July 7 – Higher education round-up

From the Boston Globe:

New research, conducted by two California economics professors, shows that over the past five decades, the number of hours that the average college student studies each week has been steadily dropping.

The NY Times’ Stanley Fish on college students’ faculty evaluations:

If there is a dominant message in the responses to my column about the dangers of relying on student evaluations to assess teacher performance, it is, “It’s worse than you think.”

From the Chicago Tribune:

Sen. Dick Durbin said Wednesday that legislation to strengthen regulation of for-profit schools was ahead, complaining that some of the schools leave students with whopping levels of debt and “worthless diplomas.”While many schools are good, the Illinois Democrat said, others are “raking in huge amounts of federal dollars” while persuading low-income students to mortgage their futures on degrees that will not attract high-paying jobs.

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Some time this fall, the U.S. Education Department will publish a report that documents the death of tenure.

Innocuously titled “Employees in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2009,” the report won’t say it’s about the demise of tenure. But that’s what it will show.

Over just three decades, the proportion of college instructors who are tenured or on the tenure track plummeted: from 57 percent in 1975 to 31 percent in 2007. The new report is expected to show that that proportion fell even further in 2009. If you add graduate teaching assistants to the mix, those with some kind of tenure status represent a mere quarter of all instructors.


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