This week I had the good fortune to meet Jamie P. Merisotis, President, Lumina Foundation for Education.  As one of the few higher ed funders, he’s pushing an exciting agenda with a big goal:

Over the next 16 years, Lumina wants to increase the percentage of Americans with college degrees—a rate that hasn’t really budged for 40 years—by 20 percentage points.

Here’s a list of strategies; they’ll sound rationale, but read them twice and think about higher ed, a sector devoid of outcomes and data:

  • Higher education must use proven strategies to move students to completion.
  • Quality data must be used to improve student performance and inform policy and decision-making at all levels.
  • The outcomes of student learning must be defined, measured, and aligned with workforce needs.

Here’s the bottom line, “Lumina defines high-quality credentials as degrees and certificates that have well-defined and transparent learning outcomes which provide clear pathways to further education and employment.”

In one of his opening salvos, Jamie reminds us “it’s the learning, stupid.” That’s a radical concept in higher ed that a degree has something to do with demonstrated learning.  It’s good to have Jamie in the fight.


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