científica —como ha aludido usted, Señor Rector Magnífico—, debe implicar una voluntad de obediencia a la verdad y, por tanto, expresar una actitud que forma parte de los rasgos esenciales del espíritu cristiano. La intención no es retroceder o hacer una crítica negativa, sino ampliar nuestro concepto de razón y de su uso. Porque, a la vez que nos alegramos por las nuevas posibilidades abiertas a la humanidad, vemos también los peligros que surgen de estas posibilidades y debemos preguntarnos cómo podemos evitarlos. Sólo lo lograremos si la razón y la fe se reencuentran de un modo nuevo, si superamos la limitación que la razón se impone a sí misma de reducirse a lo que se puede verificar con la experimentación, y le volvemos a abrir sus horizonte en toda su amplitud. En este sentido, la teología, no sólo como disciplina histórica y ciencia humana, sino como teología auténtica, es decir, como ciencia que se interroga sobre la razón de la fe, debe encontrar espacio en la universidad y en el amplio diálogo de las ciencias.
Sólo así seremos capaces de entablar un auténtico diálogo entre las culturas y las religiones, del cual tenemos urgente necesidad. En el mundo occidental está muy difundida la opinión según la cual sólo la razón positivista y las formas de la filosofía derivadas de ella son universales. Pero las culturas profundamente religiosas del mundo consideran que precisamente esta exclusión de lo divino de la universalidad de la razón constituye un ataque a sus convicciones más íntimas. Una razón que sea sorda a lo divino y relegue la religión al ámbito de las subculturas, es incapaz de entrar en el diálogo de las culturas. Con todo, como he tratado de demostrar, la razón moderna propia de las ciencias naturales, con su elemento platónico intrínseco, conlleva un interrogante que va más allá de sí misma y que trasciende las posibilidades de su método. La razón científica moderna ha de aceptar simplemente la estructura racional de la materia y la correspondencia entre nuestro espíritu y las estructuras racionales que actúan en la naturaleza como un dato de hecho, en el cual se basa su método. Ahora bien, la pregunta sobre el por qué existe este dato de hecho, la deben plantear las ciencias naturales a otros ámbitos más amplios y altos del pensamiento, como son la filosofía y la teología. Para la filosofía y, de modo diferente, para la teología, escuchar las grandes experiencias y convicciones de las tradiciones religiosas de la humanidad, especialmente las de la fe cristiana, constituye una fuente de conocimiento; oponerse a ella sería una grave limitación de nuestra escucha y de nuestra respuesta. Aquí me vienen a la mente unas palabras que Sócrates dijo a Fedón. En los diálogos anteriores se habían expuesto muchas opiniones filosóficas erróneas; y entonces Sócrates dice: «Sería fácilmente comprensible que alguien, a quien le molestaran todas estas opiniones erróneas, desdeñara durante el resto de su vida y se burlara de toda conversación sobre el ser; pero de esta forma renunciaría a la verdad de la existencia y sufriría una gran pérdida».  Occidente, desde hace mucho, está amenazado por esta aversión a los interrogantes fundamentales de su razón, y así sólo puede sufrir una gran pérdida. La valentía para abrirse a la amplitud de la razón, y no la negación de su grandeza, es el programa con el que una teología comprometida en la reflexión sobre la fe bíblica entra en el debate de nuestro tiempo. «No actuar según la razón, no actuar con el logos es contrario a la naturaleza de Dios», dijo Manuel II partiendo de su imagen cristiana de Dios, respondiendo a su interlocutor persa. En el diálogo de las culturas invitamos a nuestros interlocutores a este gran logos, a esta amplitud de la razón. Redescubrirla constantemente por nosotros mismos es la gran tarea de la universidad.
 De los 26 coloquios (διάλεξις. Khoury traduce «controversia») del diálogo («Entretien»), Th. Khoury ha publicado la 7ª «controversia» con notas y una amplia introducción sobre el origen del texto, la tradición manuscrita y la estructura del diálogo, junto con breves resúmenes de las «controversias» no editadas; el texto griego va acompañado de una traducción francesa: Manuel II Paleólogo, Entretiens avec un Musulman. 7e controverse, Sources chrétiennesn. 115, París 1966. Mientras tanto, Karl Förstel ha publicado en el Corpus Islamico-Christianum (Series Graeca. Redacción de A. Th. Khoury – R. Glei) una edición comentada greco-alemana del texto: Manuel II. Palaiologus, Dialoge mit einem Muslim, 3 vols., Würzburg-Altenberge 1993-1996. Ya en 1966 E. Trapp había publicado el texto griego con una introducción como volumen II de los Wiener byzantinische Studien. Citaré a continuación según Khoury.
 Sobre el origen y la redacción del diálogo puede consultarse Khoury, pp. 22-29; amplios comentarios a este respecto pueden verse también en las ediciones de Förstel y Trapp.
 Controversia VII 2c: Khoury, pp. 142-143; Förstel, vol. I, VII. Dialog 1.5, pp. 240-241. Lamentablemente, esta cita ha sido considerada en el mundo musulmán como expresión de mi posición personal, suscitando así una comprensible indignación. Espero que el lector de mi texto comprenda inmediatamente que esta frase no expresa mi valoración personal con respecto al Corán, hacia el cual siento el respeto que se debe al libro sagrado de una gran religión. Al citar el texto del emperador Manuel II sólo quería poner de relieve la relación esencial que existe entre la fe y la razón. En este punto estoy de acuerdo con Manuel II, pero sin hacer mía su polémica.
 Controversia VII 3 b-c: Khoury, pp. 144-145; Förstel vol. I, VII. Dialog 1.6, pp. 240-243.
 Solamente por esta afirmación cité el diálogo entre Manuel II y su interlocutor persa. Ella nos ofrece el tema de mis reflexiones sucesivas.
 Cf. Khoury, o.c., p. 144, nota 1.
 R. Arnaldez, Grammaire et théologie chez Ibn Hazm de Cordoue, París 1956, p. 13; cf. Khoury, p. 144. En el desarrollo ulterior de mi discurso se pondrá de manifiesto cómo en la teología de la Baja Edad Media existen posiciones semejantes.
 Para la interpretación ampliamente discutida del episodio de la zarza que ardía sin consumirse, quisiera remitir a mi libro Einführung in das Christentum, Munich 1968, pp. 84-102. Creo que las afirmaciones que hago en ese libro, no obstante del desarrollo ulterior de la discusión, siguen siendo válidas.
 Cf. A. Schenker, “L'Écriture sainte subsiste en plusieurs formes canoniques simultanées”, en: L'interpretazione della Bibbia nella Chiesa. Atti del Simposio promosso dalla Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede, Ciudad del Vaticano 2001, pp. 178-186.
 Este tema lo he tratado más detalladamente en mi libro Der Geist der Liturgie. Eine Einführung, Friburgo 2000, pp. 38-42.
 De la abundante bibliografía sobre el tema de la deshelenización, quisiera mencionar especialmente: A. Grillmeier, “Hellenisierung – Judaisierung des Christentums als Deuteprinzipien der Geschichte des kirchlichen Dogmas”, en: Id., Mit ihm und in ihm. Christologische Forschungen und Perspecktiven, Friburgo 1975, pp. 423-488.
 Publicada y comentada de nuevo por Heino Sonnemanns (ed.): Joseph Ratzinger-Benedikt XVI, Der Gott des Glaubens und der Gott der Philosophen. Ein Beitrag zum Problem der theologia naturalis, Johannes-Verlag Leutesdorf, 2. ergänzte Auflage 2005.
 90 c-d. Para este texto se puede ver también R. Guardini, Der Tod des Sokrates, Maguncia-Paderborn 19875, pp. 218-221.
© Copyright 2006 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Universidad: la crisis de su sentido de misión
La Presidenta de la Universidad de Harvard (en la foto), Drew Gilpin Faust, presenta en el New York Times una visión de la actual encrucijada de la educación superior en los Estados Unidos, su papel en el "sueño americano" y las tensiones entre su sentido utilitario y la narrativa económica que la fundamenta, por una parte, y su misión humanista que históricamente ha sido parte de su misión, por la otra.
Ver el texto completo a continuación.
The University’s Crisis of Purpose
By DREW GILPIN FAUST, The New York Times, September 6, 2009
The world economic crisis and the election of Barack Obama will change the future of higher education. Even as universities, both public and private, face unanticipated financial constraints, the president has called on them to assist in solving problems from health care delivery to climate change to economic recovery.
American universities have long struggled to meet almost irreconcilable demands: to be practical as well as transcendent; to assist immediate national needs and to pursue knowledge for its own sake; to both add value and question values. And in the past decade and a half, such conflicting and unbounded expectations have yielded a wave of criticism on issues ranging from the cost of college to universities’ intellectual quality to their supposed decline into unthinking political correctness. A steady stream of books — among them “Declining by Degrees: Higher Education at Risk” (also a PBS special), edited by Richard H. Hersh and John Merrow; Anthony T. Kronman’s “Education’s End: Why Our Colleges and Universities Have Given Up on the Meaning of Life”; and Dinesh D’Souza’s “Illiberal Education: The Politics of Race and Sex on Campus” — have delineated what various authors have seen as the failings of higher education.
At the same time, American colleges and universities have remained the envy of the world. A 2005 international ranking included 17 American educational institutions in the top 20, and a recent survey of American citizens revealed that 93 percent of respondents considered our universities one of the country’s “most valuable resources.”
Such a widespread perception of the value of universities derives in no small part from very pragmatic realities: a college education yields significant rewards. The median earnings for individuals with a B.A. are 74 percent higher than for workers who possess only a high school diploma.
In some respects, this is not new. Education has been central to the American Dream since the time of the nation’s founding. But in the years since World War II, it was higher education, not just instruction at the elementary or high school levels, that emerged as necessary for a technologically skilled work force as well as fundamental to cherished values of opportunity. As late as the 1920s, enrollments in the United States stood below 5 percent of the college-age population. They rose to about 15 percent by 1949, in part as a result of the G.I. Bill. They have now reached nearly 60 percent. The United States has pioneered a new postwar era of mass college attendance that has become global in reach.
But today, for all its importance to individual and social prosperity, higher education threatens to become less broadly available. By the end of the 20th century, as Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz document in “The Race Between Education and Technology,” the rate of increase in educational attainment had significantly slowed, and the United States had fallen behind a number of other nations in the percentage of its youth attending college. Goldin and Katz demonstrate how this slowdown is creating a work force with inadequate technological abilities, as well as contributing to rising levels of American inequality.
Escalating college costs have played a significant role in this slowdown, even as universities have substantially expanded their programs of financial aid. So, too, have declining levels of government support.
After World War II, the country witnessed the establishment of a new partnership between Washington and the nation’s institutions of higher learning, with the federal government investing in universities as the primary locus for the nation’s scientific research. This model now faces significant challenges. Steep federal deficits will combine with diminished university resources to intensify what a 2007 report by the National Academies declared to be a “gathering storm,” one that threatened the future of scientific education and research in America. The Obama administration has set a goal of devoting more than 3 percent of gross domestic product to research. One hopes this highly ambitious aspiration can become a reality.
The economic downturn has had what is perhaps an even more worrisome impact. It has reinforced America’s deep-seated notion that a college degree serves largely instrumental purposes. The federal government’s first effort to support higher education, the Morrill Act of 1862, which established land grant colleges, was intended to advance the “practical education of the industrial classes.” A Department of Education report from 2006, “A Test of Leadership: Charting the Future of Higher Education,” concentrated on creating a competitive American work force and advancing “our collective prosperity.” But even as we as a nation have embraced education as critical to economic growth and opportunity, we should remember that colleges and universities are about a great deal more than measurable utility. Unlike perhaps any other institutions in the world, they embrace the long view and nurture the kind of critical perspectives that look far beyond the present.
Higher education is not about results in the next quarter but about discoveries that may take — and last — decades or even centuries. Neither the abiding questions of humanistic inquiry nor the winding path of scientific research that leads ultimately to innovation and discovery can be neatly fitted within a predictable budget and timetable.
In an assessment of the condition of higher education in the Anglo-American world, “Multiversities, Ideas, and Democracy,” George Fallis, a former dean at York University in Toronto, deplores the growing dominance of economic justifications for universities. They conflict, he argues, “with other parts of the multiversity’s mission, with . . . narratives of liberal learning, disinterested scholarship and social citizenship.” University leaders, he observes, have embraced a market model of university purpose to justify themselves to the society that supports them with philanthropy and tax dollars. Higher education, Fallis insists, has the responsibility to serve not just as a source of economic growth, but as society’s critic and conscience.
Universities are meant to be producers not just of knowledge but also of (often inconvenient) doubt. They are creative and unruly places, homes to a polyphony of voices. But at this moment in our history, universities might well ask if they have in fact done enough to raise the deep and unsettling questions necessary to any society.
