Dean Dad points out the possible downside

Of basing funding on graduation rates--if an institution takes the quick and dirty route.  Of course, I don't expect legitimate institutions to turn to the darkside. 

In an interesting development tied to Dad's posting, I saw that the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) is looking for the following positions (1) Associate Vice Chancellor, Adult Education, (2) Assistant Dean, Adult Education, and (3) Adult Education Manager.  With adult education so crucial to the evaluation of the CCC presidents, it's no wonder they want their own folks in these jobs. It's a great opportunity for the right continuing educator.  He or she would certainly have support from the top.

Of course, funding in Tennessee is now based on outcomes instead of enrollment, but graduation is just one of the outcomes.  It is the one folks care the most about, however.  And the one the legislators will keep their eyes on.

Basing It All on Graduation Rates

The Presidents of the Chicago area community colleges will keep or lose their jobs based on the graduation rates at their respective colleges.
This is an awful and great idea. I’d hate to be in their shoes, though.

The greatness of the idea is that it moves necessary changes from “gee, we really should...” to “we have to do this NOW.” The culture of higher ed is good at footdragging and terrible at saying “no” to incumbents. Some level of urgency is probably required if those cultural defaults are to be overridden.

That said, though, it could go wrong very easily.

It wouldn’t take much. Colleges could start outsourcing the most difficult students into Adult Basic Ed programs, cutting off second chances, and placing none-too-subtle pressure on faculty to grade generously. They could recruit from different (more affluent) areas, redefine ‘graduation’ by slicing degrees into cascading certificates, and give credit for life experience. Those would all result in relatively fast “gains,” though at considerable cost to the mission.  
Getting good results the honorable way, though, will take years and resources. I don’t know how politically realistic that is, but it’s true.


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