Cheaper! Faster! Better?

In the wake of the nation’s financial hard times, calls for accountability and affordability permeated most industries, including higher education. The buzz hit academia on several fronts, especially in the area of bang-for-the-buck.

Political and societal trends toward viewing university education as a measurable, comparable commodity prompted calls for standardized units of value. “Consumers” of education, and their parents, are advised to evaluate Universities by considering ROI. Rather like shopping for cereal in a supermarket, reading labels, carefully considering calories, nutritional content, and cost per ounce—today’s prospective students can  shop the internet, and if some lawmakers have their way, students will be able to compare far more than cost per credit hour.

While attempts to distill the value of classroom activity to dollars are problematic, it seems inevitable that we must measure and communicate the worth of the teaching and learning experience in the courses we teach. But what form should that measurement take as we try to keep the focus on student learning?

 SMU already answers many common critiques about higher ed through high-quality, in-person teaching.  But can we do better? CTE will host a half-day symposium to address these challenges and how to meet them on February 22nd. More information will be distributed soon about Higher Ed in the Crosshairs: Can Excellent Teaching Save the University?

About Barbara Whitehead

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