As the world indulged in a bubble of false prosperity and excessive materialism, should universities — in their research, teaching and writing — have made greater efforts to expose the patterns of risk and denial? Should universities have presented a firmer counterweight to economic irresponsibility? Have universities become too captive to the immediate and worldly purposes they serve? Has the market model become the fundamental and defining identity of higher education?
Since the 1970s there has been a steep decline in the percentage of students majoring in the liberal arts and sciences, and an accompanying increase in preprofessional undergraduate degrees. Business is now by far the most popular undergraduate major, with twice as many bachelor’s degrees awarded in this area than in any other field of study. In the era of economic constraint before us, the pressure toward vocational pursuits is likely only to intensify.
As a nation, we need to ask more than this from our universities. Higher learning can offer individuals and societies a depth and breadth of vision absent from the inevitably myopic present. Human beings need meaning, understanding and perspective as well as jobs. The question should not be whether we can afford to believe in such purposes in these times, but whether we can afford not to.
Drew Gilpin Faust is president of Harvard. She is the author, most recently, of “This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War.”
Seminario Internacional sobre Educación y Trabajo
Los días 1 y 2 de octubre del año en curso, el IIPE - UNESCO Sede Regional Buenos Aires organizará el Seminario Internacional sobre "EDUCACIÓN Y TRABAJO. Interrelaciones y Políticas".
La actividad se llevará a cabo en el Auditorio de la Fundación OSDE, Av. Leandro N. Alem 1067 - 2do subsuelo. El acceso es libre y gratuito y contará con la asistencia de los siguientes conferencistas:
María Rosa Almandoz, Argentina
Mariano Fernández Enguita, España
Ricardo Ferraro, Argentina
Gustavo Gándara, Argentina
Víctor Manuel Gómez, Colombia
Claudia Jacinto, Argentina
Guillermo Labarca, Chile
Getúlio Marques Ferreira, Brasil
Philippe Méhaut, Francia
Marta Novick, Argentina
Tomás Valdés Cifuentes, España
Daniel Filmus - María Antonia Gallart - Agustín Salvia - Emilio Tenti Fanfani
Ver la agenda de actividades aquí 65 KB
Septiembre 09, 2009
Panorama de la Educación 2009: Indicadores de la OCDE
Acaba de aparecer Education at a Glance 2009, la principal publicación de evaluación del sector educacional de los países desarrollados y algunos países en vías de desarrollo, que fue dada a conocer hoy por la OECD.
A continuación la presentación en el sito de la OECD.
Bajar introducción extensa del documento en español aquí 285 KB
Bajar documento OECD con las principales conclusiones en inglés aquí 162 KB
Bajar Education at Glance completo en versión PDF (inglés) aquí 4.42 MB
Invest in education to beat recession, boost earnings
Growing advantages for the better educated and likely continuing high levels of unemployment as economies move out of recession will provide more and more young people with strong incentives to stay on in education. Governments need to take account of this in planning education policies, according to the latest edition of the OECD’s annual Education at a Glance.
“As we emerge from the global economic crisis, demand for university education will be higher than ever,” OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said. “To the extent that institutions are able to respond, investments in human capital will contribute to recovery.”
Going to university pays dividends in later life through higher salaries, better health and less vulnerability to unemployment, OECD analysis shows. In most countries, the difference in pay levels between people who have degrees and people who don’t is continuing to grow.
The 2009 edition of Education at a Glance calculates the returns on investment in education by balancing the costs of education and of foregone earnings against prospects for increased future earnings as a result of higher educational attainment. (See Table A8.2)
According to these calculations:
A male student who completes a university degree can look forward to a gross earnings premium over his lifetime of more than USD 186 000 on average across OECD countries, compared with someone who only completes secondary school.
For a woman the figure is lower, reflecting the disparity in most countries between male and female earnings, but it still averages out at just over USD 134,000.
The highest earnings advantages are in the U.S., where a male graduate can expect to earn more than USD 367,000 extra over his lifetime and a female graduate more than USD 229,000.
Italy comes second for men, with an average lifetime earnings advantage of just over USD 322,000, and Portugal for women, with an average advantage of nearly USD 220,000.
And the benefits don’t stop there.
Government budgets and the overall economy also reap an advantage from higher numbers of graduates, the OECD figures show.
The average net public return across OECD countries from providing a male student with a university education, after factoring in all the direct and indirect costs, is almost USD 52,000, nearly twice the average amount of money originally invested. (See Table A8.4)
For female students, the average net public return is lower because of their lower subsequent earnings. But overall the figures provide a powerful incentive to expand higher education in most countries through both public and private financing.
Education at a Glance provides a rich, comparable and up-to-date array of indicators on the performance of education systems. The indicators look at who participates in education, what is spent on it, how education systems operate and what results are achieved.
Among other points, the 2009 edition of Education at a Glance reveals that:
The number of people with university degrees or other tertiary qualifications has risen on average in OECD countries by 4.5% each year between 1998 and 2006. In Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey, the increase has been 7% per year or more.
In 2007, one in three people in OECD countries aged between 25 and 34 had a tertiary level qualification. In Canada, Japan and Korea, the ratio was one in two.
In most countries, the number of people who leave school at the minimum leaving age is falling, but in Germany, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Turkey and the United States their numbers continue to rise.
Early childhood education is growing fast, and nowhere more than in Sweden. On average in OECD countries, enrolments have risen from 40% of 3-4 year-olds in 1998 to 71% in 2007; and in Turkey, Mexico, Korea, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and Germany enrolment in early childhood education more than doubled.
Young people who leave school at the minimum leaving age without a job are likely to spend a long time out of work. In most countries over half of low-qualified unemployed 25-34 year-olds are long-term unemployed.
People who complete a high-school education tend to enjoy better health than those who quit at the minimum leaving age. And people with university degrees are more interested in politics and more trusting of other people.
Watch interview with Andreas Schleicher, Head of the Indicators and Analysis Division.
Further information on Education at a Glance 2009, including country key findings, multilingual summaries, a media briefing and key data representing main stories, is available at www.oecd.org/edu/eag2009.
Septiembre 08, 2009
Formación General: nuevo programa en la Universidad de Harvard
A partir del presente año académico, recién inagurado, la Universidad de Harvard ofrece su nuevo programa de educación general, tras una revisión que se completó el año 2007 y la aprobación de un nuevo currículo de cursos que ahora empiezan a ofrecerse.
Bajar el Report aquí 1,65 MB
Este tema --como señalamos en un anterior posting sobre el tema de la formación general-- interesa especialmente en chile a aquellas instituciones y académicos que buscan implementar, en nuestro sistema, un concepto de educación general universitaria, por distintas que sean las condiciones allá y acá.
Preface (leer más abajo)
I. The Reason for General Education 1
II. The Goals of the General Education Curriculum 5
III. The General Education Curriculum 7
A. Requirements 7
B. Pedagogy 9
C. Subject Area Descriptions 10
1. Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding 10
2. Culture and Belief 11
3. Empirical Reasoning 12
4. Ethical Reasoning 13
5. Science of Living Systems 14
6. Science of the Physical Universe 15
7. Societies of the World 16
8. The United States in the World 17
IV. Activity-Based Learning: An Initiative 19
V. Implementation 21
A. Course Development 21
B. Administration 21
C. Graduate Teaching 23
The Task Force on General Education 27
This report describes a new program of general education at Harvard College—the set of requirements, outside the concentration, that all students must meet before they can receive a Harvard degree. We believe that the program complements ongoing initiatives in undergraduate education: changes in the concentrations and the creation of secondary fields; the mounting of new courses in the sciences and humanities; efforts to renew and reward faculty commitments to teaching and pedagogical innovation; and the many opportunities Harvard offers for extracurricular experiences that can be linked to learning in the formal curriculum. The ambition of the program of general education we describe in this report is to enable undergraduates to put all the learning they are doing at Harvard, outside as well as inside the classroom, in the context of the people they will be and the lives they will lead after college.
In the pages that follow, we propose:
• a new rationale for general education at Harvard;
• eight subject areas for courses in general education;
• new guidelines for determining which courses may be used for general education, allowing students more choice in finding ways to satisfy their requirements;
• wider adoption of innovative pedagogical techniques in general education courses and throughout the curriculum;
• an activity-based learning initiative to explore procedures for linking extracurricular activities to the classroom experience.
General education is one distinct component of a liberal education, and it is effective only when the other components of the undergraduate experience are working in concert with it. In conjunction with our proposals for general education, we therefore enthusiastically support ongoing efforts by our Faculty to promote:
• a fresh examination of the structure and requirements of the concentrations;
• a broader commitment by concentrations to instruction in written and oral communication;
• the development of more departmental electives that meet the needs and interests of non-concentrators;
• the further development of interdisciplinary and divisional courses and the creation of nimble administrative structures to support them;
• opportunities for increased contact between undergraduates and ladder faculty.
Our Task Force has had the advantage of looking back over the history of the Harvard College Curricular Review; we have also observed the many fresh initiatives in teaching and learning that are currently underway in Harvard College. The Faculty is making great progress in revitalizing the undergraduate experience. We have undertaken our work in a spirit of partnership with these enterprises, and we hope that our proposals will make some contribution toward bringing all of this good work into focus.
Universidad de Harcard, Formación General
Universidad de Harvard, Cursos de Formación General
Universidad de Harvard, Enseñanza en la Formación General
Septiembre 07, 2009
Qué hacer con los profesores incompetentes
Estupendo reportaje de micro-investigación publicado en la revista The New Yorker del 31 agosto 2009 sobre las dificultades que enfrentean las autoridades en el sistema escolar de Nueva York para remover profesores incompetentes, qué hacer con ellos, cómo reacciona el sindicato de maestros, qué se puedo o no negociar y qué lecciones pueden obtenerse para el tratamiento de este espinudo asunto.
Ver texto a continuación.
Annals of Education
The Rubber Room: The battle over New York City’s worst teachers
by Steven Brill, The New Yorker, August 31, 2009
In a windowless room in a shabby office building at Seventh Avenue and Twenty-eighth Street, in Manhattan, a poster is taped to a wall, whose message could easily be the mission statement for a day-care center: “Children are fragile. Handle with care.” It’s a June morning, and there are fifteen people in the room, four of them fast asleep, their heads lying on a card table. Three are playing a board game. Most of the others stand around chatting. Two are arguing over one of the folding chairs. But there are no children here. The inhabitants are all New York City schoolteachers who have been sent to what is officially called a Temporary Reassignment Center but which everyone calls the Rubber Room.
These fifteen teachers, along with about six hundred others, in six larger Rubber Rooms in the city’s five boroughs, have been accused of misconduct, such as hitting or molesting a student, or, in some cases, of incompetence, in a system that rarely calls anyone incompetent.
The teachers have been in the Rubber Room for an average of about three years, doing the same thing every day—which is pretty much nothing at all. Watched over by two private security guards and two city Department of Education supervisors, they punch a time clock for the same hours that they would have kept at school—typically, eight-fifteen to three-fifteen. Like all teachers, they have the summer off. The city’s contract with their union, the United Federation of Teachers, requires that charges against them be heard by an arbitrator, and until the charges are resolved—the process is often endless—they will continue to draw their salaries and accrue pensions and other benefits.
“You can never appreciate how irrational the system is until you’ve lived with it,” says Joel Klein, the city’s schools chancellor, who was appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg seven years ago.
Neither the Mayor nor the chancellor is popular in the Rubber Room. “Before Bloomberg and Klein took over, there was no such thing as incompetence,” Brandi Scheiner, standing just under the Manhattan Rubber Room’s “Handle with Care” poster, said recently. Scheiner, who is fifty-six, talks with a raspy Queens accent. Suspended with pay from her job as an elementary-school teacher, she earns more than a hundred thousand dollars a year, and she is, she said, “entitled to every penny of it.” She has been in the Rubber Room for two years. Like most others I encountered there, Scheiner said that she got into teaching because she “loves children.”
“Before Bloomberg and Klein, everyone knew that an incompetent teacher would realize it and leave on their own,” Scheiner said. “There was no need to push anyone out.” Like ninety-seven per cent of all teachers in the pre-Bloomberg days, she was given tenure after her third year of teaching, and then, like ninety-nine per cent of all teachers before 2002, she received a satisfactory rating each year.
“But they brought in some new young principal from their so-called Leadership Academy,” Scheiner said. She was referring to a facility opened by Klein in 2003, where educators and business leaders, such as Jack Welch, the former chief executive of General Electric, hold classes for prospective principals. “This new principal set me up, because I was a whistle-blower,” Scheiner said. “She gave me an unsatisfactory rating two years in a row.Then she trumped up charges against me and sent me to the Rubber Room. So I’m fighting, and waiting it out.”
