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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