Truth in LearningAccountability Project Nears Completion
After more than a year of discussion and work by dozens of higher- education leaders, the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA)—a joint project of AASCU and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges—is beginning to produce recommendations for dissemination of better student-related data. The recommendations are expected to be presented to the respective boards of the two associations for their consideration during the groups’ annual meetings in November.
The project was designed as a response to criticisms about accountability in higher education, particularly those of the Spellings Commission on the Future of Higher Education last fall. Although institutions collect and publish a wealth of information related to accountability, the information is not always easy to find and often is difficult for students and families to use to make comparisons among institutions, particularly on the issue of costs.
Strategic Focusing:Securing Competitive Advantage
higher-education environment has become increasingly competitive, and
many public colleges and universities have begun to adopt
market-oriented strategies as a result. This competitive environment is
driven by a number of forces, including the growth in corporate and
for-profit institutions, a buyers-market for students, and advanced
telecommunications-delivery systems. As a result, most institutions
compete with an identifiable group of other public, private and
for-profit institutions for students and faculty and for funding from
state, federal, corporate, foundation, and other private sources.
this environment, conventional strategic planning may not be sufficient
to provide colleges and universities with a viable strategy for
positioning themselves competitively. Such conventional planning
typically means seeking broad strategies for advancing institutional
interests related to teaching, research and service. Such planning
usually focuses on enhancing effectiveness in selected core missions—for
instance, improving the quality of undergraduate teaching, increasing
research opportunities, and fostering community partnerships.