The United Federation of Teachers, the U.F.T., was founded in 1960. Before that, teachers endured meagre salaries, tyrannical principals, witch hunts for Communists, and gender discrimination against a mostly female workforce (at one point, there was a rule requiring any woman who got pregnant to take a two-year unpaid leave). Drawing its members from a number of smaller and ineffective teachers’ groups, the U.F.T. coalesced into a tough trade union that used strikes and political organizing to fight back. By the time Bloomberg took office, forty-two years later, many education reformers believed that the U.F.T. and its political allies had gained so much clout that it had become impossible for the city’s Board of Education, which already shared a lot of power with local boards, to maintain effective school oversight. In 2002, with the city’s public schools clearly failing, the State Legislature granted control of a new Department of Education to the new mayor, who had become a billionaire by building an immense media company, Bloomberg L.P., that is renowned for firing employees at will and not giving contracts even to senior executives.
Bloomberg quickly hired Klein, who, as an Assistant Attorney General in the Clinton Administration, was the lead prosecutor in a major antitrust case against Microsoft. When Klein was twenty-three, he took a year’s leave of absence from Harvard Law School to study education and teach math to sixth graders at an elementary school in Queens, where he grew up. Like Bloomberg, Klein came from a world far removed from the borough-centric politics and bureaucracy of the old board.
Test scores and graduation rates have improved since Bloomberg and Klein took over, but when the law giving the mayor control expired, on July 1st, some Democrats in the State Senate balked at renewing it, complaining that it gave the mayor “dictatorial” power, as Bill Perkins, a state senator from Manhattan, put it. Nevertheless, by August the senators had relented and voted to renew mayoral control.
One thing that the legislature did not change in 2002 was tenure, which was introduced in New York in 1917, as a good-government reform to protect teachers from the vagaries of political patronage. Tenure guarantees teachers with more than three years’ seniority a job for life, unless, like those in the Rubber Room, they are charged with an offense and lose in the arduous arbitration hearing.
In Klein’s view, tenure is “ridiculous.” “You cannot run a school system that way,” he says. “The three principles that govern our system are lockstep compensation, seniority, and tenure. All three are not right for our children.”
Brandi Scheiner says that her case is likely to be heard next year. By then, she will have twenty-four years’ seniority, which entitles her to a pension of nearly half her salary—that is, her salary at the time of retirement—for life, even if she is found incompetent and dismissed. Because two per cent of her salary is added to her pension for each year of seniority, a three-year stay in the Rubber Room will cost not only three hundred thousand dollars in salary but at least six thousand dollars a year in additional lifetime pension benefits.
Scheiner worked at P.S. 40, an elementary school near Manhattan’s Stuyvesant Town. The write-ups on Web sites that track New York’s schools suggest that P.S. 40 is one of the city’s best. I spoke with five P.S. 40 parents, who said that Scheiner would have had nothing to “blow the whistle” about, because, as one put it, the principal, Susan Felder, is “spectacular.”
Scheiner refused to allow me access to the complete file related to her incompetence proceeding, which would detail the charges against her and any responses she might have filed, saying only that “they charged me with incompetence—boilerplate stuff.” (Nor could Felder comment, because Scheiner had insisted that her file be kept sealed.) But Scheiner did say that she and several of her colleagues in the Rubber Room had brought a “really interesting” class-action suit against the city for violations of their due-process and First Amendment rights as whistle-blowers. She said that the suit was pending, and that she would be vindicated. Actually, she filed three suits, two of which had long since been dismissed. And, a month and a day before she mentioned it to me, the magistrate handling the third case—in a move typically reserved for the most frivolous litigation—had ordered Scheiner and her co-plaintiffs to pay ten thousand dollars to the city in court costs, because that filing was so much like the second case. This third case is pending, though it no longer has a lawyer, because the one who brought these cases has since been disbarred, for allegedly lying to a court and allegedly stealing from Holocaust-survivor clients in unrelated cases.
It takes between two and five years for cases to be heard by an arbitrator, and, like Scheiner, most teachers in the Rubber Rooms wait out the time, maintaining their innocence. One of Scheiner’s Rubber Room colleagues pointed to a man whose head was resting on the table, beside an alarm clock and four prescription-pill bottles. “Look at him,” she said. “He should be in a hospital, not this place. We talk about human rights in China. What about human rights right here in the Rubber Room?” Seven of the fifteen Rubber Room teachers with whom I spoke compared their plight to that of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay or political dissidents in China or Iran.
It’s a theme that the U.F.T. has embraced. The union’s Web site has a section that features stories highlighting the injustice of the Rubber Rooms. One, which begins “Bravo!,” is about a woman I’ll call Patricia Adams, whose return to her classroom, at a high school in Manhattan, last year is reported as a vindication. The account quotes a speech that Adams made to union delegates; according to the Web site, she received a standing ovation as she declared, “My case should never have been brought to a hearing.” The Web site account continues, “Though she believes she was the victim of an effort to move senior teachers out of the system, the due process tenure system worked in her case.”
On November 23, 2005, according to a report prepared by the Education Department’s Special Commissioner of Investigation, Adams was found “in an unconscious state” in her classroom. “There were 34 students present in [Adams’s] classroom,” the report said. When the principal “attempted to awaken [Adams], he was unable to.” When a teacher “stood next to [Adams], he detected a smell of alcohol emanating from her.”
Adams’s return to teaching, more than two years later, had come about because she and the Department of Education had signed a sealed agreement whereby she would teach for one more semester, then be assigned to non-teaching duties in a school office, if she hadn’t found a teaching position elsewhere. The agreement also required that she “submit to random alcohol testing” and be fired if she again tested positive. In February, 2009, Adams passed out in the office where she had to report every day. A drug-and-alcohol-testing-services technician called to the scene wrote in his report that she was unable even to “blow into breathalyzer,” and that her water bottle contained alcohol. As the stipulation required, she was fired.
Randi Weingarten, the president of the U.F.T. until this month (she is now the president of the union’s national parent organization), said in July that the Web site “should have been updated,” adding, “Mea culpa.” The Web site’s story saying that Adams believed she was the “victim of an effort to move senior teachers out” was still there as of mid-August. Ron Davis, a spokesman for the U.F.T., told me that he was unable to contact Adams, after what he said were repeated attempts, to ask if she would be available for comment.
In late August, I reached Adams, and she told me that no one from the union had tried to contact her for me, and that she was “shocked” by the account of her story on the U.F.T. Web site. “My case had nothing to do with seniority,” she said. “It was about a medical issue, and I sabotaged the whole thing by relapsing.” Adams, whose case was handled by a union lawyer, said that, last year, when a U.F.T. newsletter described her as the victim of a seniority purge, she was embarrassed and demanded that the union correct it. She added, “But I never knew about this Web-site article, and certainly never authorized it. The union has its own agenda.” The next morning, Adams told me she had insisted that the union remove the article immediately; it was removed later that day. Adams, who says that she is now sober and starting a school for recovering teen-age substance abusers, asked that her real name not be used.
The stated rationale for the reassignment centers is unassailable: Get these people away from children, even if tenure rules require that they continue to be paid. Most urban school systems faced with tenure constraints follow the same logic. Los Angeles and San Francisco pay suspended teachers to answer phones, work in warehouses, or just stay home; in Chicago they do clerical work. But the policies implemented by other cities are on a far smaller scale—both because they have fewer teachers and because they have not been as aggressive as Klein and Bloomberg in trying to root out the worst teachers.
It seems obvious that by making the Rubber Rooms as boring and as unpleasant as possible Klein was trying to get bad teachers to quit rather than milk the long hearing process—and some do, although the city does not keep records of that.
“They’re in the Rubber Room because they have an entitlement to stay on the payroll,” says Dan Weisberg, the general counsel and vice-president for policy of a Brooklyn-based national education-reform group called the New Teacher Project. “It’s a job. It’s an economic decision on their part. That’s O.K. But don’t complain.” Until January, Weisberg ran the Department of Education’s labor-relations office, where, in 2007, he set up the Teacher Performance Unit, or T.P.U.—an élite group of lawyers recruited to litigate teacher-incompetence cases for the city.
“When we announced the T.P.U., the U.F.T. called a candlelight vigil”—at City Hall—“to protest what they called the Gotcha Squad,” says Chris Cerf, a deputy chancellor, who, like Klein and Weisberg, is an Ivy League-educated lawyer. “You would think candlelight vigils would be reserved for Gandhi or something like that, but you could hear this rally all the way over the Brooklyn Bridge.”
Randi Weingarten is unapologetic. “We believed that the way this Gotcha Squad was portrayed in the press by the city unfairly maligned all the teachers in the system,” she says. Weingarten, who was a lawyer before becoming a teacher and a U.F.T. officer, is a smart, charming political pro. She always tries to link the welfare of teachers to the welfare of those they teach—as in “what’s good for teachers is good for the children.”
Cerf’s response is that “this is not about teachers; it is about children.” He says, “We all agree with the idea that it is better that ten guilty men go free than that one innocent person be imprisoned. But by laying that on to a process of disciplining teachers you put the risk on the kids versus putting it on an occasional innocent teacher losing a job. For the union, it’s better to protect one thousand teachers than to wrongly accuse one.” Anthony Lombardi, the principal of P.S. 49, a mostly minority Queens elementary school, puts it more bluntly: “Randi Weingarten would protect a dead body in the classroom. That’s her job.”
“For Lombardi to say that,” Weingarten said, “shows he has no knowledge of who I am.”
Should a thousand bad teachers stay put so that one innocent teacher is protected? “That’s not a question we should be answering in education,” Weingarten said to me. “Teachers who are treated fairly are better teachers. You can’t have a situation that is fear-based. . . . That is why we press for due process.”
Steve Ostrin, who was assigned to a Brooklyn Rubber Room fifty-three months ago, might be that innocent man whom the current process protects. In 2005, a student at Brooklyn Tech, an élite high school where Ostrin was an award-winning social-studies teacher, accused him of kissing her when the two were alone in a classroom. After her parents told the police, Ostrin was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child. He denied the charge, insisting that he was only joking around with the student and that the principal, who didn’t like him, seized upon the incident to go after him. The tabloids ran headlines about the arrest, and found a student who claimed that a similar thing had happened to her years before, though she had not reported it to the police. But many of Ostrin’s students didn’t believe the allegations. They staged a rally in support of him at the courthouse where the trial was held. Eleven months later, he was acquitted.
Nevertheless, the city refused to allow him to return to class. “Sometimes if they are exonerated in the courts we still don’t put them back,” Cerf said, adding that he was not referring to Ostrin in particular. “Our standard is tighter than ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’ What would parents think if we took the risk and let them back in a classroom?”
Ostrin’s case may be vexing, but it is a distraction from the real issue: how to deal not with teachers accused of misconduct but with the far larger number who, like Scheiner, may simply not be teaching well. While maintaining that the union in no way condones failing teachers, Weingarten defends the elaborate protections that shield union members: “Teachers are not . . . bankers or lawyers. They don’t have independent power. Principals have huge authority over them. All we’re looking for is due process.”
Dan Weisberg, of the New Teacher Project, independently offered a similar analogy for the other side: “You’re not talking about a bank or a law firm. You’re talking about a classroom—which is far more important—and your ability to make sure that the right people are teaching there.”
By now, most serious studies on education reform have concluded that the critical variable when it comes to kids succeeding in school isn’t money spent on buildings or books but, rather, the quality of their teachers. A study of the Los Angeles public schools published in 2006 by the Brookings Institution concluded that “having a top-quartile teacher rather than a bottom-quartile teacher four years in a row would be enough to close the black-white test score gap.” But, in New York and elsewhere, holding teachers accountable for how well they teach has proved to be a frontier that cannot be crossed.
One morning in July, I attended a session of the arbitration hearing for Lucienne Mohammed, a veteran fifth-grade teacher. Mohammed, unlike most teachers sent to the Rubber Room, agreed to allow the record of her case to be public. (Her lawyer declined to make her available for an interview, however.) She had been assigned to P.S. 65, in Brooklyn’s East New York section, and was removed from the school in June of 2008, on charges of incompetence.
Mohammed’s case was the first to reach arbitration since the introduction of an initiative called Peer Intervention Program (P.I.P.) Plus, which was created to address the problem of tenured teachers who are suspected of incompetence, not those accused of a crime or other misconduct. P.I.P. Plus was included in the contract negotiated by Klein and Weingarten in 2007. The deal seemed good for both sides: a teacher accused of incompetence would first be assigned a “peer”—a retired teacher or principal—from a neutral consulting company agreed upon by the union and the city. The peer would observe the teacher for up to a year and provide counselling. If the observer determined that the teacher was indeed incompetent and was unlikely to improve, the observer would write a detailed report saying so. The report could then be used as evidence in a removal hearing conducted by an arbitrator agreed upon by the union and the city. “We as a union need to make sure we don’t defend the indefensible,” Weingarten told me. Klein and Weingarten both say that a key goal of P.I.P. Plus was to streamline incompetency arbitration hearings. It has not worked out that way.
