The Minerva Challenge

Recently, I participated in an NEI webinar with Ben Nelson of Minerva. It was a good webinar, with a fairly general overview by Ben Nelson and a few questions at the end. For the most part, the information and take aways were not new – but, there were a few glimpses of new insight. Ben was nice enough to answer my question in regards to the amount of hours (per day/week) Minerva students were expected to be engaged in educational activities. Unfortunately, I didn’t write down the answer, so I’m paraphrasing: A LOT! How much is…

The devil is in the details, but how to find the details?

Here is yet another entry in the ‘university financials’ series. It’s nice how easy it is to find the annual reports from most universities. It’s NOT so nice that they all lack detail and insight into how the university operates and spends money. For example, it’s easy to figure out how much they spend on “instruction costs” per student. But beyond that, good luck. How much do they spend on tenured professors versus adjuncts? How much do they spend per hour of in-class instruction? What is the distribution of salaries? The categories for reporting, used by…

My response to the The Atlantic article on the Minerva Project

It is easy to get excited about the Minerva Project. Finally a story about courageous and extreme innovation in higher ed – an actual reinvention of the liberal arts experience (read article here).  First, the biggest turn ons: Challenging, engaging and highly-interactive curriculum Considering the four years of summer camp that is much of liberal arts education today (I’m not just basing it on my own experience – the average college student studies only 14 hours per week), it is refreshing to see a rigorous curriculum that is actually interested in engaging and challenging students. It…

The For-profit Not-for-profit Paradox

The traditional not-for-profit American universities, both public and private, are responsible for creating the stellar academic reputation and the unique campus and student life experience that define American higher education. Many in this category command sprawling campuses, world-class research departments, expansive sports programs and wealthy endowments. Judging by these metrics, it would be easy to assume that these institutions are best positioned to invest into the most cutting edge educational technology, advance the most exciting innovations, and globalize American education delivery. The younger for-profit higher education industry, on the other hand, has shown the ability…