May 29, 2011
Capella’s founder, Steve Shank, delivered an important keynote speech last week to a conference hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for a Competitive Workforce on the role of innovation in education. Steve’s speech was provocative and well received by the audience of roughly 200 leaders from across higher education. Below are some of the excerpts from Steve’s remarks:
- “Today all of higher education has major gaps in the value we deliver to our students and our society. The two principal issues are:
- System-wide inefficiency and unsustainable cost inflation is making higher education unaffordable for too many Americans.
- And we’re failing to deliver the educational outcomes we need: Unacceptable graduation rates; too many students shut out; and growing questions about whether graduates are getting the right preparation for the right job opportunities.”
- “We need a new cycle of game-changing innovation. And I believe we’re poised to see this happen.”
“Regulation can either support healthy innovation or it can kill it by reinforcing the old paradigm.”
- “With relevant, comparable and risk adjusted accountability data, policy makers can address the questions that are critical to post-secondary innovation and improvement.”
- “Effective regulation must be based on meaningful information about schools, the student population served, completion rates, learning and career outcomes, “apples to apples” data on educational costs and affordability, and debt metrics. We need data that is comparable across sectors accessible both to policy makers and the public.”
- “The critical performance gaps of affordability and inadequate student outcomes are not just for-profit sector issues; these problems cross all of higher education. And these issues require a coherent approach to public policy, which applies to all schools.”
Steve’s speech was a rich speech with a lot of important thoughts, including using Sophia as an example of the kind of innovation coming in education. For me, the most significant point Steve makes is the need for comparable data across all of higher education. Once the gainful employment regulations are finalized (any day now?), all of higher education would benefit from a shift in the conversation to how we measure comparable data across all of higher ed and how that information is made available to the public and those who make policy.
For those interested in reading the entirety of Steve’s speech, shoot me a line and I’ll send it to you.