SUP-442: Tackling the Toughest Controversies in Modern American Higher Education

Semester: Fall

Credit: 1.0

Syllabus: Click here for syllabus

Faculty: Richard Light


Day Time Location
First Day 9/9
Meet Day M 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM GSE LGFLH 319


This course explores ten controversies in American Higher Education. The overarching theme is how to help all students to succeed and prosper in a broad variety of universities, at a time where students bring increasingly different backgrounds to campus and financial constraints are real. The ten topics include: (1) Diversity - - on some campuses diversity among students works wonderfully well, while on others it works far less well. What concrete, policy decisions can enhance the good? (2) MOOCS - - how will massive online courses and learning opportunities change and reshape different kinds of universities? How will the roles of facuty, students, and administrators change? (3) Student services - including advising, running an effective orientation, helping students with problems - - how to structure such services? (4) Assessment - What are ways to examine rigorously how well a college is serving its students? What are ways to measure value - added, what students are actually learning? (5) Enhancing college success - Why do some students transition so smoothly into universities, while others struggle? What formal policies can help students to make this transition most effectively and successfully? (6) Liberal Arts - Is the future of America's liberal arts colleges bright or grim? (7) Public Universities - Most American students attend large, public universities. Their challenges are changing drastically. What challenges will face public universities in the next few years? How can public universities increase graduation rates for their students? Is a gap between privates and publics widening to become a chasm? (8) Non-academic topics - How can universities incorporate discussions about ideas to enrich students' overall experiences on a campus? (9) Privatization: when might public universities become private? (10) The future: What will the landscape of higher education look like in five to ten years, and how can universities prepare? Requirements: Each student will be required to participate in one debate and will be asked to participate in a small working group as part of a simulation to re-design a university. The format of this class is that of a large seminar. Obligations include three very short papers and one final, substantial research paper on a topic of each student’s choice about a controversy in higher education.

Also offered by the Graduate School of Education as S-123.

Please note - The shopping session for this course will take place on Wednesday, August 28 at 11:30 in Longfellow Hall 319 (GSE).