http://chronicle.com/img/photos/biz/icons/worldwise-nameplate.gifBy Ellen Hazelkorn. Educational quality is now a hot topic in higher education globally. In recent months, I have been involved in institutional assessments and government meetings on the topic in Finland, Romania, Ireland, and the United States—and shortly I’ll travel to Gabon on behalf of the European Union and the African Union to discuss quality issues.
While the discussions vary, what’s clear is that quality is no longer solely the domain of higher-education providers or independent agencies, like accreditors. Many governments want to step up their role in assuring that educational programs are worthwhile. In the United States, this point is recently illustrated by the Obama administration’s College Scorecard and its 2014 budget proposal to examine “new quality validation systems that can identify appropriate competencies, assessments, and curricula.” Greater accountability had previously been proposed in 2006 by the Commission on the Future of Higher Education, established by the Bush administration. Its strong support for more federal involvement caused great controversy within higher education at the time. Read more...