10 Essential Talks on Higher Ed

by Staff Writers

Considering colleges and universities encompass a broad spectrum of perspectives, strategies, policies, goals and even formats, nobody's surprised to know just how many debates and discussions occur. Online and off, professionals, policymakers and even some lucky students lend their eclectic voices to prevailing issues; some make their way to the Internet so even more individuals may educate themselves and develop well-informed opinions. Forum Network, an amazing resource for anyone seeking a veritable buffet of intellectual stimulation, hosts some such talks. They represent a cross-section of some ideas and insights currently swirling through the higher education scene, but by no means should their resources be considered comprehensive or wholly representative. As one can expect, most revolve around fiscal concerns, but everyone weighing in sports their own solutions and analyses. Use the following videos and audio tracks to broaden horizons and perspectives on American higher education today … maybe even tomorrow.

  1. Privatizing Higher Education and Museums in Turkey

    Case Western Reserve's John Grabowski contributes to the school's "globalization" focus with an interesting lecture about Turkey's university system. He spent two semesters teaching in the country and found himself "fascinated" by their success and rapid enrollment rate. Curious, the history professor explored the relationship between foundations and the institutes of higher learning they patronize. Grabowski soaked up some interesting lessons — and even expanded his horizons to study architecture and film, among other subjects.

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  2. Excerpt of Anya Kamenetz: DIY U: The Coming Transformation of Higher Education

    Considering the astronomical-and-climbing cost of higher education, many promising high school graduates are opting to get "creative from scratch" instead. Because the traditional system just doesn't meet their needs, they find alternate — sometimes even self-directed — routes towards channeling their entrepreneurial spirits. And they're succeeding. If American colleges and universities hope to attract more talent and painstakingly nurture it, some serious reform is absolutely necessary. Otherwise, the country might just keep falling behind, education-wise.

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  3. Arguing Affirmative Action/What's the Purpose?

    Michael Sandel's Justice series asks college kids to debate one of academia's most controversial practices: affirmative action. The event eventually segues into a lecture about Aristotle's views regarding justice and morality, so most content relevant to higher ed enthusiasts comes on the front end. Here, both sides of the inflammatory issue receive equal attention, making it an essential viewing for students, faculty and staff alike. By no means the ONLY open forum where such a discussion has taken place, it nevertheless contributes something. Especially for those either viewing it from the fence or wanting to learn more about the other side's perspectives.

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  4. Paul Reville: Tenth Annual Lynch School of Education Symposium Series

    This Boston University program, which celebrated its 10th year in 2009, dedicated this particular symposium to college preparedness. As Massachusetts' Secretary of Education, Paul Reville offers up plenty of experience and ideas regarding forming successful college students out of high schoolers. Psychology and cognitive science play an integral role in writing up competitive, but nurturing, syllabi so graduates don't continuously fall behind their international equivalents.

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  5. Capitol Perspective: College Affordability

    Eileen K. O'Leary, Rebecca Murray and Suzanne M. Bump join host and former Senator Edward Kennedy for a round table talk about college costs. As prices climb and salaries either stay static or plummet, fewer high school graduates contemplate higher education these days, even before the economy saw fit to spontaneously combust. Because the current system results in ridiculous debt (for a basic human right!), it requires a complete overhaul — particularly financial — if it ever hopes to reach promising kids and adults.

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  6. Charting the Future of US Higher Education

    A district judge (Timothy Batten) and former Health and Human Services Secretary (Louis Sullivan) join up to talk about where America's colleges and universities might eventually go. Sullivan headed up the research, compiling and writing of A Test of Leadership: Charting the Future of US Higher Education, a Department of Erudation report about pretty much exactly what one would assume, considering the title. Increased international competition means schools must strive even more to "meet the needs of this knowledge-based economy." However, keeping everything affordable and accessible will always remain an issue.

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  7. Paying for College: Rising Cost of Higher Education

    Over and over, rhetoric about higher education always cycles back to cost. Specifically, rendering it affordable to multiple socioeconomic brackets without compromising resources, manpower and general quality. Here, a group of college and university professionals listen to professor Bridget Terry Long talk about her relevant research. Although focused mainly on New England-based higher ed, what she has to say about fiscal concerns easily impacts the nation. However, she does admit the situation is more dire in high cost of living regions, like New England.

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  8. Shakespeare and the Bottom Line: Marketing Higher Ed

    Despite the fact that most colleges and universities carry nonprofit status, they must aggressively market themselves as if they were for-profit ventures. Failing to apply such measures might very well mean the difference between sweeping up the juiciest recruits and watching them end up somewhere else. But shifting gears — not to mention precious funding — potentially compromises education quality, thus leaving higher ed institutions facing a veritable (though significantly less traumatic) Sophie's Choice.

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  9. Preparing Students for College

    Technology provides teachers a faster conduit for engaging students, but it's not enough to necessarily ready them for college. Fortunately, UMass Boston Chancellor Jo Ann Gora believes the internet holds so much potential to ease the transition between high school and higher education. She outlines innovative ways institutions can harness its seemingly endless offerings and encourages online education. While plenty of schools are doing a lot, the available tools' flexibility and global reach mean they might be able to provide even more services! Such actions might very well result in students eager and ready to launch their college careers.

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  10. Limited Access to Higher Education

    Thousands of promising, talented and intelligent immigrant students genuinely desire to attend American colleges annually. Even more than their domestic counterparts, the swelling costs usually stand as the most treacherous higher education roadblock. This Forum Network audio provides almost an hour and a half of true stories shedding light on the serious issue. Multiple speakers weigh in on what's wrong and what needs doing to provide immigrant students the excellent educational opportunities they deserve.

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