Mission and Money: Understanding the University

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The instructional costs of the faculty members who teach and the administrative costs of the people who manage online courses and programs may be part of the balance sheet for departmental and institutional online initiatives. But too often the other direct costs of the instructional support staff people who help move syllabi into online formats and who provide additional assistance to students and faculty members and the technology infrastructure required to support online courses are not fully charged against the revenues for online education programs.

The emergence of MOOCs has been and will continue to be a catalyst for more discussions among presidents, provosts, trustees, deans, accrediting agency officials, and others about the quality of MOOC courses, the value of MOOC certificates, and the potential threat that MOOCs offered by elite institutions and their partners like Coursera and Udacity might pose to other segments and sectors.

These new conversations are likely to focus on several questions:. Moreover, because MOOCs are, at present, free to students and generate no revenue for the institution, offering MOOCS will not provide a short- or mid-term path to significant new tuition revenues. Consequently, the key questions that board members, presidents, and provosts confront in the conversation about MOOCs really involve certification and credit:.

In fact, over the short term and midterm, the main policy issue confronting most institutions regarding MOOCs will be to accept or not accept their certificates for course credit. Similar issues will soon confront employers, who will no doubt be perplexed when job applicants present their MOOC certificates and college transcripts as part of their educational credentials.

And a big question about MOOC credit is if the course inventory of MOOCs complements, supplements, or competes with the current on-campus and online course catalog. For most institutions, MOOC courses—currently focused on higher-end science, engineering, and entrepreneurship—might supplement the course catalog. In this context, many colleges and universities may find policy precedents for MOOC credit in the way they assess AP courses, summer courses taken at another institution, or transfer courses.

But other issues loom large. For example, what happens when one or more of the MOOC providers begin to serve as a clearinghouse for core typically large enrollment undergraduate courses in introductory accounting, biology, economics, sociology, or other disciplines? At present, most multi-campus systems grant significant autonomy to individual institutions and departments to develop their own courses, both online and campus-based.

In other words, multi-campus systems typically exercise little if any central control over the content or the assessment of the introductory anthropology, economics, or psychology courses taught at any of their campuses. However, the emergence of MOOCs may be a catalyst for multi-campus systems to assert greater authority over the development of multiple online courses for the same subject.

Overcoming an Almost Impossible Challenge

Individual institutions and departments might retain autonomy over traditional, campus-based courses, but the system would mandate the content and assessment of that single online widgets course. Perhaps most important, trustees must understand that MOOCs really are just one point—if an admittedly large and very visible one—on the continuum of online education. The current publicity about large initial enrollments notwithstanding, MOOCs do not, at present, offer a quick and easy path to new revenues.

Consequently, board members would do well to discuss the impact of MOOCs at their institutions in the context of their strategic goals and the current or future role of online education.

The fundamental questions boards should be asking include:. Campus officials and board members who want to develop or expand online education efforts would do well to take a long-term, strategic view of issues and opportunities. For media inquiries, please contact us here. Privacy Policy. Hit enter to search or ESC to close. What is a MOOC? The Cash-Certification-Credit Conundrum The emergence of MOOCs has been and will continue to be a catalyst for more discussions among presidents, provosts, trustees, deans, accrediting agency officials, and others about the quality of MOOC courses, the value of MOOC certificates, and the potential threat that MOOCs offered by elite institutions and their partners like Coursera and Udacity might pose to other segments and sectors.

Could we MOOC? If we build a MOOC, who would come? Would anyone come? How would offering MOOCs serve the institutional mission? Would offering MOOCs generate any new net revenue for the institution? How would offering MOOCs complement, supplement, or compete with our current or the absence of a current institutional strategy for online education?

Assuming we can assess prior learning, should we give course credit to students who have completed a MOOC?

Transforming university finances | McKinsey

And if so, for what courses and from which MOOCs? The fundamental questions boards should be asking include: Why are we online? Is the movement to or expansion of online education consistent with the institutional mission? Does and will it serve and advance the institutional mission? Or is the key issue in the discussion about online education—including any conversations about MOOCs—money?


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How do we assess quality —that of our own online offerings and those of others, including the MOOCs? What will it take to achieve our objectives in terms of online learning —including human and financial capital, content expertise, the political will to change, and many other concerns? This act required each state to show that race was not an admissions criterion, or else to designate a separate land-grant institution for persons of color.

Though the Act granted cash instead of land, it granted colleges under that act the same legal standing as the Act colleges; hence the term "land-grant college" properly applies to both groups. Later on, other colleges such as the University of the District of Columbia and the " land-grant colleges" for Native Americans were also awarded cash by Congress in lieu of land to achieve "land-grant" status.

In imitation of the land-grant colleges' focus on agricultural and mechanical research, Congress later established programs of sea grant colleges aquatic research, in , space grant colleges space research, in , and sun grant colleges sustainable energy research, in West Virginia State University , a historically black university, is the only current land-grant university to have lost land-grant status when desegregation cost it its state funding in and then subsequently regained it, which happened in The land-grant college system has been seen as a major contributor in the faster growth rate of the US economy that led to its overtaking the United Kingdom as economic superpower , according to research by faculty from the State University of New York.

The three-part mission of the land-grant university continues to evolve in the twenty-first century. What originally was described as "teaching, research, and service" was renamed "learning, discovery, and engagement" by the Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land-Grant Universities, and again recast as "talent, innovation, and place" by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities APLU.

The Farmers' High School of Pennsylvania later to become The Pennsylvania State University followed as a state agricultural land-grant school on February 22 of that year. Michigan State and Penn State were subsequently designated as the federal land-grant colleges for their states in Older state universities — such as the University of Georgia , which was established with a grant of land in — were also funded through the use of state land grants. The mission of the land-grant universities was expanded by the Hatch Act of , which provided federal funds to states to establish a series of agricultural experiment stations under the direction of each state's land-grant college, as well as pass along new information, especially in the areas of soil minerals and plant growth.

The outreach mission was further expanded by the Smith—Lever Act of to include cooperative extension —the sending of agents into rural areas to help bring the results of agricultural research to the end users. Beyond the original land grants, each land-grant college receives annual federal appropriations for research and extension work on the condition that those funds are matched by state funds.

While today's land-grant universities were initially known as land-grant colleges , only a few of the more than 70 institutions that developed from the Morrill Acts retain "College" in their official names; most are universities. In , 29 tribal colleges and universities became land-grant institutions under the Improving America's Schools Act of As of , 32 tribal colleges and universities have land-grant status.

Most of these colleges grant two-year degrees.


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  • Six are four-year institutions, and two offer a master's degree. Land-grant universities are not to be confused with sea grant colleges a program instituted in , space grant colleges instituted in , or sun grant colleges instituted in From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article needs additional citations for verification.

    Mission Money Understanding University by Burton Weisbrod Evelyn Asch Jeffrey, First Edition

    Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Iowa State University. Archived from the original on 13 May Retrieved 9 July

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