President Scott Kinney to participate in Aspen Ideas Festival

June 26, 2014


Capella University president Scott Kinney will be traveling to Aspen, Colorado to participate in the Aspen Ideas Festival next week. The Aspen Ideas Festival is the nation’s “premier, public gathering place for leaders from around the globe and across many disciplines to engage in deep and inquisitive discussion of the ideas and issues that affect our lives.” There are 350 presenters, 200 sessions and 3000 attendees at the annual event. It’s an honor to have Scott be invited to represent Capella at such a dynamic event.

Scott will be participating in two panels. On July 1st, he will engage in a discussion called “Who Is College for, Anymore? The Future of Public Education.” The panel will explore how the rapid changes in higher education and society are likely to change college and university education. Sitting on the panel with Scott is Carrie Besnette Hauser, President and CEO of Colorado Mountain College; Scott Ralls, the Chancellor of the North Carolina Community College system; and Anthony Carnevale, the Director of the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University.

On July 2nd, Scott will participate in a conversation on “The College Presidency in the 21st Century.” Led by Doug Lederman of Inside Higher Ed, this panel will examine the role of the college president today. As the presidency enters a period of significant turnover, there is an opportunity to re-envision the position and what it entails. The panel will discuss the role of college presidents when it comes to fundraising, improving student success, promoting social mobility and in serving as national and local civic leaders. Joining Scott on the panel is Carol Quillen, president of Davidson College and Scott Ralls, the Chancellor of the North Carolina Community College system.

It isn’t clear if the panels will be live streamed, but please visit the website for more information. Scott will be giving us a recap on the Aspen Ideas Festival when he gets back late next week. Follow him on Twitter at @CapellaU_Pres and the hashtag #AspenIdeas for live updates.

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The backbone of the American higher education system

June 17, 2014

Jeffrey Selingo wrote a compelling piece in the Chronicle yesterday on the role of the bachelor’s degree. This article brought up a very central and timely question in higher education – how can we better serve today’s students and their needs through their college education?

It’s an important issue. In the past, a college education wasn’t required in order to advance financially, and a degree was mainly used to get a broad general education. The job-training aspect was intended to come later, in professional schools or from an employer itself. Today, owners of bachelor’s degrees have many expectations of what it should provide. It is expected that a bachelor’s degree should help students mature, train them to have critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and most importantly, “prepare graduates to step immediately into high-skills employment.”

How can we help all of today’s students get what they want out of their degrees? We know that college students today are extremely diverse. They come from all different ages and backgrounds. Jeff puts it plainly, “Those students deserve a new bachelor’s degree that better meets both their varied needs and aspirations and the requirements of today’s economy. It’s time to rethink the purpose of the degree and offer more flexibility as to when, where, and how students acquire it.”

There are exciting developments taking place in higher education today. With initiatives such as competency-based curriculum and self-paced options for earning a degree, today’s learners are given more options that fit their life and their expectations. However, we need to keep this momentum moving forward. Until the majority of business leaders say college graduates are ready for their jobs, until all college graduates say their degree helped move them forward in their career, until more people are able to have the opportunity to earn a degree, our work is not done.

Jeff’s article in the Chronicle is located here.

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Gallup-Purdue Index

May 7, 2014

Yesterday Gallup, Purdue University and Lumina Foundation released the results of their joint-research effort on the long-term success of graduates as they embark on their life after school. This index provides insight into the relationship between the college experience and whether college graduates have fulfilling lives.

This study comes at a crucial time – there has been increased awareness lately around the purpose of higher education institutions and holding them accountable for this purpose.

There were several compelling findings from the study. I encourage reading it in its entirety, or Gallup’s thorough summary (links below). One central conclusion found was that the type of schools college graduates attend hardly matter at all to their workplace engagement and current well-being. Instead, the study found that “support and experiences in college have more of a relationship to long-term outcomes for these college graduates.”

One disheartening statistic is that only 11% of college graduates are thriving – strong, consistent and progressing – in all five elements of well-being (purpose, social, financial, community and physical.)

Do you think this study will impact how higher education institutions interact with their students? How? Do you think it will affect how future college students pick which school to attend?

The whole study is available here, and Gallup’s synopsis of the study is located here. Please let me know any thoughts you might have on it in the comments section below.

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Scott Kinney to publish articles on LinkedIn

April 24, 2014

I am excited to announce that Scott Kinney, president of Capella University, is now writing full-length articles on innovation in higher education for LinkedIn. His first article was published last week and is focused on the relationship between competency-based education and the federal student financial aid system, what it needs to work, and why you should care.

In the article, Scott highlights a recent hearing of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce titled “Keeping College Within Reach: Meeting the Needs of Contemporary Students.” Kevin Gilligan, CEO of Capella Education Company, was invited to testify on the behalf of Capella at the hearing. Capella did a great job at advocating for the need to support innovation through a restricting of our federal financial aid rules in order for competency-based learning to benefit students who depend on federal financial aid.

Here is a link to the article. I encourage you to follow Scott on LinkedIn, as Scott will have compelling input on meaningful areas of higher education.

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Meeting the explosive demand for skills that public institutions cannot always meet

March 18, 2014

Nexus recently released a study that focuses on the high costs that state taxpayers would incur if undergraduate students served by proprietary institutions instead enrolled in two- and four-year public institutions. The study calculated the financial implications in California, New York, Ohio and Texas from academic years 2007 – 2008 to 2011 – 2012.

Nexus’ study shows that there would be hefty fiscal costs if the propriety sector closed and thousands of students that are currently learning at these institutions then sought access to public colleges and universities. The study estimated that “across these four states, $6.4 billion in state appropriations would have been needed to support the education of these bachelor’s graduates and $4.6 billion to support the associate’s graduates.”

Below is the link to the report, and recent media coverage on the study.

Nexus: Do proprietary institutions of higher education generate savings for states?

The Chronicle of Higher Education: Shut down for-profit colleges? Not so fast, a study suggests

Inside Higher Ed: If for-profits vanished

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