Tuesday, September 30, 2014

UO, professor fight over reading test

Register Guard
September 30th, 2014

In a legal set-to, the University of Oregon, a UO associate professor and a former employee are fighting over who owns — and can profit from — a reading test used at 15,000 schools with 4 million students nationwide.
All sides agree that the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills — or DIBELS — had its origins at the university and has been used and tinkered on by many UO professors, graduate students and researchers.
The question is: Who does DIBELS (rhymes with dribbles) belong to now?
Associate Professor Roland Good and former graduate student and one-time UO employee Ruth Kaminski formed a company and took out a trademark and copyright on DIBELS in 2003.
One decade later, the UO asked the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to cancel Good and Kaminski’s trademark.
“The university will defend its intellectual property rights, which are public property, to the fullest extent of the law,” UO spokeswoman Julie Brown said in a prepared statement.
That federal trademark case, however, was suspended recently after Good and Kaminski’s company — Dynamic Measurements Group Inc. — sued the UO in U.S. District Court in Eugene, alleging trademark and copyright infringement.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Comparing Oregon colleges by cost, student debt, enrollment numbers and more: Interactive graphics

September 26th, 2014

It's been a painfully expensive 10 years for Oregon college students and their families. They've taken out more than $12 billion in federal student loans since the 2003-04 academic year.
The Oregonian is publishing an occasional series, "Era of extreme debt," examining rising student debt and the chokehold it has on students, the universities and community colleges they attend and the state's overall economy.

The accompanying charts offer vivid graphic evidence of the higher education boom that lasted much of the last decade and a dramatic slowdown at many institutions in the last two years. The chart is interactive, allowing you you to track enrollment, tuition rates, annual borrowing by students and loan default rates at 35 of the state's major colleges.

Ballot measure would make college more affordable: Guest opinion

The Oregonian
September 25th, 2014

Measure 86 is a simple and responsible plan to make it easier for Oregon students to afford Oregon universities and community colleges, reduce student debt and support vocational and technical job training at the community college level.
National studies confirm what Oregon employers are telling us: Advanced education and technical job training are becoming more important than ever in our skills-based economy. People with a college education or equivalent job training earn far more over the course of their careers than people without. The gap is large and growing.
Yet when it comes to connecting young Oregonians with the education and skills they need, Oregon is moving in the wrong direction and leaving too many lower-income and middle-class students behind. We do so at the peril of our state's long-term economic competitiveness.
Consider the facts: The price paid by students and their families to attend Oregon institutions of higher education has increased over 50 percent during a recent eight year period. Student debt in Oregon increased 25 percent over a recent four-year period. For every five financially qualified applicants for Oregon Opportunity Grants, only a single one, on average, receives financial support. Funding fluctuates so much from year to year that a student may get aid one year but not the next, leading many to take on more debt or even drop out.

Oregon student debt doubles in a decade, colleges increasingly dependent on borrowed money

The Oregonian
September 25th, 2014

Dean Wright, a junior at Western Oregon University this fall, is an invaluable commodity in today's Oregon -- a bright, ambitious kid from decidedly modest means determined to transcend his hardscrabble background.
After two years at community college and a long, hot summer washing cars at a Volkswagen dealership on McLoughlin Boulevard, the 20-year Milwaukie native feels like his college career is finally beginning in earnest.
If all goes as planned, he'll become a middle-school history teacher, ascend into the middle class, pay his taxes and buy his share of stuff to make the economy hum.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Free community college: Coming soon to Oregon?

USA Today
September 19th, 2014

Oregon lawmakers are currently exploring a proposal that could make community college free to the state’s residents.
In 2011, the state set a so-called “40-40-20” goal, which declares that by 2025, 40% of adults will have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher, 40% will have earned an associate degree or post-secondary credential, and 20% will have earned a high school diploma or the equivalent.
The free community college program would be one way lawmakers could meet that goal.
 Ben Cannon, executive director of the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC), says that although the Commission “has not yet made a formal recommendation” to the legislature, HECC is “excited about this attention to college affordability.”
“This would raise awareness and hope with youth in Oregon about their ability to access community college education,” Cannon writes in an email. “(W)e want to increase the number of Oregonians starting and completing degree and certificate programs in order to prepare for the 21st century economy.”
HECC, at the behest of the Oregon Legislature, contracted The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) to develop the financial model for the proposal.

