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Taking the Pulse of a Class

Teachers unhappy with student evaluations given at the end of each semester—reportedly subject to various forms of bias—may want to have a look at new technology allowing frequent student input via their cell phones. Have a look at this article in Inside Higher Ed., by Colleen Flaherty. She describes two free apps in detail, and […]

Developmental Education: A Primer for Lawmakers

You may have noticed that incumbent legislators and candidates are often ill-informed about issues concerning community and technical college educators. For one thing, we don’t get much media coverage, and our colleagues at universities and in the public schools attract more attention (much of it bad). The public generally is very supportive of community colleges, […]

Mass Shootings and Compromise

Various reports indicate that the massacre at a Parkland, Florida, high school school may be a tipping point for serious discussions on how to prevent further bloodshed. Most political leaders bring up tighter controls on gun purchases or better mental health services and campus security. An interesting conversation may be commencing between Sen. John Cornyn […]

Should Advising Be Outsourced?

With all the emphasis on student engagement and enhanced advising (see yesterday’s post, for instance), it is not surprising that at least one college has considered outsourcing “student coaching services,” as Austin Community College put it in an announcement for proposals. ACC decided against the move, as reported by Ralph K.M. Haurwitz, in the Austin American-Statesman. Please […]

“Show Me the Way”

Student advising used to involve simply helping students choose courses and make out a schedule once each semester. To put it mildly, the role of advisors is changing. Newer forms of advising involve much more mentoring, tutoring, and “coaching,” with frequent visits with students, face-to-face and online. Conversations now dig deeper into student aspirations and […]

Dual Credit Programs Cause Financial Concerns

We are all familiar with pedagogical concerns associated with the expansion of dual credit programs, due to a law passed in 2015. But at least one college district, the Alamo Colleges, is experiencing financial problems because of dual credit. Please have a look at this article in the San Antonio Express-News by Alia Malik. For one […]

Dropping the D

Stanly Community College, in North Carolina, has stopped awarding the grade of D to students. The move was supported by faculty members concerned about transfers to universities, which often do not accept Ds for required courses. The practice depends upon the receiving institution, creating uncertainty. The decision is covered by Ashley Smith, in Inside Higher […]

“Teaching Evaluations Are a Mess”

It is almost unthinkable that colleges and universities would stop using student evaluations of teachers, but if you want an argument for doing so, please have a look at an article by Victor Ray, a professor at the University of Tennessee, in Inside Higher Ed. At issue primarily is bias—involving gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and […]

Scalable Success

It’s not hard to find reports, here and elsewhere, about pilot programs and experiments at community colleges that improve the success rates of students. However, it’s more problematic when you try to go large. The closest we come to scalable strategies here in Texas might be Guided Pathways and outcomes-based funding. We might also consider […]

Humanities Majors Do Well in Life

You know the stereotype: An idealistic young person majors in art history or philosophy, piling up student loans along the way. After graduation, he or she ends up working at Starbuck’s or Taco Bell (fine establishments), living with the parents, holding forth on Picasso or Plato while bitterly watching TV in the basement. Well, those […]