On Institutions Missions, Ranking and Outcomes

“We prepare the leaders of tomorrow.” “We nurture lifelong learners.” “We aim to have a global impact, while serving our local community.”

How many institutions have statements like these? Tough to distinguish between them since few seem to disclose real tangible outcomes (other than those listed in national/global rankings that mostly emphasize research-related outcomes).

A recent Gallup study (a must read) found that the mission, purpose or vision statements of more than 50 higher education institutions share striking similarities, regardless of institution size, public or private status, land-grant status or religious affiliation, or for-profit or not-for-profit status. The study found that few institutions refer to tangible outcomes — such as the percentage of graduates who actually go on to be “leaders of tomorrow” — to demonstrate how effectively the institution lives its own mission or is able to provide benchmarks for comparison against other institutions. Are classrooms like the one depicted (courtesy of ckom.com) and the teaching that goes in them developing the leaders and lifelong learners needed?

In a time when society needs skilled talent and human resources to address the challenges of today and tomorrow “It’s time (for leaders in) institutions to get serious about defining their purpose, identity and culture — and aligning these (and their strategies) with their outcomes”!

The Ever-Growing World of College Rankings


We don’t need more college rankings based on R&D outcomes. We need information about how well institutions educate people to better serve society, higher education’s first and most important mission (without which the other 2 – create and serve – cannot be achieved!).

There are more rankings than ever, but “they really don’t speak to the education core of an institution.”

Read the CHE article here.

Is the Credit-hour the Best Way to Measure Student Learning?

Maybe not…. not for this age, says the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, who created the credit hour in 1906. The Foundation wants to rethink it, with a shift that might help competency-based higher education. With the rise of new learning models, MOOCs, technologies and the need for continuous learning, this project sponsored by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to study the “Carnegie Unit” is timely and very important… one that may very well suit the interests and learning styles of learners around the globe but one that will certainly disrupt higher education.

I look forward to the project’s report!

Read more: