Notes in the Margins: Black colleges, adjunct unions and Harvard’s grade inflation

Black colleges face uphill battle to survive These institutions are among the most vulnerable among universities and colleges of all types beset by financial woes. As a group they suffer disproportionately from small endowments, subpar facilities, and underprepared students. And with lower graduation rates on average, they would be particularly vulnerable under President Barack Obama’s proposal to financially punish colleges and universities that graduate the fewest students. (The Hechinger Report)

Substantiating Fears of Grade Inflation, Dean Says Median Grade at Harvard College Is A-, Most Common Grade Is A  As early as 2001, FAS’s Educational Policy Committee had already labeled grade inflation “a serious problem” at the College after a report in the Boston Globe labeled the College’s grading practices “the laughing stock of the Ivy League.” (The Harvard Crimson)

Little-known higher ed nominees raise eyebrows Neither Ted Mitchell nor Ericka Miller has made higher education policy a career focus. (Politico via NAICU)

New SAT delayed to 2016  The decision to delay the rollout of the new SAT could give the ACT more time to solidify its position in the college admissions testing contest. (The Washington Post)

More College Adjuncts See Strength in Union Numbers Adjunct faculty members, considered the working poor of academia, are increasingly turning to the Service Employees International Union to gain higher pay and a semblance of benefits. (The New York Times)

  • Particularly on the adjuncts at black colleges issue, remember President Obama’s Morehouse speech not long ago and comments thereon.
    President Obama had a perfect opportunity, in Atlanta, to link up 1) historical Morehouse ideas concerning service to “underserved communities” to 2) the dismal forty year trend of increased higher ed reliance on underpaid adjunct and contingent faculty, something which has plagued all colleges and universities, and which, as it has degraded faculty working conditions, has also degraded student learning conditions–a terrible and unacceptable insult to our widely shared views about the value of higher ed itself. The President had that opportunity, but didn’t take it. We should keep up the pressure.