The evidence of Mohammed’s incompetence—found in more than five thousand pages of transcripts from her hearing—seems as unambiguous as the city’s lawyer promised in his opening statement: “These children were abused in stealth. . . . It was chronic . . . a failure to complete report cards. . . . Respondent failed to correct student work, failed to follow the mandated curriculum . . . failed to manage her class.” The independent observer’s final report supported this assessment, ticking off ten bullet points describing Mohammed’s unsatisfactory performance. (Mohammed’s lawyer argues that she began to be rated unsatisfactory only after she became active with the union.)
This was the thirtieth day of a hearing that started last December. Under the union contract, hearings on each case are held five days a month during the school year and two days a month during the summer. Mohammed’s case is likely to take between forty and forty-five hearing days—eight times as long as the average criminal trial in the United States. (The Department of Education’s spotty records suggest that incompetency hearings before the introduction of P.I.P. Plus generally took twenty to thirty days; the addition of the peer observer’s testimony and report seems to have slowed things down.) Jay Siegel, the arbitrator in Mohammed’s case, who has thirty days to write a decision, estimates that he will exceed his deadline, because of what he says is the amount of evidence under consideration. This means that Mohammed’s case is not likely to be decided before December, a year after it began. That is about fifty per cent more time, from start to finish, than the O.J. trial took.
While the lawyers argued in measured tones, Mohammed—a slender, polite woman who appeared to be in her early forties—sat silently in one of six chairs bunched around a small conference table. The morning’s proceedings focussed first on a medical excuse that Mohammed produced for not showing up at the previous day’s hearing. Dennis DaCosta, an earnest young lawyer from the Teacher Performance Unit, pointed out that the doctor’s letter was eleven days old and therefore had nothing to do with her supposedly being sick the day before. The letter referred to a chronic condition, Antonio Cavallaro, Mohammed’s union-paid defense counsel, replied. Siegel said that he would reserve judgment.
Next came some discussion among the lawyers and Siegel about Defense Exhibit 33Q, a picture of Mohammed’s classroom. The photograph showed a neatly organized room, with a lesson plan chalked on the blackboard. But, under questioning by her own lawyer, Mohammed conceded that the picture had been taken, in consultation with her union representative, one morning before class, after the principal had begun complaining about her. The independent observer’s report had said that as of just a month before Mohammed was removed—and three months after the peer observer started observing and counselling her, and long after this picture was taken—Mohammed had still not “organized her classroom to support instruction and enhance learning.”
The majority of the transcript of the twenty-nine previous hearing days was given over to the lawyers and the arbitrator arguing issues that included whether and how Mohammed should have known about the contents of the Teachers’ Reference Manual; whether it was admissible that when Mohammed got a memo from the principal complaining about her performance, her students said, she angrily read it aloud in class; whether it was really a bad thing that she had appointed one child in her class “the enforcer,” and charged him with making the other kids behave; whether Mohammed’s union representative should have been present when she was reprimanded for not having a lesson plan; and whether the independent observer was qualified to evaluate Mohammed, even though she came from the neutral consulting company that the union had approved.
When the bill for the arbitrator is added to the cost of the city’s lawyers and court reporters and the time spent in court by the principal and the assistant principal, Mohammed’s case will probably have cost the city and the state (which pays the arbitrator) about four hundred thousand dollars.
Nor is it by any means certain that, as a result of that investment, New York taxpayers will have to stop paying Mohammed’s salary, eighty-five thousand dollars a year. Arbitrators have so far proved reluctant to dismiss teachers for incompetence. Siegel, who is serving his second one-year term as an arbitrator and is paid fourteen hundred dollars for each day he works on a hearing, estimates that he has heard “maybe fifteen” cases. “Most of my decisions are compromises, such as fines,” he said. “So it’s hard to tell who won or lost.” Has he ever terminated anyone solely for incompetence? “I don’t think so,” he said. In fact, in the past two years arbitrators have terminated only two teachers for incompetence alone, and only six others in cases where, according to the Department of Education, the main charge was incompetence.
Klein’s explanation is that “most arbitrators are not inclined to dismiss a teacher, because they have to get approved again every year by the union, and the union keeps a scorecard.” (Weingarten denies that the union keeps a scorecard.)
Antonio Cavallaro, the union lawyer, admitted that the process “needs some ironing out.”
Dan Weisberg says that because of the way cases are litigated by the union it’s impossible to move them along. He notes that, unlike in a criminal court, where the judge has to clear his docket, there is no such pressure on an arbitrator. One of Weisberg’s main concerns is the principals, who have to document cases and then spend time at the hearings. “My goal is to look them in the eye and say you should do the hard work,” he says. “I can’t do that if the principal is going to be on the stand for six days.”
Daysi Garcia, the principal of P.S. 65, is a Queens native and is considered by Klein to be a standout among the principals who attended the first classes of the Leadership Academy. She told me that, despite the five days she had to spend testifying, and the piles of paperwork she accumulated to make a record beforehand, she would do it again, because “when I think about the impact of a teacher like this on the children and how long that lasts, it’s worth it, even if it is hard.”
The document that dictates how Daysi Garcia can—and cannot—govern P.S. 65 is the U.F.T. contract, a hundred and sixty-six single-spaced pages. It not only keeps the Rubber Roomers on the payroll and Garcia writing notes to personnel files all day but dictates every minute of the six hours, fifty-seven and a half minutes of a teacher’s work day, including a thirty-seven-and-a-half-minute tutorial/preparation session and a fifty-minute “duty free” lunch period. It also inserts a union representative into every meaningful teacher-supervisor conversation.
The contract includes a provision that, this fall, will allow an additional seven hundred to eight hundred teachers to get paid for doing essentially no teaching. These are teachers who in the past year—or two or three—have been on what is called the Absent Teacher Reserve, because their schools closed down or the number of classes in the subject they teach was cut. Most “excessed” teachers quickly find new positions at other city schools. But these teachers, who have been on the reserve rolls for at least nine months, have refused to take another job (in almost half such cases, according to a study by the New Teacher Project, they have refused even to apply for another position) or their records are so bad or they present themselves so badly that no other principal wants to hire them. The union contract requires that they get paid anyway.
“Most of the excessed teachers get snapped up pretty fast,” Lombardi, the principal of P.S. 49, says. “You can tell from the records and the interviews who’s good and who’s not. So by the time they’ve been on the reserve rolls for more than nine months they’re not the people you want to hire. . . . I’ll do almost anything to avoid bringing them into my school.” These reserve teachers are ostensibly available to act as substitutes, but they rarely do so, because principals don’t want them or because they are not available on a given day; on an average school day the city pays more than two thousand specially designated substitute teachers a hundred and fifty-five dollars each.
Until this year, the city was hiring as many as five thousand new teachers annually to fill vacancies, while the teachers on the reserve list stayed there. This meant that, in keeping with Klein’s goals, new blood was coming into the schools—recruits from Teach for America or from fellowship programs, as well as those who enter the profession the conventional way. Now that New York, like most cities, is suffering through a budget crisis, Klein has had to freeze almost all new hiring and has told principals that they can fill openings only with teachers on the reserve list or with teachers who want to transfer from other schools.
Even so, the number of teachers staying on reserve for more than nine months is likely to exceed eleven hundred by next calendar year and cost the city more than a hundred million dollars annually. Added to the six hundred Rubber Roomers, that’s seventeen hundred idle teachers—more than enough to staff all the schools in New Haven.
The teachers’-union contract comes up for renewal in October, and Klein told me that he plans to push for a time limit of nine months or a year for reserve teachers to find new positions, after which they would be removed from the payroll. “If you can’t find a job by then, it’s a pretty good indicator that you’re not looking or you’re not qualified,” he said.
In Chicago, reserve-list teachers are removed from the payroll after ten months. Until December, the head of the Chicago school system was Arne Duncan, who is now President Obama’s Education Secretary. Duncan has consistently emphasized improving the quality of teachers by measuring and rewarding—or penalizing—them based on performance. “It’s my highest priority,” he told me.
Leading Democrats often talk about the need to reform public education, but they almost never openly criticize the teachers’ unions, which are perhaps the Party’s most powerful support group. In New York, where Weingarten is a sought-after member of Democratic-campaign steering committees, state legislators and New York City Council members are even more closely tied to the U.F.T., which has the city’s largest political-action fund and contributes generously to Democrats and Republicans alike. As a result, in April of 2008 the State Legislature passed a law, promoted by the union, that prohibited Klein from using student test data to evaluate teachers for tenure, something that he had often talked about doing.
Scores should be used only “in a thoughtful and reflective way,” Weingarten told me. “We acted in Albany because no one trusted that Joel Klein would use them to measure performance in a fair way.”
Reformers like Cerf, Klein, Weisberg, and even Secretary Duncan often use the term “value-added scores” to refer to how they would quantify the teacher evaluation process. It is a phrase that sends chills down the spine of most teachers’-union officials. If, say, a student started the school year rated in the fortieth percentile in reading and the fiftieth percentile in math, and ended the year in the sixtieth percentile in both, then the teacher has “added value” that can be reduced to a number. “You take that, along with observation reports and other measures, and you really can rate a teacher,” Weisberg says.
In a speech in July to the National Education Association, a confederation of teachers’ unions, Duncan was booed when he mentioned student test data. But he went on to say that “inflexible seniority and rigid tenure rules . . . put adults ahead of children. . . . These policies were created over the past century to protect the rights of teachers, but they have produced an industrial factory model of education that treats all teachers like interchangeable widgets.”
Duncan’s metaphor was deliberate. He was referring to “The Widget Effect,” a study of teacher-assessment processes in school systems across the country, published in June by the New Teacher Project and co-written by Weisberg. “Our schools are indifferent to instructional effectiveness,” the study declared. Under the subhead “All teachers are rated good or great,” it examined teacher rating processes, and found that in districts that have a binary, satisfactory-unsatisfactory system, ninety-nine per cent of teachers receive a satisfactory rating, and that even in the few school districts that attempt a broader range of rating options ninety-four per cent get one of the top two ratings.
The report lays out a road map for “a comprehensive performance evaluation system,” and recommends that for dismissals “an expedited one-day hearing should be sufficient for an arbitrator to determine if the evaluation and development process was followed and judgments made in good faith.” Lucienne Mohammed’s lawyer spent the equivalent of a day disputing whether she should have been familiar with her training materials.
In seven years, Klein has increased the percentage of third-year teachers not given tenure from three to six per cent. Unsatisfactory ratings for tenured teachers have risen from less than one per cent to 1.8 per cent. “Any human-resources professional will tell you that rating only 1.8 per cent of any workforce unsatisfactory is ridiculous,” Weisberg says. “If you look at the upper quartile and the lower quartile, you know that those people are not interchangeable.”
The Rubber Rooms house only a fraction of the 1.8 per cent who have been rated unsatisfactory. The rest still teach. There are fifty Rubber Roomers—half of one per cent of all New York City teachers—awaiting removal proceedings because of alleged incompetence, as opposed to those who have been accused of misconduct.
“If you just focus on the people in the Rubber Rooms, you miss the real point, which is that, by making it so hard to get even the obvious freaks and crazies that are there off the payroll, you insure that the teachers who are simply incompetent or mediocre are never incented to improve and are never removable,” Anthony Lombardi says. In a system with eighty-nine thousand teachers, the untouchable six hundred Rubber Roomers and eleven hundred teachers on the reserve list are only emblematic of the larger challenge of evaluating, retraining, and, if necessary, weeding out the poor performers among the other 87,300.
While Mohammed’s hearing was lumbering on in June, the newsletter of the Chapel Street Rubber Room, in Brooklyn—where Mohammed had spent her school days since 2008—was being handed out by two of its teacher-editors. They were standing under a poster of the room’s mission statement: “TRC”—Temporary Reassignment Center— “Is a Community.” The newsletter’s banner exhorted its readers to “Experience. Share. Enrich. Grow.” Articles included an account of a U.F.T. staff director’s visit to Chapel Street and an essay by one of the room’s inhabitants about how to “quit doubting yourself,” entitled “Perception Is Everything.”
The walls of the large, rectangular room were covered with photographs of Barack Obama and various news clippings. Just to the right of a poster that proclaimed “Bloomberg’s 3 Rs: Rubber Room Racism,” a smiling young woman sat in a lounge chair that she had brought from home. She declined to say what the charges against her were or to allow her name to be used, but told me that she was there “because I’m a smart black woman.”
I asked the woman for her reaction to the following statement: “If a teacher is given a chance or two chances or three chances to improve but still does not improve, there’s no excuse for that person to continue teaching. I reject a system that rewards failure and protects a person from its consequences.”
“That sounds like Klein and his accountability bullshit,” she responded. “We can tell if we’re doing our jobs. We love these children.” After I told her that this was taken from a speech that President Obama made last March, she replied, “Obama wouldn’t say that if he knew the real story.”
But on July 24th President Obama and Secretary Duncan announced that they would award a large amount of federal education aid from the Administration’s stimulus package to school systems on the basis of how they address the issue of accountability. And Duncan made it clear that states where the law does not allow testing data to be used as a measure of teacher performance would not be eligible.
