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…

Big Hospitals With “Little” Universities Attached

As part of my attempts to model a new, “ground-up”, global university, I have spent the last few weeks playing around with various operational models and necessary financials required to sustain these models. As a result, I have been digging through countless university annual reports in hopes of finding some general guidelines to building a financial model. Now I have to say PHEWWWWWWW! It has been kinda fun, kinda exhausting, and SUPREMELY CONFUSING! American universities are all over the place. Sometimes, I felt like I was looking at bank balance sheets with derivatives and all sorts of…

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…

Dual and Joint Degrees – Yay or Nay?

Just read an excellent article in Inside Higher Ed by Elizabeth Redden on the increasingly common phenomenon of international dual and joint degrees (Read here).  Here are some of my thoughts on the topic: Dual and joint cross-continental degrees are usually a result of partnering universities in different countries that agree on a set of qualifications, curricula, requirements, etc. For example, a student can graduate with a US bachelor’s degree in business and a European degree in engineering, giving the student a significant edge in the job market, both at home and abroad. Though some accreditation…

Costs Per Student UVA Vs. USC — Draw Your Own Conclusions

I posted this a couple months ago, but it didn’t get much attention. I think this post deserves a bit more healthy discussion. And by healthy, I mean: Whaaaaaaa?!?!?!?! How?!?!?!?!? Why?????? I decided to run a silly experiment. First, I found two colleges with the same ranking (23) and similar student body size on US News’ College Rankings. Then, I took a look at their spending habits. I used collegemeasures.org to create the figure below. Tuition at UVA is $12,696 in-state and $35,574 out-of-state(27% of student body). Tuition at USC is $46,298. USC charges a tuition that…

Things one finds on Wikipedia, while recovering from Achilles tendon surgery.

” Early mechanical systems[edit] Skinner teaching machine 08 The possibility of intelligent machines have been discussed for centuries. Blaise Pascal created the first calculating machine capable of mathematical functions in the 17th century simply called Pascal’s Calculator. At this time the mathematician and philosopher Leibniz envisioned machines capable of reasoning and applying rules of logic to settle disputes (Buchanan, 2006).[2] These early works contributed to the development of the computer and future applications. The concept of intelligent machines for instructional use date back as early as 1924, when Sidney Pressey of Ohio State University created…

Check Out My Presentation at the Global Education Conference – Wednesday, 11AM EST

How American Higher Education is Missing Out on the Global Pie – Wednesday, November 19th at 11AM EST Join the presentation here: link Join the conference here: link I will be discussing my bread and butter: Global Higher Ed and how awesome it can be. I will also intoduce my First Global University concept and discuss what a global university of the future looks like. The most exciting part of this presentation is that all the pieces required for a scaled global university already exist. We just need to find the right recipe to put them…

How Universities Categorize Per Student(FTE) Costs. Thanks @collegemeasures. #highered #budgets

While sifting through http://collegemeasures.org/, I came across how universities categorize their per student (FTE) costs. Great if you’re looking to build a higher education budget. Instruction Costs A functional expense category that includes expenses of the colleges, schools, departments, and other instructional divisions of the institution and expenses for departmental research and public service that are not separately budgeted. Includes general academic instruction, occupational and vocational instruction, community education, preparatory and adult basic education, and regular, special, and extension sessions. Also includes expenses for both credit and non-credit activities. Excludes expenses for academic administration where the…

Global Demand for American Higher Education is Totally Inelastic

During 2008-2009, the worst years of the global economic crisis, when the sub-prime mortgage collapse became a fiscal meltdown and sent the global economy reeling, how did the public/private university sector fare? According to Moody’s, one of the two largest global credit rating agencies, during this fiscally brutal time “universities demonstrate a countercyclical ability to increase student enrollments during recessions… and offer long term potential for increasing revenue diversity”. Even the non-premium for-profit education sector showed considerable strength through the recession. Historically, international student enrollment growth trends in U.S. universities have powered through any and…