Burning Down the House? Accreditation and California Community Colleges

Several days ago the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) published a report excoriating its regional accreditor, the Accreditation Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC). To my knowledge a state higher education agency has never banded together with disaffected voices within its state to take on an accreditation agency. Until now. The ACCJC accredits …

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CEOs, Consultants, and Strategic Planning: The Case for Pre-Assessment

The most skilled of facilitators can take a college only so far. A college has to want a meaningful plan and think clearly about its planning challenges. Few colleges can identify those challenges before a strategic planning process begins. The tool linked at the end of this blog post intends to clarify both opportunities and …

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Getting to The Dance: Innovation and Strategic Planning

It’s so true that assembling all elements of a comprehensive plan (environmental scan, planning assumptions, SWOT analyses, enrollment projections, academic program analysis, etc.) could conceivably take all of an institution’s energy that might otherwise be used to innovate. I’m also sympathetic to the idea that compiling all the components of a traditional strategic plan could …

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A Consultant’s Guide to Spotting Toxic Organizations

Most organizations don’t know what they don’t know, but let’s not confuse that with toxicity. The litmus test is whether the organization understands how important it is to learn. A toxic organization is more likely to cling to old, familiar behaviors and to actively resist efforts to turn foundational ignorance around. A learning organization–on the …

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Spinning Out of Control with Randomized Controls

Others, including Michael Quinn Patton, have been seeking to widen educators’ knowledge about the possible in proving things work. Disputing this false “Gold Standard,” Patton offers some common sense advice well worth considering. Considering that standards for research are different from evaluation, Patton includes utility, feasibility, propriety, and accuracy as key goals. How often to …

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Rick’s Rubrics for Strategic Planning

At Stellenbosch, two bright South African higher education pacesetters, Lynda Murray and Pieter Vermeulen, joined with me to evaluate the university’s institutional research and planning function. These evaluations are always much more than focusing solely on an institutional research office, however. It’s not possible keep an evaluation of an institution’s use of information inside a …

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Eating Our Young: Financing Higher Education

SHEEO’s report documents what happens when enrollments swell, tax revenues decline, and public apathy reigns. According to this report, college enrollment increased nationally by 12.5 percent, to 11.5 million students from 2007-2008 until last year. But state and local appropriations have decreased by $1.3-billion over the same period. The SHEEO report doesn’t mention that the …

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