Duncan has fashioned the competition for this stimulus money as a “Race to the Top,” offering four billion dollars to be split among the dozen or so states that do the most to promote accountability in their schools. “That could mean five hundred million dollars for New York, which is huge,” Weisberg says. “But New York won’t be able to compete without radical changes in the law.” Such changes would have to include not only the provision forbidding Klein to use test scores to evaluate teachers (which Weisberg is most focussed on) but also provisions, such as those mandating teacher tenure, that are at the core of the teachers’-union contract. Klein has already come up with a debatable technical argument that the testing restriction won’t actually disqualify New York from at least applying for the money (because the restriction is about using test scores only for tenure decisions). Still, having that law on the books would obviously undercut an application claiming that New York should be declared one of the most accountable systems in the country—as would many provisions of the union contract, such as tenure and compensation based wholly on seniority.
We’ll soon see whether the lure of all that federal money will soften the union position and change the political climate in Albany. If it does, Bloomberg and Klein—who are determined reformers and desperate for the money—would have a chance to turn the U.F.T. contract into something other than a straitjacket when it comes up for renewal, in October. The promise of school funds might also push the legislature, which controls issues such as tenure, to allow a loosening of the contract’s job-security provisions and to repeal the law that forbids test scores to be used to evaluate teachers. If the stimulus money does not push the U.F.T. and the legislature to permit these changes, and if Duncan and Obama are serious about challenging the unions that are the Democrats’ base, the city and the state will miss out on hundreds of millions of dollars in education aid. More than that, publicly educated children will continue to live in an alternate universe of reserve-list teachers being paid for doing nothing, Rubber Roomers writing mission statements, union reps refereeing teacher-feedback sessions, competence “hearings” that are longer than capital-murder trials, and student-performance data that are quarantined like a virus. As the Manhattan Rubber Room’s poster says, it’s the children, not the teachers, who are fragile and need to be handled with care. ♦
Septiembre 06, 2009
¿Qué hacer con la educación municipal?
Columna publicada en El Mercurio, domingo 6 septiembre 2009.
¿Qué hacer con la educación municipal?
El Mercurio, 6 septiembre 2009
José Joaquín Brunner
Fortalecer a la educación pública, es decir, aquella de administración municipal, es una consigna transversal de todos los aspirantes a dirigir la República. Sin embargo, no existe precisión, ni menos coincidencia, respecto de cuáles son las debilidades de este sector que tornarían imperioso fortalecerlo.
La pregunta que cabe formular, entonces, es la siguiente: ¿por qué la educación municipal ha disminuido su participación en la matrícula total de niños y jóvenes de 58% en 1990 a 43% en 2008? Y, en seguida, ¿cómo se explica que durante el mismo período la educación privada subvencionada haya aumentado su participación en más de 750 mil alumnos, pasando de representar el 32% a reunir el 48% de la matrícula total?
Las razones son variadas y de distinto orden. En lo esencial, parece evidente que los padres prefieren para sus hijos la educación subvencionada de gestión privada. Según manifiestan en diversos estudios de opinión, consideran que ella asegura mejores condiciones académicas, de disciplina y formación general, de infraestructura y aprovechamiento de la jornada escolar.
En cambio, la educación administrada municipalmente experimenta serios problemas de imagen, identidad, gestión y confianza. No sólo se halla frente a una demanda declinante, sino que, además, enfrenta complicaciones del lado de la oferta; en lo principal, una baja credibilidad institucional y del servicio que proporciona.
A ello contribuyen, de un lado, las dificultades de los colegios llamados paradigmáticos para transmitir una imagen de orden y efectividad. Las constantes interrupciones de la actividad escolar han cobrado un alto precio, como acaba de reconocer el rector del Instituto Nacional, cuyas postulaciones cayeron 30% en 2009.
De otro lado, la gestión de los colegios municipales está severamente entrabada. Por una parte, los propios sostenedores (los municipios) muestran escasa motivación y responsabilidad como dueños de los establecimientos, y su función ha sido puesta en duda y vuelta incierta bajo el eslogan de la desmunicipalización. Al momento, estos colegios parecen suspendidos en el vacío, sin nadie que asuma sus virtudes y defectos. Son entidades huérfanas dentro del sistema.
Por otra parte, la normativa bajo la cual estos colegios se administran -incluyendo el estatuto docente- les resta autonomía de gestión e inhibe a sus directivos, reduciendo la capacidad que necesitan para adaptarse a condiciones de entorno cada vez más exigentes.
Hasta ahora, los partidarios de fortalecer la educación municipal (¿quién podría oponerse?) no han explicitado cómo proponen hacer frente a los problemas y dificultades que causan la debilidad de este sector y qué medidas adoptarán para revertir su continuo descenso.
Tampoco han manifestado cómo procederán a encontrar estos nuevos arreglos sin dañar -sino, por el contrario, fortaleciendo también- la provisión privada que el Estado subvenciona y que hoy atiende las necesidades educativas de amplios segmentos medios y bajos de la sociedad.
Ni han señalado cómo los planes de fortalecimiento se conjugarán dentro de la nueva institucionalidad creada por la Ley General de Educación y pronta a materializarse mediante la ley que establecerá un sistema nacional de aseguramiento de la calidad de la educación parvularia, básica y media.
En suma, los llamados a fortalecer la educación pública no pasan de ser, hasta ahora, expresiones de buena voluntad.
Septiembre 05, 2009
Los costos de la educación superior y la tendencia al alza de los aranceles
Artículo del New York Times en el cual se indaga sobre la constante presión de costos que experimentan las universidades y colleges y el por qué las instituciones no logran reducir los aranceles, incluso en tiempos de crisis.
Why College Costs Rise, Even in a Recession
By RON LIEBER, The New York Times, September 5, 2009
If you have paid a college tuition bill recently, perhaps the sticker shock has abated and your children have been good enough to friend you on Facebook so you can see what they are doing on your dime.
What probably still lingers, however, is the desire to ask some pointed questions of the people who are doing the educating. Where does all that money go? And why can’t the price tag fall for a change?
Earlier this year, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities announced with some pride that the average increase in tuition and fees at private institutions this school year would be the smallest in 37 years — 4.3 percent, just a little higher than inflation.
Is this where we are supposed to stand up and cheer?
To get some perspective, I set out to find a college president with an M.B.A. and some experience outside the academy. I found one at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa. Its president, Daniel H. Weiss, is an expert in medieval art, but he also worked as a management consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton. So he knows his way around a corporate restructuring.
Lafayette does not have the strongest name recognition and tries to set itself apart through its location near both New York City and Philadelphia, its strong engineering program and liberal arts offerings, and by being one of the smallest colleges to compete in N.C.A.A. Division I athletics.
That it is not a top-tier college by most measures, however, makes Lafayette an excellent test case as it and other private colleges cross the $50,000 annual cost threshold in shaky economic times.
Public universities will always appeal on price, and Wellesley and Harvard are likely to remain oversubscribed forever. But Lafayette and colleges like it could have trouble justifying themselves and their cost soon, and the resistance may not simply pass once the economy improves.
Tuition costs have gone in only one direction — up — during Mr. Weiss’s career. “I genuinely believe that we are at a crossroads here in higher education,” he said. “I think we have reached a ceiling that we’re beginning to bump into.”
Mr. Weiss has not had to make any drastic budget cuts so far. He has frozen many salaries, cut some hours in the student dining halls and scaled back a few building projects.
This will seem rather tame to anyone who has lived through even a medium-grade corporate revamping. “We haven’t been good at cutting when we add,” said Robert Massa, Lafayette’s new vice president for communications, speaking of colleges in general. “We just add.”
Rising tuition and income from endowments have made this possible. But the unique structure of universities has also made it inconvenient to do otherwise. “In some ways, higher education is more like a political environment than the management of a private corporation,” Mr. Weiss said. Except that thanks to tenure, it is difficult to vote anyone out of office. Still, he added, “Alienating some of your faculty members, if you can avoid it, is something you shouldn’t be doing.”
This is just one of the reasons why it is so hard to make big cuts to a college’s budget and reduce tuition in turn. Here are some others:
CUTTING DEPARTMENTS The political challenges with faculty make something as seemingly simple and obvious as cutting expensive and undersubscribed academic departments pretty hard. In fact, Mr. Weiss could not remember the last time Lafayette had done such a thing.
But such cuts are practically inevitable for programs that have fewer students. “Fine arts has studio-based production, so capital and facility costs are high,” said Jane Wellman, executive director of the nonprofit group Delta Project on Postsecondary Education Costs, Productivity and Accountability, speaking of colleges in general. “Piano tutoring is pretty much one to one in a room with a piano. Pianos are expensive. Agriculture is expensive because of the lab costs, which means a barn.”
An English student, however, is generally a profit center. “They’re paying for the chemistry major and the music major and faculty research,” she said. “They don’t want to talk about it in institutions, because the English department gets mad. The little ugly facts about cross-subsidies are inflammatory, so they get papered over.”
About all Mr. Weiss will say about this is that he agrees that Lafayette needs to do a better job of discriminating between the things it can and cannot do well. He is too good on the politics to single out any department. But there is little doubt that he and administrators like him will need to give up on some foreign languages, minor sciences or parts of the arts pretty soon.
FACULTY PRODUCTIVITY Professors at Lafayette teach five classes a year over two semesters and work with students on their independent research projects. At some colleges and universities, the number of classes is lower and at others it is higher. Couldn’t Lafayette lower costs by demanding that the faculty perform less research and teach one additional class?
“The question is what is the quality of that interaction,” Mr. Weiss said. “Our faculty must have the opportunity to revitalize their teaching through research. If you’re teaching the same old course the same old way every year, you’re not keeping up with the discipline and not able to animate your own teaching with that experience.”
Not every academic agrees. “Am I, for example, as a tenured professor or any tenured faculty member necessarily, or even probably, a better undergraduate teacher because I am doing research?” asked Burton A. Weisbrod, co-author of “Mission and Money: Understanding the University” and an economics professor at Northwestern. “The answer to that is not clear at all.”
Nevertheless, Lafayette is so certain in its convictions that it grants faculty members a year off every six or seven years for a sabbatical. How does a college defend such a practice to parents who have had to work ever harder to pay the growing tuition bill?
“What parents should be looking for is the opportunity for their children to have their lives transformed by what happens inside the classroom and out of it,” Mr. Weiss said. And that cannot come, he continued, without access to faculty members who have had the opportunity to recharge their own intellectual reservoirs. “At the end of the day, parents should want their children to have that experience, and we believe that’s the cost of it.”
Still, parents are helping to subsidize those sabbaticals. So the optics around this are all wrong in the current economic environment, even if this is one of those things no one can change.
ADMINISTRATIVE OVERLOAD Lafayette, like many colleges, spends more on nonfaculty salaries than it does on pay for the teachers. How did that happen? Mr. Weiss uses the evolution of career counseling as an example. He does not recall whether there was a placement office when he was an undergraduate at George Washington University in the 1970s. “Now there is the expectation, and I don’t think it’s misplaced, that students can get help in entering the workplace,” he said. If Lafayette did not create a rigorous support system, he noted, its graduates would be competing with students from other colleges and universities that had done so. “And therefore, we’ve invested very significantly in new administrative staff.”
Security is another area where costs have gone up. Just a quick glance at a dormitory bulletin board gives a sense of the breadth of what security departments deal with these days. One posting offered detailed instructions on what to do when encountering a bat, and an eye-opening piece of literature called “Active Shooter Survival Tips.” (Yes, I have linked to it from the online version of this story.)
THREE YEARS Perhaps the biggest cost-saving measure for private colleges like Lafayette would be to allow students to pay the same price per year but graduate in three years instead of four. Hartwick College in New York is already trying this; 13 students have signed on this fall.
Mr. Weiss said this is worth considering, though he had not looked at how the numbers would work. “Although without sounding in any way defensive, we also do offer time for personal development,” he explained. “And that is part of what college is supposed to be. Not only to learn stuff but to have your life changed. For some students, three years is more than enough, while for others four years is not nearly enough.”
He’s right, of course. Or at least that is how college used to be. The question all of us have to ask now is whether the price of that transformative experience is simply too dear — and whether a basic education ought to be the highest (or maybe only) priority.
Educación superior en EE.UU.: Nuevo libro de R. Zemsky
Uno de los más importantes analistas de la educación superior, Robert Zemsky, publica su más reciente libro, que Inside Higher Ed del 4 de septiembre comenta y sitúa en el contexto del debate norteamericano sobre la educación terciaria.
Ver texto a continuación.
Más abajo, ver el ensayo de Zemsky: The Don’ts of Higher Ed Reform
Robert Zemsky has spent most of his career as what he calls "a prickly and at times just barely tolerated academic gadfly" -- a higher education researcher who, though working inside the academy, was known for aggressive and (especially early on, he admits) sometimes nasty critiques of the industry he called home.
