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A Very Public Agenda
A National Roundtable Examines the Role of Public Policy in Shaping Higher Education

Dan Angel, president of Stephen F. Austin State University, makes a point as national roundtable participants Patricia J. Gumport (left), Darryl J. Greer and John Immerwahr listen.
IN HIGHER EDUCATION nearly everyone is a policy expert, or so it seems. For half a century, colleges and universities in the United States have looked to their capitals -- local, state and national -- to help set institutional agendas, to provide capital as well as operating funds, and increasingly to supply the loans and grants their students require to pay the tuitions they charge. America's colleges and universities have been in turn grateful, angry, even frightened -- but they have never been disengaged or disinterested in the workings of public policy.

Now the worlds of both public policy and higher education have changed, and not necessarily for the better. There are fewer issues capable of rallying public support, and even less willingness on the part of institutions to trust their futures to the process of public deliberation. Higher education's sources of funding are more diverse and more diffuse, as the workings of increasingly competitive markets for enrollments and research support determine the financial health of most colleges and universities. The sudden emergence of an aggressively financed, rapidly expanding network of for-profit providers has further complicated the question, raising in some quarters the specter that higher education has come to be regarded more as a discretionary budget item than as an essential public good.

We begin this essay with the notion that the strength of American higher education lies in its very public nature. America's colleges and universities -- both public and private -- are public assets providing public services, and as such they require a public agenda. Letting the market become the sole determinant of the shape and function of higher education would mean diminishing both institutional capacity and individual opportunity. But we also understand that times and circumstances have changed-the market is real, its discipline exacting, its capacity to reward those who supply its needs now readily apparent.

Convened as a national roundtable by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education in conjunction with the Knight Higher Education Collaborative, our purpose was to take account of the changing context for the making of public policy. We asked questions inherent in the definition of the word "policy" itself: What courses of action -- expedient, practical, in fulfillment of the public good -- should those who direct the levers of civic purpose consider now and in the future? What kinds of public objectives can the forces of policy bring about most effectively? What objectives can the workings of the market best fulfill? How should the tools of regulation, resource allocation, assessment and quality assurance be applied to ensure that American higher education fulfills broad public purposes, serves the particular aspirations of individual students, and supports the aspirations of public and private institutions as both creators and conveyors of knowledge? How can policy help these institutions adapt effectively to change rather than being overwhelmed by it?

The Ascendance of Markets
The asking of these questions makes clear just how much the context for public policy has changed during the past two decades. Largely discarded is that sense of an all-embracing public agenda capable of determining the missions of institutions and the distribution of students and research support among those institutions. There is a diminished sense that policy in itself can satisfy the public's appetite for high-quality educational programs made available at low cost to consumers. Diminished as well is that commitment to a broad social agenda that characterized public discourse in the 1960s, beginning with civil rights and equal employment opportunity and culminating in local, state and federal programs of affirmative action.

For 30 years now, public policy at both the state and federal levels has sought to fulfill one overarching objective -- that of access to higher education. The strategy for achieving this policy has been essentially that of institutional support, through a combination of direct appropriation and student financial assistance. Yet as the competition for public resources increases, the societal commitment that powered that vision of broad access and choice has been subject to the same abridgment that produced welfare reform and made balancing budgets a top priority. Where policy was once the trigger for finance, finance has become increasingly the trigger for policy.

Within both institutions and legislatures, there is a growing sense of "getting policy without making policy" -- allowing what was once a clear, guiding framework for public initiative to be nibbled away by budgetary constraints. The shift from grants to loans as the primary means of providing publicly funded student financial aid occurred, not as the result of major policy change in Washington or the state capitals, but through successive years of responding to budgetary limitations at the margin, each of which transferred a little more of the cost burden to students themselves. The evolution of a near-open market for federal research funds followed a similar pattern; out of the daily need to balance priorities and resources, new rules were adopted that led most of the nation's research universities to alter incentives to faculty as well as change the ways in which they responded to federal initiatives.