'Free' community college in Oregon wouldn't actually be free

The Oregonian
September 18th, 2014

If Oregon enacts a program to give free community college to some or many young adults who want it, it wouldn't actually be free for students.
They and their families would be expected to chip in first -- in most cases with thousands and thousands of dollars a year.
Higher education expert Dennis Jones, who is helping Oregon shape a plan to get more Oregonians to earn college credentials by easing the sticker shock of college, made it clear in his presentation to the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday that "free" college wouldn't be free.
Oregon's governor and Legislature want to dramatically increase the share of Oregon adults who earn college degrees and credentials. The 2013 Legislature voted to study offering two years of free community college as one way to accomplish that.
Jones, who is president of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, and some Oregon higher education officials have spent a lot of time considering how no-cost community college might work in Oregon.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ballot measure would create college aid fund

Statesman Journal
September 13th, 2014

Students are facing a rising loan burden, and Oregon's state treasurer wants the state to be able to take on debt of its own to help them out.
Ted Wheeler proposed a little-known measure that will appear on the November ballot. Measure 86 would amend the state constitution, creating an endowment that could be used only for student financial aid. It would also allow the state to take on debt to fill the kitty. He wants to start with $100 million.
Oregon's college tuition is high, and state support for financial aid is low compared with other states, Wheeler said.
"A lot of low-income and middle-class students are being shut out of education and job-training opportunities at exactly the time when employers are telling us that advanced education and training are more important than ever and will continue to be more important in the future," Wheeler said.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

University of Oregon takes new tack in search for next president

September 12th, 2014

The search for a new president of the University of Oregon will be a marked departure for the school, conducted largely in private and run largely by the chairman of the new board of trustees.
It will be marked by recruiting people who may not be thinking of themselves as the university president, Chairman Chuck Lillis said as the board voted 12-1 on Thursday to approve the plans he drew up.
"There's a pretty good chance that the person we think is terrific isn't looking for a job, and we may have to convince them that this is where they should land," he said.
The plans give Lillis much of the authority for the search. For example, he alone has power to rank and eliminate finalists, The Register-Guard in Eugene reported.
In the last two searches, in 2008 and 2011, the state appointed broadly representative search committees of 21 to 25 members, who shared the responsibility of identifying, vetting, interviewing and forwarding candidates.
Lillis said the university needs a new approach because of a host of factors, including the "churn of presidents."

Monday, September 15, 2014

The real crisis in public education: Guest opinion

The Oregonian
September 14th, 2014

With all eyes on the governor's race this fall, incumbent John Kitzhaber is touting his record in reforming public education.  The good doctor has misdiagnosed the patient. Oregon's education system suffers not from a poverty of policy, but from a poverty of investment.
Years of budget cuts in K-12 education have given Oregon one of the shortest school years in the country.  Disinvestment has caused the explosion of class sizes—also one of the nation's highest.  Inadequate investment has led to layoffs of teachers, librarians, custodians, counselors, administrators and other school personnel.
Oregon's higher education system fares no better. Its restructuring by the governor's misnamed Oregon Education Investment Board has failed to resolve the many challenges students, faculty and administrators confront. Soaring college tuition; growing student debt (now estimated at $1.2 trillion nationally); the overuse of adjunct and part-time faculty; and cutbacks of student services, especially for first-generation and low-income students, are a few of the many issues higher education faces.

Who Gets to Decide?

Inside Higher Ed
September 15th, 2014

As the University of Oregon begins to look for its sixth president in seven years, faculty and staff union leaders say they are being blocked from having much say in the new search.
The public university last week approved a presidential search plan that union leaders say excludes their representatives and members from the search. Their concern is heightened because the new search is the first undertaken by the public university since it became more independent from the state. Before, its ultimate overseer was a statewide board. On July 1, it began to operate under its own Board of Trustees.
Oregon has had high turnover in its top spot. Its latest president, Michael Gottfredson, resigned in August after two years on the job. Provost Scott Coltrane is serving as interim president.
At a meeting last week, Board of Trustees Chairman Chuck Lillis, a Colorado businessman with some experience in higher ed, laid out a search plan that critics say is too secretive and excludes union representatives — and that gives Lillis himself too much say.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Free community college could cost Oregon taxpayers $250 million a year, yield 100,000 two-year degrees

The Oregonian
September 12th, 2014

A proposal to make community college free to Oregonians would cost the state from $10 million to $250 million a year, depending on which students are eligible and whether room and board are covered, national experts have concluded.
Oregon's governor and legislature want to dramatically increase the proportion of Oregon adults who earn college degrees and credentials. The 2013 Legislature voted to study offering two years of free community college as one way to accomplish that.
Oregon's Higher Education Coordinating Commission completed that study, mostly by relying on experts at the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, and forwarded it to the Legislature Thursday.
One big question: If the state opted to make community college free, would it pay the full cost for students to attend, including room and board, or would it only fund tuition and fees?

