Last spring, I wrote about Senator Elizabeth Warren’s college financing proposal for the San Francisco Chronicle. This week, I analyzed for The Conversation former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent proposal to double the maximum Pell Grant as a way of increasing college affordability. The two have taken very different approaches, and assuming they both stay in the race as viable candidates for the Democratic nomination, it will be interesting to see the attention each proposal receives.
U.S. News & World Report released its annual compendium of rankings of undergraduate colleges and universities across the nation last week. This is usually an eagerly-awaited event at many institutions around the country, and one with which most of us in leadership positions have a love-hate relationship. On the one hand, we all decry how the process attempts to reduce what are in most cases large, complex, and multi-mission institutions into a single number. On the other, we all recognize the attention it generates and the potential impact it can have on the decisions of millions of college-going students.
I’ll cut to the chase and the news everyone is most interested in – USF maintained its top 100 position from the prior year, dropping just one spot from tied for #96 last year to tied for #97. But like the proverbial duck on the surface of the water, this small change masks a lot what is happening below the surface.
The 2020 campaign for president is already heating up, and the Democratic field includes almost two dozen candidates. One of them, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, recently unleashed a widely-covered proposal offering “free college” and elimination of student debt for millions of Americans. In an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle, I analyzed why Warren’s proposal is not in the best interests of the nation.
Like many universities, during the spring semester USF announces its tuition and fee rates for the following academic year and sends the announcement to continuing students (as well as the parents of undergraduate students). This year, we received a lot of pushback from students because we had not included information about why tuition was going up next year. A grassroots group of students formed and mounted a protest during our Board of Trustees meeting earlier this month. Our student newspaper, The San Francisco Foghorn, published an op-ed and staff editorial complaining about the lack of transparency. Continue reading “The reasons behind tuition increases”
As so often happens in the digital age, the news came first via an alert on my cell phone. “Shooting at Pittsburgh synagogue, fatalities reported.” I was in Connecticut that Saturday morning, sitting in a hotel room with my wife, getting ready to celebrate my mother’s 97th birthday with my family. The name Tree of Life Synagogue sounded familiar, so I asked my wife if she remembered if that was the synagogue where we had attended the Bat Mitzvahs of the daughters of very close friends of ours some years earlier.
Continue reading “On Charlottesville, and Squirrel Hill, and . . .”
This week the Pew Research Center issued a report on the public’s view of higher education in the United States, and the news is not good. The Pew report builds on a similar survey conducted last year, which also found a lack of support for the nation’s colleges and universities.
Continue reading “Public support for higher education is in trouble again (part 1)”
I spent much time the last couple of weeks following the sentencing hearing of former Michigan State University professor and doctor Larry Nassar. I was watching from the perspective of having been associated with now a second university embroiled in a sexual abuse scandal, having worked at Michigan State before coming to USF, and before that, at Penn State University when the Sandusky scandal broke there. This week I wrote an op-ed in The Chronicle of Higher Education about my experience at these two institutions, and what it tells us about the responsibility of university leaders.
The competing House and Senate tax reform bills are large, complex, and often difficult to understand. The Senate bill, for example, is a 479-page document that was passed early in the morning last Saturday and that included last-minute, hand-written passages as shown to the right. There are numerous parts of each bill that have a large impact on colleges and universities in the country, as well as their students. One estimate calculated after the House bill was passed is that if enacted into law, it would cost students and their families $71 billion over the next ten years. Now that both chambers have passed bills, a conference committee will try to hash out the differences and agree on one bill to be passed by both the House and Senate and sent on to President Trump to be signed into law. Continue reading “Tax reform that harms graduate students and university employees”
In the heavily-politicized and racially-charged environment in which our nation finds itself today, I suppose it is not surprising that some observers would seize upon a program like the University of San Francisco’s Black Student Orientation and criticize it as promoting segregation, or providing a benefit from which other students are excluded.