Yet as a participant on Margaret Spellings' Commission on the Future of Higher Education, Zemsky was part of the triumvirate that his fellow commissioner Richard Vedder called "Dudervestsky" -- a trio of panel members, with the former college presidents James Duderstadt and Charles M. Vest, who could generally be counted on to defend higher education against what were seen, depending on one's views, as either unfair attacks or pointed and long overdue criticism. Charles Miller, the commission's outspoken chairman, sometimes had Zemsky in mind when he railed that the "tone police" were trying to blunt the force of tough language about the academy's perceived weaknesses.
With the Spellings Commission nearly two years in the rearview mirror now, Zemsky has once again taken on the role of critic -- this time of the commission and of higher education. In Making Reform Work: The Case for Transforming American Higher Education (Rutgers University Press), the University of Pennsylvania professor delivers what he describes as "the report the Spellings Commission should have written." (For an excerpt from the book, see today's Views piece.)
With that audacious statement, he acknowledges that the commission was right to deem higher education in need of significant change but argues that, by emphasizing what's broken rather than how to fix it, and offering a "watered-down" menu of recommendations instead of a handful of bolder ideas, the commission missed the mark -- and a major opportunity to motivate higher education to change. (Not surprisingly, perhaps, the commission's chairman, Charles Miller, disagrees and in turn dismisses many of Zemsky's own answers. Read on for that.)
"What I've concluded is that in this climate, people are really ready to talk about big ideas, not just big critiques," Zemsky says. "There's an appetite for serious discussion of change" not only among the general public, but within a higher education establishment that has often resisted significant transformation. Zemsky isn't sure the "big ideas" he puts forward as potential "dislodging events" are the right ones -- though he's especially fond right now of the three-year degree, which he sees gaining traction -- but he is confident that the time has come for state and federal political leaders, higher education administrators and faculty members, and others to undertake a systematic reassessment that "comes to consider the impossible" in a way that produces major, transformative change.
A 'Considered View'
It's hard not to read Zemsky's book as a summing up of a 40-plus-year career as one of the foremost observers and prognosticators of higher education, though he discourages that characterization (in part because he doesn't want to leave the mistaken impression that he's anywhere close to retiring). "My earlier writings probably sounded like a 'summing up,' too," Zemsky says, referring to tomes with such sweeping tableaux and highfalutin' titles as Higher Education as a Competitive Enterprise (Jossey Bass, 2001) and Remaking the American University (Rutgers University Press, 2005).
What might distinguish this from what he's written before, Zemsky concedes, is not only his immersion in the deliberations of the Spellings Commission, but the fact that he's "been around a while longer and had lots of additional interesting experiences," including significant (and increasing) involvement in studying of higher education systems outside the U.S. So while it risks suggesting that his previous writings were off the cuff, "you could say this is my considered view," Zemsky says. "If that's equivalent to a 'summing up,' okay."
Foremost among the "interesting experiences" shaping Zemsky's considered view, undoubtedly, was his time on the Spellings Commission. Zemsky says he wanted to avoid having the book be a "tell-all" about the behind the scenes, and he largely succeeds. But one only had to pay attention to what unfolded in the panel's public meetings to know that Zemsky offered probably the strongest counterpoint to Miller, the chairman, in terms of both intellectual jousting and disagreements about the group's strategic direction.
Zemsky, for instance, forcefully discouraged the commission (and Miller, for whom the issue was a favored hobby horse) from focusing too much attention on accreditation as a mechanism for reforming higher education, calling it a "thin reed" on which to hang major change. And he repeatedly counseled Miller to take a less combative approach in his and the panel's rhetoric, saying that mean-spiritedness would be likely to diminish the commission's odds of getting college leaders to come on board.
"If you want to change higher education, you challenge it. If you want headlines, you insult it," Zemsky said during the course of the commission's deliberations in 2006. "We should be talking about 'raising the bar,' which is a different way of saying 'not good enough,' but in a much nicer way." Miller, in turn, complained regularly during the course of the panel's work about what he called the "tone police," saying that college leaders were using complaints about language to object, ultimately, to being asked to fundamentally change their ways.
While the Spellings Commission most heavily motivated Zemsky to write his book, he frames his response more generally to what he calls a wide array of "lamenters" whose critiques of higher education amount, he writes, to "long litanies of failure along with generalized prescriptions for making right what has gone so horribly wrong." On the list he puts the makers of the 2005 PBS documentary "Declining by Degrees, Higher Education at Risk" and the annual "Measuring Up" reports produced by Patrick Callan's National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, among others. Zemsky also dissects higher education critiques from inside the academy, including those by the former Harvard president Derek Bok and David L. Kirp of the University of California at Berkeley, and finds them wanting for a variety of reasons.
A Friend, Yes, But a Critic, Too
Just because Zemsky finds fault with so many internal and external broadsides about higher education does not mean he thinks all is well in the academy -- far from it. Too many socioeconomically disadvantaged students start but do not complete higher education. Most colleges still have virtually no idea whether or how much students are learning from them.
And the system for financing higher education, Zemsky writes, is "a house of cards -- too dependent on tax breaks that are likely to be called into question, too dependent on credit markets that can suddenly contract, too unsure of the rationale by which it sets prices and offers discounts, and at the same time unable to imagine alternate production functions that could in fact yield substantial price rollbacks."
It won't be lost on anybody who followed the Spellings Commission closely that Zemsky's diagnosis of higher education's problems sounds quite a bit like the commission's own -- and that fact certainly is not lost on Charles Miller, the commission's chairman. "Eventually he admits to many of the same problems in higher education others have identified, although he dresses them up with slightly different language," Miller said in an e-mail message after Inside Higher Ed asked for his thoughts on Zemsky's book. "He identifies 'learning,' 'attainment' and 'money' as real problems after repeatedly criticizing the Spellings Commission for its similar conclusions."
Perhaps -- but the big problem with the Spellings Commission's work was not the substance of the diagnosis but the equivalent of its bedside manner and its prescription, Zemsky argues. The panel's deliberations and report focused far too much on proving the extent and severity of the problems ("playing the blame game," as Zemsky calls it) than on offering sharply drawn and powerful solutions, he says. "Don't tell me it doesn't work, or explain why it didn't work -- tell me how to fix it. That's where my head is now," Zemsky says.
Zemsky's answer to the "how to fix it" question begins with the notion that change must come not one institution at a time, but systematically, through a process not unlike what the European Union has done with its Bologna Process. Such a cohesive approach, which would involve government officials, business leaders and, importantly, college administrators and professors, is likeliest to come about only if higher education is forced, through one or more "dislodging events," to "consider changes that no one institution on its own will likely pursue," he writes.
Beating colleges up about how expensive they are or telling professors that their students aren't learning hasn't helped persuade higher education leaders that their institutions must change, Zemsky says in an interview; what's needed is something that says to faculty members and others: "The doctors have changed, even the accountants have changed. It's your turn to change now."
What could compel that sort of attitude adjustment? Zemsky offers three possibilities, none of which, he acknowledges, "may prove either feasible or even desirable," but each of which could jolt the higher education system enough that it "breaks the gridlock that now holds attempts to reform higher education hostage?
One would be having Congress "metaphorically 'nuke' the current system of federal financial aid," and reengineer it in ways that fundamentally change the way institutions are rewarded to encourage them to change their behavior, with increased focus on student participation and success. A second: changing federal tax rules so that money that wealthy institutions earn from their investments are taxed as if they were hedge fund revenues -- unless the money was spent on education or research.
The third -- and the one Zemsky seems genuinely enthused about -- is if the idea of the three-year undergraduate degree were to take hold in a major way, which he argues could have beneficial effects in making high school more meaningful and lowering the costs of educating college undergrads, among other things.
Miller, the Spellings Commission chair, offered a critique of Zemsky's "dislodging events," questioning how realistic the three-year degree is, for instance, at a time when "the median time to a bachelor's degree is closer to six years than four years, when students are reported to be unprepared for college, when most students spend inadequate time on task even during a four-year period," etc.
But most fundamentally, unsurprisingly, he warns that the sort of carefully planned out, deliberative process that Zemsky advocates is perhaps less likely than "a public policy process which includes more public and political engagement and which could appear to central planners to be much messier than they prefer. When all stakeholders are involved, not just the professoriate, some significant changes will take place for higher education. What is hoped is that the change will be productive, not destructive. That calls for the academy to recognize its precarious position and to stop questioning the motives or the intelligence of its critics."
In many ways, what Miller warns about differs very little from some of Zemsky's "dislodging events" -- events that happen to higher education, compelling its leaders to change.
But he remains skeptical about Zemsky's vision in which the men and women of higher education, perhaps motivated by one or more of those dislodging events, take charge of their own destiny to instigate or at least willingly participate in a process that it designed to produce fundamental change.
Is Zemsky himself sanguine about the likelihood of such a scenario? Confident, probably not. But hopeful? If it's framed the right way, he suggests.
"People are ready for serious discussion," Zemsky says, "about 'how can we be better?' "
— Doug Lederman
The Don’ts of Higher Ed Reform
By Robert Zemsky
Inside Higher Ed, September 4, 2009
The 18 months that I spent on Margaret Spellings’ Commission on the Future of Higher Education left me convinced that American higher education must undergo dramatic change if it is to keep thriving. The commission got that part right, even if -- as I believe and argue in my new book, Making Reform Work: The Case for Transforming American Higher Education (Rutgers University Press) -- many of its preconceptions and strategies were deeply flawed.
The book is my attempt to write the report that the Spellings Commission should have. I try to make sense of all of the public criticism and debate that is now swirling about higher education -- and to offer what the commission did not: a challenge for the future and a strategy for enlisting the very instincts of the academy to do more, to be bolder, to take the kinds of risks that the academy, from time to time, has taken. (See related news article here.)
To make reform I would start with the wisdom of the Wharton School’s Greg Shea, who, in talks he used to give to presidents and deans at Penn’s Institute for Research on Higher Education, frequently discussed what he called the “necessity of the don’t-do list.” To avoid getting hung up on endless lists of potentially tangential things “to do,” Shea told the campus leaders attending a week-long executive education seminar that they should construct don’t-do lists to accompany their to-do lists.
That approach would work wonders for higher ed reform as well. Too often, calls for change begin with a nearly exhaustive list of the problems and challenges facing the enterprise, followed by an even longer list of the steps that need to be taken in response to those ills so carefully catalogued. The report of the Spellings Commission is as good an example as any of what happens when no problem or challenge is considered too small or too tangential to be included in the list of things that must be done. The result is an agenda that overwhelms precisely because it has failed to discriminate.
My to-do list -- the issues and challenges I think American higher education needs to address during the next decade – will follow in a forthcoming essay. But the don’t do list is just as important. Two are on it because, for the moment at least, no practical solution is at hand and to pretend otherwise would be to waste time and energy. One represents a kind of third rail that trying to change becomes not just quixotic but outright dangerous. The last item, for all its importance to the nation, belongs on a different to-do list, one more focused on higher education’s research as opposed to its educational mission.
Don’t Try to Reform the NCAA’s Big Money Sports
In the realm of higher education reform, intercollegiate athletics is the one that got away -- permanently. Derek Bok is right when he laments that it’s already too late to reverse the tide of athletic commercialism. The sums are too large, the constituencies too powerful, the absence of agreed-upon purposes all too readily apparent.
Is reform necessary? -- yes. Is it possible? -- no, just ask the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. Ten years after their initial report, the distinguished panel that composed the commission was painfully blunt in assessing the Commission’s lack of success.
The bad news is hard to miss. The truth is manifested regularly in a cascade of scandalous acts that, against a backdrop of institutional complicity and capitulation, threaten the health of American higher education. The good name of the nation’s academic enterprise is even more threatened today than it was when the Knight Commission published its first report a decade ago. Despite progress in some areas, new problems have arisen, and the condition of big-time college sports has deteriorated.
Big-time football and basketball will not likely change any time soon -- witness current discussions as to whether athletes in these money sports deserve to be paid given the substantial funds the sponsoring universities derive from their athletic prowess. The best higher education can hope for is that eventually universities will cut loose their programs in football and basketball, making the university a sponsor rather than an owner of the enterprise.
Don’t Tackle Tenure
For much the same reason, though the issues are fundamentally different, higher education’s reform agenda should not tackle the issue of tenure. The circumstances of academic tenure have changed and will likely continue to change, perhaps even dramatically. Among university and college staff members who are fully academically qualified -- which usually means an individual with an earned doctorate or a corresponding terminal degree -- the proportion either with tenure or serving a tenure probationary period has declined steadily over three decades. In many large research universities, the proportion of academically qualified faculty not on the tenure track now exceeds the proportion of those eligible for tenure.
So what is tenure’s future? The easy answer is that there will be more of the same -- a decrease in the proportion of academically trained personnel who either enjoy or are eligible for tenure, adjustments to the tenure clock to accommodate the growing prevalence of two-career academic families, and continued fussing about how to keep older faculty, in particular, productive and accountable. Nothing on the horizon suggests these trends will either abate or be reversed.
