WATER COOLER [POLITICS & POLICY]
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General has released the results of a much anticipated high-stakes audit of Western Governors University, with negative findings that could threaten the large online university and, more broadly, the growing field of competency-based education.
Citing concerns about an inadequate faculty role -- which the competency-based university contests -- the inspector general called for the department to make WGU pay back at least $713 million in federal financial aid.
The final audit report, issued today, also said the nonprofit university, which enrolls 83,000 students, should be ineligible to receive any more federal aid payments.
While the state of the nation’s current higher education accreditation systems has many education advocates concerned, a Seton Hall professor writes in a new report that any federal legislative changes could be difficult.
“There’s a lot of dissatisfaction with the current accreditation system, in terms of the speed at which it operates and in terms of quality, but moving to a new system will not be easy.” Robert Kelchen, an assistant professor of higher education at Seton Hall University said.
Lynn University announced it has signed an agreement to purchase the assets of Digital Media Arts College (DMAC). Lynn will begin to offer DMAC’s programs in combination with similar Lynn programs to provide both theory and technology to prepare students for careers in a quickly changing market.
With the expanded offerings, Lynn’s College of International Communication will become the Eugene M. and Christine E. Lynn College of Communication and Design. Programs will include graphic and web design, game art, animation, visual effects, advertising, public relations, multimedia journalism, and film and television.
The agreement, which is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary conditions, allows Lynn to add new programs, faculty, technology and facilities. DMAC students will gain access to additional academic majors and enhanced student services on Lynn’s campus including student housing, 24/7 dining, health and wellness facilities, recreation center and career center.
oday’s student population is older, busier and more price-conscious than ever before, creating the conditions for a massive surge in demand for online education. This surge is benefitting colleges and universities as well, providing a pathway to grow revenue and enrollments from demographics they would have otherwise had trouble serving. However, sustained success in the online environment requires more than courses—it requires an entire infrastructure supporting academic and administrative staff as well as a new population of students with different needs and expectations than those of the traditional 18- to 22-year-old population. In this interview, Kimberly Phifer-McGhee reflects on the decision to launch NCCU Online at North Carolina Central University and shares her thoughts on how she and her colleagues are building an infrastructure to support long-term success in the online space.