Oregon's tuition-free 'Pay It Forward' college finance plan should take a back seat to other priorities, commission says

The Oregonian
September 12th, 2014

Oregon's Higher Education Coordinating Commission reiterated its position on Oregon's controversial tuition-free 'Pay It Forward' college finance proposal Thursday:
Pay It Forward should take a back seat to $150 million worth of other proposals to vastly expand state-paid financial aid and shore up operations of public universities and community colleges.
Pay It Forward, as fleshed out by a work group over many months of work, to allow students to attend college tuition-free, then repay a tiny percentage of their after-college earnings over the next 20 years into a pool that would fund other students' tuition.
In a formal letter to the legislature finalized Thursday, the commission called the Pay It Forward plan "worthy" and praised several of its strengths: It appeals to middle class families who don't qualify for federal grants; some students fare better under income-based repayment plans; and after a couple decades during which the Legislature would have to pony up millions per year, the plan would become wholly or largely self-funding.

Lillis: New presidential hunt plan needed

The Register Guard
September 12th, 2014

Saying the University of Oregon requires a different kind of presidential search this time, Board of Trustees Chairman Chuck Lillis has advanced a search plan that he wrote and that reserves broad powers for himself — and a select group of others.
Lillis gave himself the authority to conduct the search with an “assist” from a 14-member committee weighted with trustees and administrators.
A second 12-member committee that includes some UO students and office workers will be allowed to provide “relevant perspectives and insights,” according to Lillis’ plan, which he unveiled Thursday at a trustees meeting in Eugene.
Lillis included a “code of conduct” that prohibits anybody but himself — and the chairwoman of the “assist” committee — to comment publicly on the presidential search, not even on the search timeline.
Lillis alone will be allowed to rank and even eliminate finalists, according to the plan he wrote.
By law, however, any presidential hire would need the approval of the 13-member, governor-appointed UO Board of Trustees.
After some tinkering, the trustees approved Lillis’ plan 12-1 on Thursday. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Degree inflation shuts many out of jobs: Catherine Rampell

September 10th, 2014

You've heard of grade inflation? Welcome to the world of degree inflation.
A new report finds that employers are increasingly requiring a bachelor's degree for positions that didn't used to require baccalaureate education. A college degree, in other words, is becoming the new high school diploma: the minimum credential required to get even the most basic, entry-level job.
The report is from Burning Glass, a labor market analytics company that mines millions of online job postings. The company found that a wide range of jobs -- in management, administration, sales and other fields -- are undergoing "upcredentialing," or degree inflation. As examples, just 25 percent of people employed as insurance clerks have a BA, but twice that percentage of insurance-clerk job ads require one. Among executive secretaries and executive assistants, 19 percent of job-holders have degrees, but 65 percent of job postings mandate them.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Can textbook costs be controlled?

The Boston Globe
September 7th, 2014

Judging by the stories I hear from my parents’ friends, college students in the 1970s managed to spend more money on beer than on books. For today’s college students to pull off a feat like that, they’d need deep pockets and a taste for expensive beer.
That’s because the cost of college textbooks is out of control. Between 2002 and 2012, their prices rose by 82 percent, according to the Government Accountability Office. (Prices are up 812 percent since 1978, more than three times the rise in the consumer price index). Today, college students pay more than $1,200 on average for books and supplies every year. It’s piling an outrageous financial burden onto an educational process that’s already burying my generation in debt.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

College in a Box

Slate Magazine
September 4th, 2014

This summer, Chad Mason signed up for online general psychology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. This spring, Jonathan Serrano took intro to psychology online at Essex County College in Newark, New Jersey.
Though the two undergraduates were separated by more than 600 miles, enrolled in different institutions, and paying different tuitions, they were taking what amounts to the same course. That’s because the course wasn’t produced by either school. Instead, it was a sophisticated package devised by publishing giant Pearson PLC and delivered through a powerful online platform called MyPsychLab.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Oregon's "Pay It Forward" proposal falters: Higher Education Roundup

September 2nd, 2014

 An innovative Oregon plan to allow college students to defer paying tuition until after they graduate and begin a career has failed to gain support from the state's higher education board.
 The panel said Oregon has much more important things to spend its money on, including an expansion of need-based financial aid and bolstering  community college and university operations, than to launch a ground-breaking but potentially unworkable tuition-free "Pay It Forward" plan, the Oregonian reported.
Pay It Forward would allow students to attend college tuition-free in exchange for paying back a predetermined, fixed share of their income for an extended period after leaving college.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Will Oregon Be The Next State To Worsen College Affordability?

Septemeber 2nd, 2014

Of late, higher education is abuzz with the question, “Will Oregon Be the First State with a College Trust Fund?” For those who care about college affordability in the long term, there are plenty of reasons to hope not.
A recent piece on the topic begins by noting that major universities work to build large endowments in part to fund scholarships for worthy applicants with financial need. It asks, “Should states do the same?” This fall, Oregon will decide. The “Opportunity Initiative” has been proposed for the state’s November ballot. It would set up an “ongoing investment trust fund for higher education,” authorizing Oregon to issue bonds in order to begin the fund, the proceeds from which would be devoted entirely to funding state scholarships.