Still, too many of the academy’s critics cannot seem to leave the question of tenure alone. To the populists among them, tenure is synonymous with elitism and privilege. To the efficiency pundits, tenure is a way of ensuring that a faculty member never has to work too hard. To others, tenure is the stone wall against which every attempt at curricular reform ultimately crashes.
I don’t rule out the possibility of a significant public outcry by those who have never liked tenure. Why, they will ask, should the academy be exempt from the discipline of the labor market? Were there to be a perfect storm -- a perception of out-of-control costs, a sense of students not being served, and a steady stream of arrogant pronouncements by faculty spokesmen to the effect that the academy is different and hence exempt from public scrutiny -- the result could be a state in which the legislature abolishes tenure in a fit of spite.
However undesirable or, from the academy’s point of view, irrational such a political coup de grace would be, it is not beyond the realm of possibility. Could there be a successful battle to do away with or limit the privileges of tenure? Probably yes, but it would be a Pyrrhic victory followed by a decade or more of campus turmoil. Higher education would not be transformed, but stalled, consumed by an angry battle that would employ symbols, not actual change.
There is a second reason for not tackling the question of tenure now. The spread of for-profit higher education and its very different ways of employing instructional staff suggest that the labor market itself could be an agent of change. Here the model is the University of Phoenix, a business that has proved remarkably resilient despite the disdain of traditional academics.
The University of Phoenix has academic employees rather than faculty; those who there or at one of its principal competitors or imitators are not independent contractors, let alone tenure-eligible faculty. They do not own their own courses. They are not the final arbitrators of either what or how they teach. The academic staffs of the University of Phoenix and similar institutions are contingent workers in both the best and most restrictive sense of that term. They are well rewarded but only as long as what they have to offer in terms of both teaching content and style is valued in the marketplace; Phoenix is not interested in supporting either subjects or individuals whose efforts do not tap an ongoing revenue stream.
Few doubt that this labor model will continue to spread -- first through the growth of for-profit entities and eventually by spreading to nonprofit institutions, particularly those serving adult and part-time student markets. Already most of these institutions -- principally community colleges, less selective liberal arts colleges, and state comprehensive universities -- employ large numbers of adjunct faculty, many of whom work simultaneously for more than one institution. Today they are the academy’s gypsies -- poorly paid, ordinarily without benefits, often without offices, and almost always without standing in the institutions they serve.
The University of Phoenix treats its contingent work force much better. Were a University of Phoenix-like contingent-labor model to spread, the working conditions for the professionals who serve these markets might actually improve in the sense they would likely be treated as contingent professionals rather than academic gypsies. But that improvement would depend on the institutions that employ them, like the University of Phoenix, abandoning the distinction between “regular” and “adjunct” faculty; instead, the institutions would treat everyone as a part of a contingent academic labor force.
Don’t Try to Reform Accreditation
The more external the critic, the more likely he or she will turn to accreditation as a means of reforming individual colleges and universities. To the uninitiated, the accrediting agencies, particularly those responsible for accrediting institutions offering the baccalaureate degree, have (or should have) the power to change both how and what institutions teach.
The reason accreditation has not been an agent of enforceable reform, these critics argue, is that there is an all-too-cozy relationship between the accreditors and the institutions they accredit. In support of their argument, they often point out how often the officials of the accrediting agencies and the experts they place on their accreditation teams are drawn from the ranks of established colleges and universities.
Right question, wrong answer. Accreditation has not been an agent of enforceable reform because the accreditation industry is itself a hopeless mess: six different regional agencies are responsible for undergraduate and graduate education, while two dozen separate, professionally focused accrediting agencies each jealously protects its own turf and prerogatives. Although the regional accrediting agencies share insights and occasionally personnel, there is both no common methodology and an irritating tendency to abruptly change how they monitor both themselves and the institutions for which they are responsible.
To make accreditation an agent of national reform would require a major, probably exhaustive campaign to make the accrediting agencies much more like one agency in their ability to gauge the quality of education an institution provides. Testing regimes would have to be agreed upon, as would common definitions of the educational outcomes that accredited institutions are expected to supply -- in short, an agreed-upon set of national standards.
To make such an accrediting system work on a national scale would require a fundamentally different methodology. The United Kingdom and Australia have both experimented with what they call “quality audits.” The Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA) defines a quality audit as a “systematic and independent examination to determine whether activities and related results comply with planned arrangements and whether these arrangements are implemented effectively and are suitable to achieve objectives.”
Though the language suggests something like a financial audit, even in this national agency independently charted by the Australian federal government, the quality process involves very little statistical data testifying to the learning outcomes achieved by the audited institutions. Were there in fact data that could be audited, the result would be more like what the reformers have in mind when they link testing and accreditation.
Perhaps the largest problem is that almost no one outside and very few inside the academy either care about or are familiar with how institutions are accredited. Parents and students simply assume the institutions in which they are interested are accredited because they are. Most accrediting reports are not made public, but then again, it is doubtful that higher education’s consumers would know how to interpret what are almost always highly nuanced and somewhat opaque essays.
The exceptions to this rule are the agencies that accredit professional programs. Not to be accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), for example, is to be at a significant disadvantage in the market for an MBA education. AACSB sets high standards, mostly reflecting the resources an institution invests in its MBA program. Once accredited, however, and despite a regular review cycle, there is not much mystery surrounding a particular program's accreditation reaffirmation.
Tackling these issues would be a Herculean task promising at best uncertain results. One painful lesson Margaret Spellings learned when she tried to transform the regional accrediting bodies into federal enforcement agencies was just how unpopular that idea was. While the hue and cry was less than what would have been a parallel plan to make the NCAA a federal enforcement agency, the effort taught the same lesson. Some opportunities were lost long ago.
Leave Investments in Research Infrastructure to Others
One of the most important but worst-named federal reports of the past 20 years was “Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future,” by the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy. It is comprehensive and, like too many such efforts, has a little bit of something for everyone, but its central thrust is nonetheless true to its central intent: The federal government, in particular, must substantially increase its investment in basic research in the physical sciences, mathematics, and engineering.
The report also talks about the need to make sustained investments in the teaching of the STEM disciplines. Any higher education agenda needs to address that particular need, but one focusing on the general transformation of the enterprise need not -- indeed, should not -- invest any of its fire power in promoting support of an agenda for basic research. No doubt increased expenditures on basic science research will trickle down to the rest of higher education, if only because America’s top research universities train the bulk of college and university faculty.
But let me note -- maybe even shout -- that transforming American higher education and revitalizing the nation’s capacity for basic research in the physical and related sciences are separate agendas and should remain so.
That’s my don’t do list. I hope you’ll check back for my to do list in the days ahead.
Robert Zemsky is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and chair and CEO of its Learning Alliance for Higher Education.This essay, the first of two parts, is drawn from his new book, Making Reform Work, from Rutgers University Press.
Septiembre 04, 2009
Evaluación del aprendizaje en Finlandia, Suecia, Reino Unido, Australia y Hong Kong
Circula el número de la Serie Mejores Prácticas del PREAL, con el título “Tendencias en la evaluación del logro escolar: la experiencia de cinco países con alto rendimiento educativo”.
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Este documento resume las principales conclusiones del estudio “Evaluación para el Aprendizaje en todo el mundo: ¿Qué significa ser "competitivo a nivel internacional?" escrito por Linda Darling-Hammond y Laura McCloskey de la Universidad de Stanford. Su estudio analiza la experiencia de cinco países con alto rendimiento educativo – Finlandia, Suecia, Reino Unido, Australia y Hong Kong – y revela algunas tendencias comunes entre ellos.
Diferencias en los contenidos de sus planes de estudios y en cómo estos se enseñan están entre los factores que inciden en los mejores resultados que alcanzan algunos países desarrollados en las pruebas internacionales de logros de aprendizaje.
Pero, estrechamente vinculado a esos factores, también tiene gran importancia la forma como se concibe la evaluación en sus sistemas educativos.
Las naciones europeas y asiáticas que han mejorado considerablemente el aprendizaje de los estudiantes, han privilegiado explícitamente planes de estudio y evaluaciones centrados en habilidades para: encontrar y organizar la información para resolver problemas, realizar investigaciones, analizar y sintetizar datos, aplicar el aprendizaje a nuevas situaciones, automonitorear y mejorar el propio desempeño, comunicarse en múltiples formas, trabajar en equipo y aprender autónomamente.
Para evaluar los conocimientos adquiridos, muchos de esos países emplean en gran medida ítems de respuesta abierta que requieren que los estudiantes analicen, apliquen conocimientos y escriban extensamente.
Además, su creciente énfasis en el aprendizaje basado en proyectos ha aumentado la importancia de tareas desarrolladas en la escuela, lo cual incluye investigaciones, experimentos experimentos científicos, desarrollo de productos, redacción de informes y presentaciones.
Ello influye en la labor diaria de enseñanza y aprendizaje, centrándola en el desarrollo de habilidades de orden superior y el uso del conocimiento para resolver problemas.
A continuación –a partir del estudio de Linda Darling-Hammond y Laura McCloskey– se describe brevemente cómo conciben la evaluación algunos de los sistemas educativos de mayor rendimiento: Finlandia, Suecia, Australia, Reino Unido y Hong Kong.
Ellos muestran cómo la evaluación ha sido vinculada al currículo e integrada al proceso instruccional, de modo que es posible esbozar e incrementar el aprendizaje de los estudiantes y de los docentes.
Septiembre 03, 2009
4º aniversario de este Blog: Listado de postings 2005-2009
Más de 1.400 postings se han ido acumulando en este Blog desde agosto de 2005 hasta hoy.
El Blog es estrictamente personal de su autor pero cuenta con el apoyo del Centro de Políticas Comparadas de Educación de la UDP y de la Cátedra UNESCO de Políticas Comparadas de Educación Superior, con sede en dicho Centro.
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Canadá: presión de las universidades complejas por mayor financiamiento
En medio de un ambiente de mayores restricciones financieras para las universidades canadienses causadas por la crisis, un grupo de universidades de investigación de ese país reclama un trato especial y preferente del gobierno federal.
Lea a continuación una columna de opinión y análisis sobre esta pretensión, cuyos términos resuenan con debates similares en Chile.
A teachable moment for Canada's universities
Jeffrey Simpson, The Glone and Mail, Canada, Friday, Aug. 28, 2009
If big universities spent half as much time on teaching as they do searching for research money, students might be better off
With universities across Canada gearing up for the fall term, they all face variations of the same problem: The increase in their faculty bill is unsustainable.
Faculty salaries since 2000 have risen by more than a third, or about twice the consumer price index, and in most provinces, well above increases in basic operating grants from the provinces.
Since salaries for faculty and staff eat up about 70 per cent of a university budget, those kinds of increases can't continue. Not only have salaries been rising by 3.5 per cent to 5.5 per cent, according to the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, but “progress through the ranks,” as it is called (otherwise known as promotion to a higher classification), means increases of 5 to 6 per cent in the overall wage bill.
It's an unsustainable rate of increase, especially now that all governments are running large deficits.
Tell that to faculty and staff unions. Their answer is twofold: Provinces should fork over more money, and it's a competitive world for talent. So pay up. Unions asked to open collective bargaining agreements have refused. (An article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, quoting an American study, said Canada has the highest entry-level salaries for professors.)
Professors, by and large, are teaching less than several decades ago, although class sizes have risen. That's one reason (provincial funding restraint and government-driven higher enrolments are the others) for the huge class sizes that greet undergraduates – who, by the way, have been paying fees that have risen much faster than inflation.
Their higher fees have filled part of the financial gap in most provinces caused by minimal increases in base-budget provincial funding. Undergraduates, paying more, have nonetheless been greeted by impersonal, huge classes, featuring little contact with actual professors, but teaching assistants (PhD candidates) or part-time lecturers.
It's the biggest weakness of too many universities. But since parents and students haven't screamed, figuring there is nothing that they can do, governments and universities have done little about it.
If big universities spent half as much time and sustained effort trying to improve undergraduate teaching as they do searching for more research money, they, the students and the country might be better off.
Recently, the presidents of five big Canadian universities (British Columbia, Alberta, Toronto, McGill and Montreal) publicly demanded a greater share for themselves of public research money. They argued that more research money and graduate students for their campuses would promote excellence, thereby enhancing the country's research capabilities and competitiveness. Other, presumably lesser, universities should concentrate more on teaching.
This is a bad idea, poorly expressed. Back in the 1990s, a handful of university presidents (Rob Pritchard, Martha Piper and Robert Lacroix) and federal civil servants, worked with senior ministers (Paul Martin, John Manley) and prime minister Jean Chrétien on the suite of policies that have so greatly assisted universities. These included, among other initiatives, the Canada Research Chairs, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Genome Canada, plus increases in funding for the academic granting councils.
