Restating American Higher Education as a Public Good


There has been a good deal of discussion lately on America’s college campuses about how to strengthen the reputation of an institution.

Much of the conversation focuses on the decision by the Obama administration to publish a consumer scorecard to help applicants and their families better understand their choices, relying in part on an intensified examination of outputs like persistence, graduation rates, and employment after graduation.

This “scorecard” debate illustrates the deeper conversation about how America’s colleges and universities build their reputation.  It is often said that it takes a long time to establish a reputation and even longer to lose it.  Yet the direction of an institution— influenced by the governance group of trustees, administration and faculty — is to protect, consolidate, and strengthen what already exists.

Most presidents, board chairs, trustees, administrators and faculty have participated in numerous meetings where these debates rage.  The prevailing attitude is, as…

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About @NatM4Equity

The National Mobilization for Equity is a coalition of organizations committed to alleviating the present staffing crisis in higher education: three-quarters of the teaching jobs in American colleges are held by underpaid, precarious and poorly-supported contingent faculty. Our long-term goal is to end contingency as the norm. The current untenable situation not only adversely affects all faculty members, both contingent and tenure-track, it also negatively impacts our profession, our students and the quality of their education.

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