What most often replaces public policy as a means of expressing public needs is simply the cumulative action of higher education markets. They are markets powered by the consumers of higher education's services, including students and their families who seek a postsecondary education; by the federal government and others who contract with institutions and their faculty for projects of sponsored research; and by the fact of heightened global competition and employers' demand for workers trained in the skills necessary to perform current tasks. The prevalence of market forces also has been occasioned by the willingness of government to let the purchasing power of public demand play more of a role in shaping public policy. Congress displayed this willingness, for example, in allowing students, "voting with their feet," to distribute federal dollars to institutions in the form of need-based portable grants, without regard to the institution to be attended, the field to be studied, or -- with minor exceptions -- the academic merit or performance of the student.

Today's markets for higher education have accorded new importance to educational outcomes. Matching this push for accountability are the cumulative effects of a growing, changing technological presence, which is altering the definition of institutions and sending a message that acquiring a postsecondary education in a specific area need not entail a lengthy or rigidly defined process.

It is equally important to note what the markets for postsecondary education are not: They are neither free nor unregulated. Acquiring a higher education is not like purchasing a new car, despite the proclivity of presidents of institutions to compare the prices they charge to that of a Ford or a Chevy. Lest one forgets, these markets owe their existence as well as their current shape to the substantial price subsidies that federal, state and local governments provide in the form of direct appropriations, student financial aid, local tax levies, and tax laws that allow individual deductions for gifts to colleges and universities and that decline to tax the assets of those institutions. One of the ironies and perplexities facing institutions and public agencies is that the public expects both the range of choice that markets provide and the subsidies that make the price of a public higher education less than the cost of its provision.

Just how important this subsidy remains for consumers of both public and private higher education was again driven home by an opinion survey conducted in February 1998 by Public Agenda in behalf of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. While a sound majority of respondents (77 percent) believes that students appreciate the value of a college education only when they have some personal responsibility for paying its costs, the survey results also make clear the expectation that government should bear an equal or greater part of that burden. Seventy-five percent of the survey's respondents, for example, believe that the state and federal governments should more often give tax breaks to help students and their families pay for college.

Access to Success
Since the end of the Second World War, assuring personal opportunity through access to postsecondary education has been the rock on which higher education policy has stood. It is the one tenet that every public initiative -- including the GI Bill, the growth and development of community colleges, the creation of Pell Grants, and the provision of federally guaranteed loans -- has shared. At one level, the nation, its individual states and its citizens have every right to declare victory in this achievement: No other nation has succeeded in creating a system of higher education that offers greater access to a college, university, or other provider of postsecondary education. And no other nation has provided the range of second, third, even fourth chances for students to achieve their educational goals.

While providing access to a higher education has been the defining goal of the public investment in higher education, it is a policy that has assumed for practical purposes that the provision of sufficient financial resources to allow students to enter the front door of a college or university is tantamount to success. The sad truth is that too many who cross the starting line never reach the finish -- whether defined as the completion of a baccalaureate degree, an associate degree or a basic skills program.

The sadder truth is that as markets come to play an increasingly dominant role in higher education, an even smaller proportion of at-risk students who enter the front door of institutions will likely achieve educational success. As budgeting concerns come to displace explicit policy as the driver of institutional goals and incentives, the nation as a whole drifts further toward a practice of educational triage -- in which the most likely survivors are known in advance and accorded a lion's share of the resources the public makes available in support of public higher education. Triage invokes scenarios of battlefield medicine, where time and supplies are short and the likelihood of catastrophic failure is alarmingly real. In those settings it makes practical sense to divide the wounded into roughly thirds -- those with a fighting chance for survival, those with more modest odds, and those whose survival at best depends on the application of extraordinary means simply not available on a field of battle. Triage distributes scarce medical resources according to the wounded's statistical probability of survival.