The policies' subtext was to assist disproportionately the 12 or so most research-intensive universities. But nobody publicly articulated that objective, because had they done so, every other university would have squawked.
By going public with this demand (whatever happened to the other research-intensive universities such as Western or Queen's or Laval or Dalhousie?), the Big Five presidents predictably have brought down on them the wrath of all the other universities.
Theirs was a bad idea anyway. The Big Five were already receiving about a third of all federal grant money. They have greater private fundraising capabilities than many other universities. What they need to do is to carry on getting a big slice of public research money, while focusing much harder on undergraduate teaching, which The Globe and Mail student satisfaction surveys consistently show leave lots to be desired at those schools.
(In fact, some years ago, when the Maclean's annual survey was still credible, putting its results with those of The Globe's suggested the country's best all-around university was Western.)
The Big Five do deserve sympathy because they share with all schools the fiscal pinch of wages and salaries running ahead of revenues. The pinch has obviously varied from province to province depending on the increase in provincial transfers and whether provinces allowed fee increases above inflation.
University boards that demand higher transfers from provincial governments are getting the cold shoulder. Governments are strapped. They are saying to universities: You are arm's-length institutions, so fix your problem. In other words, do something about your wage bill.
The universities pinch is part of a wider problem: Public-sector union contracts are running ahead of private-sector ones at a time when public finances are in the tank.
This, too, can't continue when governments start to rein in spending to reduce swelling deficits.
Septiembre 02, 2009
Enseñanza y aprendizaje en línea: qué piensa la comunidad académica de las universidades públicas en los EE.UU.
Se ha dado a conocer en dias recientes el Informe de la Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU)-Sloan National Commission on Online Learning sobre la enseñanza y el aprendizaje en línea en los EE.UU.
Sendos artículos del Chronicle of Higher Education e Inside Higher Ed --que se transciben más abajo-- analizan las conclusiones de este Informe, publicado en dos volúmenes que se pueden bajar aquí de la página de APLU.
The APLU-Sloan National Commission on Online Learning was formed in May 2007 to engage the A۰P۰L۰U Presidents and Chancellors in a discussion about the utility of online education as a means to achieve broader institutional priorities, such as diversity, retention, internationalization and accountability. The Commission surveyed the leaders of A۰P۰L۰U’s member institutions in May 2007 to discern their attitudes toward online learning and their experiences in utilizing online learning as a strategic tool. Over the next year, A۰P۰L۰U will convene focus groups of Presidents and Chancellors from discrete subsets of public colleges and universities to further explore the viability of online learning as a strategic tool and to develop the resources university leaders require to expand their online learning offerings and capabilities.
Professors Embrace Online Courses Despite Qualms About Quality
By Marc Parry, The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 31, 2009
They worry about the quality of online courses, say teaching them takes more effort, and grouse about insufficient support. Yet large numbers of professors still put in the time to teach online. And despite the broad suspicion about quality, a majority of faculty members have recommended online courses to students.
That is the complicated picture that emerges in "The Paradox of Faculty Voices: Views and Experiences With Online Learning," part of a two-volume national study released today by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities—Sloan National Commission on Online Learning.
The major survey of public colleges and universities found that 70 percent of all faculty members believe the learning outcomes of online courses to be either inferior or somewhat inferior, compared with face-to-face instruction.
Professors with online experience are less pessimistic. Among those who have taught or developed an online course, the majority rated the medium's effectiveness as being as good as or better than face to face. But in a potentially controversial finding, even among professors who have taught online, fully 48 percent feel it is either inferior or somewhat inferior.
The picture gets more complicated when it comes to what professors do, rather than only perceive. The majority of those who feel the learning outcomes of online education are somewhat inferior have recommended online courses to students.
The debate about the quality of online instruction is nothing new. But the scale of this study makes it significant. Responses came from more than 10,700 faculty members at 69 public colleges and universities across the country, a sector that accounts for much of the rapidly growing online market.
When it comes to universities' support for online learning, the report showed broad faculty dissatisfaction. That was especially the case regarding incentives for developing and teaching courses. Also rated poor: recognition for online work in tenure and promotion.
Jack M. Wilson, president of the University of Massachusetts and chairman of the commission that issued the report, described the findings about online support for such learning as "a call to action." when asked about them in a conference call with reporters.
"Institutions are going to have to do a better job of providing the support to the faculty—and, by the way, to the students as well," said Mr. Wilson.
The report also punctures the prevailing notion that older professors aren't as involved with online instruction. Veteran professors—those who have taught for more than 20 years—are teaching online at rates equivalent to less-experienced faculty members, it found.
The report raises many questions. Why do so many professors feel the online medium is inferior? And how inferior?
And why—given their quality concerns and belief that it takes more effort to develop and teach online courses—do so many do it?
More than 36 percent of faculty members have experience either teaching or developing an online course, according to the report, fresh evidence of the mainstreaming of online education. A large majority of survey respondents pointed to student needs as a "primary motivator" for teaching online.
Professors judge online education with somewhat different criteria, said Jeff Seaman, author of the report and a co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group, which carried out the survey for the commission.
"The access issues trump everything else," he said. "The ability to get somebody in a course that they would not ordinarily be able to take, to finish that degree, to pursue that career, to do whatever, is sufficient."
Even for online- learning enthusiasts, broadly held negative perceptions can have an influence. Tenured colleagues or department chairs will in some cases advise professors to give up their online teaching if they want to get on a tenure track, said Janet Poley, president of the American Distance Education Consortium.
"Because the perception is that, if the online teaching is going to take more time than face to face, what they should be doing is teaching face to face and getting their research projects started," Ms. Poley said. She added, "If the incentives aren't matched up administratively, then you're going to have people who at a minimum are frustrated."
The report argues that universities will need to involve a larger share of the faculty to meet the continued demand for online programs. And to do that, it says, "they will need to find ways to address the time-and-effort issue and make it as easy—and as rewarding—as possible for faculty to engage in online learning."
One veteran distance-education researcher argued that faculty members require instructional-design help but questioned the need for financial carrots.
"I don't necessarily believe that I need additional incentives beyond strong support," said Chère Gibson, a University of Wisconsin at Madison professor emerita. "Nobody paid me the first time to develop my face-to-face class."
Thomas L. Russell maintains a Web site called The No Significant Difference Phenomenon that compiles studies comparing distance and traditional education. He chalked up professors' negative online perceptions about online learning to a different source.
"I think deep down inside they don't want it to replace them," he said. "They're fearful."
Going For Distance
Inside Higher Ed, August 31, 2009
Online education is no longer a peripheral phenomenon at public universities, but many academic administrators are still treating it that way.
So says a comprehensive study released today by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) and the Sloan National Commission on Online Learning, which gathered survey responses from more than 10,700 faculty members and 231 interviews with administrators, professors, and students at APLU institutions.
“I think it’s a call to action,” said Jack Wilson, president of the University of Massachusetts and chair of the Sloan online learning commission. “The leadership of universities has been trying to understand exactly how [online education] fits into their strategic plans, and what this shows is that faculty are ahead of the institutions in these online goals.”
According to the study, professors are open to teaching online courses (defined in the study as courses where at least 80 percent of the course is administered on the Web), but do not believe they are receiving adequate support from their bosses. On the whole, respondents to the faculty survey rated public universities “below average” in seven of eight categories related to online education, including support for online course development and delivery, protection of intellectual property, incentives for developing and delivering online courses, and consideration of online teaching activity in promotion and tenure decisions.
Still, more than a third of the faculty respondents had developed and taught an online course.
“The urban legend out there was that many faculty out there don’t want to participate” in online education, said Wilson. “Contrary to popular myths, faculty at all ages and levels are participating.”
Indeed, neither seniority nor tenure status held a significant bearing on whether a professor had ever developed or taught an online course. At the time the survey was administered, there were more professors with at least 20 years’ experience teaching an online course than professors with five years’ experience or less.
This despite the fact that developing and teaching a course online is more taxing than doing the same in a classroom -- according to the survey respondents, teaching online isn’t easy. “Faculty who get involved in online teaching have to be more reflective about their teaching,” Wilson said. Professors need to organize lecture notes and other materials with more care. They get more feedback from students. It’s more apparent when a student is falling behind and needs special attention.
Almost two-thirds of the faculty said it takes more effort to teach a course online than in a classroom, while 85 percent said more effort is required to develop one. While younger professors seem to have an easier time teaching online than older ones, more than half of respondents from the youngest faculty group agreed it was more time-consuming. Nearly 70 percent of all professors cited the extra effort necessary to develop Web courses as a crucial barrier to teaching online.
So if teaching an online course is a ton of work and support from administrators is lacking, why bother doing it? Most professors said they are motivated by their students’ need for flexible access to course materials, and a belief that the Web allows them to reach certain types of student more effectively.
“As a faculty member, when you’re teaching online, suddenly you have to be teaching 24/7,” said Samuel Smith, president emeritus of Washington State University. “…It’s more difficult, but the students get more contact.”
Given the extra work, more than 60 percent of faculty see inadequate compensation as a barrier to the further development of online courses. “If these rates of participation among faculty are going to continue to grow, institutions will have do a better job acknowledging the additional time and effort on the part of the faculty member,” said Jeff Seaman, co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group and the survey’s lead researcher. For some, that might mean that their online work should figure into tenure and promotion decisions. For others, “acknowledgment” might equate to some extra cash in their paycheck.
This is not a new request -- nor is the fact that it takes longer to develop and administer a college course online a new revelation. The American Federation of Teachers report on guidelines for good practice in distance education acknowledges that it takes “anywhere from 66 to 500 percent longer” to prepare an online course than a face-to-face one, and “additional compensation should be provided to faculty to meet the extensive time commitments of distance education.” The report noted that only half of the faculty it surveyed reported receiving extra compensation. That was in 2000.
The authors of today's APLU study conclude by recommending that public universities not only institute policies that “acknowledge and recognize” professors’ online education efforts, but also work develop “mechanisms that effectively incorporate online learning into the fabric and missions of the institutions.”
“It’s now a factual statement that online learning is woven into the fabric of higher education,” Wilson said. “It has grown faster over the last six years than any other sector of higher education … and it will keep growing.”
— Steve Kolowich
© Copyright 2009 Inside Higher Ed
Septiembre 01, 2009
Convocatoria al VII Simposio Internacional sobre Educación y Cultura en Iberoamérica
La Universidad de Ciencias Pedagógicas “Juan Marinello”, de Matanzas, Cuba, convoca a participar en el VIII Simposio Internacional sobre Educación y Cultura en Iberoamérica, a celebrarse del 16 al 20 de marzo del 2010.
En esta edición el evento atenderá como temáticas centrales: el impacto de las tecnologías de la información y las comunicaciones en la educación y la cultura; y, los proyectos educativos y culturales que contribuyan a la formación pertinente de nuestros ciudadanos.
Dr. Elmys Escribano Hervis
INFORMACIÓN EN CUBA:
• Estimular la presentación, el debate y el intercambio de experiencias en el ámbito de las temáticas que se convocan.
• Contribuir a consolidar la colaboración académica entre profesionales e instituciones dedicados a esta problemática.
Educación, cultura e identidad
Formación y perfeccionamiento del personal docente
El proceso de educación en la escuela
La educación artística, enfoques y posiciones teórico –metodológicas.
Historia de la cultura, la educación y pensamiento educativo en Iberoamérica y tendencias actuales.
Significación cultural y educativa de la obra de José Martí.
Escuela, comunidad – sociedad educación y cultura.
Impacto de las TICs en la educación y la cultura. Perspectivas.
ACTIVIDADES DEL PROGRAMA
Se contempla la exposición de ponencias por los participantes, mesas redondas, talleres, conferencias impartidas por prestigiosos especialistas reconocidos internacionalmente. Se ofrecen visitas opcionales a centros culturales de la comunidad, recorrido histórico cultural por la ciudad y otras actividades.
Se brindará espacio para organizar la colaboración y presentación de proyectos de intercambio científico y académico entre instituciones.
La cuota de inscripción será de $100 pesos convertibles cubanos (CUC) para todos los participantes, que incluye la admisión a las sesiones del evento, la matrícula en uno de los cursos impartidos, materiales y constancia de participación. Los pagos se harán efectivos al arribar a la sede del evento.
La solicitud de inscripción deberá ser enviada antes del 15 de febrero del 2010, indicando: Nombre y apellidos, dirección, institución, teléfono, e.mail y FAX. Se podrá, participar en calidad de ponentes u observadores y traer acompañantes. Se deberá enviar directamente la ponencia que tendrá hasta 20 cuartillas será publicada en las memorias, si está en nuestro poder también para el 15 de febrero del 2010
Las agencias de viaje y grupos de personas interesadas en asistir deben contactar a:
Lic. Tamara León Rodrìguez
El Comité Organizador atenderá las solicitudes de aquellas personas que viajen sin estar asociadas a grupos.
Para más información póngase en contacto con nosotros.