Dicta

The home of “things said” by the National Association of Scholars.

Problems With Promise Programs

Spencer Kashmanian

Is President Obama's Promise program the solution to increasing access to community college?

The Great California Accreditation War

NAS

NAS Director of Communications David Randall writes about the accreditation struggle in California.

Grade Inflation in Minnesota – Just Like Everywhere Else

Glenn Ricketts

Historian Chuck Chalberg analyzes the factors behind the surfeit of A's students get these days.

Education Is Not a Discipline

Bill Roden

Bill Roden observes that training in education is about method, not substance, and doesn't fit with other academic disciplines.

Capitalism and Western Civilization: Community Colleges

William H. Young

William Young examines the role of Community Colleges in American higher education.

Community College Presidents and Compensation

Glenn Ricketts

Remediating America: On the Consultations of FSG

Peter Wood

Peter Wood observes that the call for extraordinary efforts to improve community college degree-completion rates might benefit consultants more than students.

Education vs. Training at Community Colleges

Jason Fertig

Jeff Anderson, dean of humanities, fine arts, and social sciences at Illinois Valley Community College, argues for the many benefits of great books courses, even for community college students.

The Vocabulary of Virtue

David Clemens

You can’t end racism by practicing racism, even when you pretend it is virtuous.

California Dreamin'

David Clemens

David Clemens laments the latest announcement from California's commnuity college system.

Students as Customers: If They Can't Write, They're Still Right

John C. Chalberg

John C. Chalberg examines the consumer mentality that's largely taken over the community college where he teaches.

Check Out This Alternative to College

Charlotte Allen

As larger numbers of unprepared students head for college and leave without completing a degree, Charlotte Allen describes an educational response that may provide a viable alternative.

College Debt and Colleges' Extravagance

Glenn Ricketts

Why is there such ballooning debt among so many new college graduates? 

Subway Ride

Peter Wood

Peter Wood comments on colleges’ hard sell to underprepared students.

Video: Higher Education an Anti-Thrift Institution?

Peter Wood raises the issue of universities' bad stewardship at a recent event in New York.

New York Association of Scholars Statement to the CUNY Board

NAS’s New York affiliate believes a CUNY resolution intended to help community college students transfer to four-year schools has the unintended consequence of severely undermining academic standards.

They're Mad as Hell: Grad Students Face Job Market

Jonathan Bean

As the academic job market worsens (was it ever good?), graduate students are angry, according to an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Don't expect a protest march in the streets burning Ph.D. gowns, but the blinkered view of some tenured faculty about the job market must drive a grad student nuts. 

No Room in Community Colleges

Ashley Thorne

Nearly a third of community college students were unable to enroll in one or more classes last semester because they were full, according to a new national survey.

Second Guesses in Tucson

Glenn Ricketts

There's a piece in today's Inside Higher Education raising the question of whether more could have been done to prevent the recent shooting rampage in Arizona, that left six dead. In my experience, not untypical of community colleges, I've seen a fair number of students who come because they don't know what else to do, others from dysfunctional family backgrounds, as well as those with drug problems, debt problems, antisocial problems, etc., along with a very tiny few who were a little scary. But I've never seen any potential homicidal psychotics, and haven't figured out how I'd spot one before he actually opened fire.

Rush Through College

David Clemens

In Community Collegeland, it’s transfer time as students nervously polish their apps and recs, teetering on the brink of the future.

CCAP: 5 Lower Cost Alternatives to Help Reduce the Price of College

Ashley Thorne

Our friends at the Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP) have released the first in a 5-part, book-length report called "25 Ways to Reduce the Cost of College." NAS applauds this initiative and looks forward to reading the report in its entirety.  Peter Wood recently blogged about how colleges transform increases in federal student aid into higher tuition and fees. And we join with those who predict that either (a) the higher education bubble will burst or (b) the college degree will become a nearly empty credential. What can we do to forestall these unwelcome outcomes? The CCAP has some ideas. The first part of its report is "Use Lower Cost Alternatives." 1. Encourage more students to attend community college 2. Promote Dual Enrollment Programs 3. Reform Academic Employment Policies 4. Offer Three Year Bachelor's Degrees 5. Outsource More Services Click on the links to read each section.

Praise for Raritan Valley Community College

Ashley Thorne

Andrew Hacker, co-author of Higher Education? How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids—And What We Can Do About It, has great things to say about a college near and dear to us:

One of the 10 schools we liked was Raritan Valley Community College, which has a very good two-year liberal arts program. Small classes, dedicated teachers, and you discover students (you wouldn’t believe it) who are interesting and interested. After two years at Raritan, you can transfer to any larger university and actually have a better first two years than you would have at, let’s say, Michigan State where you’re in a lecture class listening to a PowerPoint with 500 other students.

Our own Glenn Ricketts, public relations director at NAS, teaches political science at RVCC. Great job, Glenn!

For Some People, Community Colleges Are Better

Ashley Thorne

According to The Chronicle this afternoon:

An overwhelming majority of Americans say it is better for some students to go to community colleges instead of four-year colleges and universities, according to a poll released today by the Associated Press and Stanford University. Respondents also said community colleges were "good" or "excellent" at almost the same rate as four-year colleges.

Who Should Go to College?

Glenn Ricketts

That question seems to be on the minds of many higher education watchers these days, and there's an interesting round-table discussion of it over at today's Chronicle of Higher Education. Ashley Thorne also took the measure of it last week when she cited a slew of articles whose authors think too many current college students don't belong there. That's undoubtedly true, but why is it true? From where I'm looking in, not only should many students not matriculate in colleges, they should never have been given their high school dilplomas either. Unfortunately, self-esteem based pedagogy, legions of special education support staff, litigation-minded parents and the presence of a community college in the vicinity, with its open admissions policies, all load the odds heavily in favor of turning out lots of dismally unprepared students. As the numbers of such students increase and the colleges they attend view them as customers to be kept satisfied, the pressure to dilute educational standards continues to work its way upward. As a result, we have one huge mess, from K-12 through the entire collegiate experience. How about this: instead of asking who should attend college, why not consider what educators at that level should demand of all students, irrespective of any other considerations?

Reflections of a Community College Professor

John C. Chalberg

We present the reflections of John C. “Chuck” Chalberg, professor of American history for more than thirty years at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Student Loans Turn You Into a College Zombie

Ashley Thorne

In praise of choosing community college: http://www.collegezombies.com/ (3-minute video) Compare with "Why It's Worth It to Send My Kid to Yale"  at Huffington Post

Community Colleges: A Brief History

Glenn Ricketts

As community colleges are recognized now more than ever as a permanent and indispensable sector of the American higher educational system, NAS opens a new series exploring their role today.

A Safer Way to Squander

Ashley Thorne

President Obama announces the American Graduation Initiative, a $12 billion dollar fund for community colleges.

Congratulations to NEH Enduring Questions Grant Winner

Ashley Thorne

Bruce Gans, pioneer of the Great Books movement at community colleges, receives national recognition for his pilot course on the question "What is freedom?"

Undowments: Higher Education Goes for Broke

Peter Wood