Unlocking the Nation’s Potential: A Model to Advance Quality and Equity in Education Beyond High School

In 2018, Lumina Foundation appointed and convened a Quality Credentials Task Force comprising 22 leaders in education, policy, and workforce development. The task force had two charges. First, it was to explore new ways to assure the quality of a college education and other forms of learning beyond high school. Second, it was asked to develop a broad, conceptual model of credential quality that could lead to the greater equity and quality learning that our society needs and students deserve. The group met three times over the course of one year to develop this report and the new conceptual model of credentialing quality at its core.

Higher Education in Science and Engineering 

The U.S. higher education system consists of diverse academic institutions—including research and doctorate-granting universities, primarily undergraduate institutions, minority-serving institutions, community colleges, and others, including some that span multiple categories—that train students in S&E across degree levels and fields. A small number of institutions awarded three-quarters of doctorates, nearly half of master’s degrees, and 40% of bachelor’s degrees in S&E fields in 2017. (National Science Foundation)

Education Policy Responses to the Opioid Crisis

This Policy Brief explores the connection between education policy and the opioid crisis, provides examples of recent state policies and initiatives, and outlines considerations for education policy leaders.

Lessons from Strong Start to Finish: Enabling Conditions for Progress

Systems of higher education are unique in structure yet universal in aspiration to provide a quality learning experience for all members of the campus community. A quality community is one where faculty and staff grow professionally, where administrators advance their understanding while honing their ability to respond to identified needs, where support personnel feel honored for the value they provide and where students’ experiences propel them forward as they learn and develop new habits of thought. This inspirational state of being is supported not just by human and fiscal resources, but also environmental factors.

Flagships Fail on Financial Equity

Only the relatively wealthiest students can afford to attend most public flagship institutions, according to a new report released last week by the Institute for Higher Education Policy. The report found that only six of 50 state flagships meet an affordability benchmark for low-income students (see graphic, below). Mamie Voight, vice president of policy research at IHEP and a co-author of the report, said public institutions funded by taxpayers should better serve low-income students, a demographic that’s growing in overall college enrollments. Flagship universities often have high graduation rates and good post-college outcomes for students, Voight said, making them a good vehicle for social mobility.

For Work-Life Balance, Loaf and Invite the Soul

Never a traditional academic, the man I’ll call Rodriguez spent much of his time volunteering in the community instead of attending obligatory departmental events. His views on institutional efficacy were something less than conventional. More than once in discussions of faculty workload, he quoted the Walt Whitman poem “Song of Myself,” enjoining colleagues to reduce committee creep in order to “loaf and invite the soul.” At another meeting, he suggested that we cancel all meetings for a period of one year to see which were truly essential and which were not. Colleagues openly laughed, but Rodriguez wasn’t kidding. His was a Tao of Winnie the Pooh — true wisdom cloaked in a veil of the inane.