What is successful on a battlefield, however, is not acceptable, for example, in an emergency room. In that setting the extraordinary measures are expected to be applied, given the value our society places on every human life. The probability of survival in higher education increasingly resembles the battlefield model. Even today in the United States, the majority of educational resources are spent on those deemed most likely to succeed; the public and private expenditures for higher education in behalf of students at the higher end of the socioeconomic spectrum are nearly twice those made in behalf of students at the lower end. It is as if the nation as a whole, through its policies and practices, has not yet fully resolved its ambivalence before the question: How much of an investment in educational opportunity should be made in behalf of a population that has a higher statistical probability of failure? Left to its own devices, the market's answer to this question will be unequivocal: "Less and less."

Mission Centered, Market Smart
Hence the challenge central to higher education policy in an age of markets: How best can local, state and federal agencies ensure that the subsidies they provide secure sustained educational opportunity for a broad cross-section of the population?

In sorting through this challenge, one of the most salient elements is the fact that the market for higher education is projected to more than double in size over the next 20 years. It will, however, be a different mix of seeds and nutrients from that which produced higher education's expansion in the 1950s and 1960s. That era of growth was brought about almost entirely by public funding, publicly proclaimed and allocated as investments in common pursuits. Today, when the watchword is smaller, less costly government, those investments will more likely be private: venture capital, gifts and bequests, and tuitions, all in pursuit of more personal agendas.

Because the funding that made possible higher education's last expansion was predominantly public, the institutions those funds created or helped to expand were almost entirely mission centered: traditionally organized two-year and four-year universities and colleges, committed to serving the public good through missions ranging from that of a Catholic urban college for women to a state land-grant university. Though individual missions differ greatly and often evolve over time, they have in common the fact that they express the fundamental academic values of the institution. A characteristic of these mission-centered institutions has been to offer an array of programs, which collectively cost the institutions substantially more to operate than the revenues generated through tuition.

In contrast, a considerable share of the investment that creates the next wave of growth will be from private sources, and many if not most of the institutions and programs either created or expanded will be more explicitly market centered: targeting the most pressing educational demands, as determined by individual consumers, that promise the greatest return on investment. Many of the initiatives will be decidedly commercial, as often as not combining the energies and ambitions of for-profit vendors with the skill, prestige and education savvy of traditionally configured colleges and universities.

The workings of higher education markets may well achieve some elements of the public good -- providing more options to students with clear educational goals and more efficiency in serving particular fields characterized by rapid growth and change. Likely to be lost in that mix, however, will be those mission-centered programs and initiatives that, in an earlier era, were the embodiment of the public's commitment to access and opportunity. Moreover, the values of inquiry and discovery that motivate traditional institutions and their faculty -- the pursuit and conveyance of knowledge beyond what the market itself demands -- would simply be lost in all but the best-endowed institutions.

For this reason alone, good public policy must come to mean something different from what it has meant in the past. Where public policy once sought to create institutions that were largely separate from market forces, advancing the public good in the future will require policies that work with -- or even through -- these markets. This strategy may require a substantial departure from the status quo -- in legislatures as well as institutions -- to allow universities and colleges to become more responsive to a market-driven economy and to public accountability. What will remain constant are the importance of money and the centrality of the questions first posed by the Carnegie Commission three decades ago: "Who benefits? Who pays? Who should pay?" In more modern dress, these questions become: How can the public subsidy best ensure that the markets for postsecondary education yield the greatest possible fulfillment of the public good? Can the leverage that such public appropriations provide purchase educational attainment as well as institutional access? What public objectives require the explicit action of policy to achieve -- and what objectives are best achieved through the workings of the market? How can public agencies devise and fund incentives that encourage institutions to be both market smart and mission centered?

A Renewal of Public Discourse
The first step to the answering of such questions is a renewal of public discourse about the public purpose of higher education. That discussion must necessarily begin with a broad, explicit consideration of the relationship between the individual return and the larger good that results from public investments in higher education. In the nation at large as well as within individual states, there need to be vehicles by which policy makers and institutional leaders can make decisions that focus more often on outcomes than on the politics of budget balancing. More specifically, what we seek is a reconsideration of the who, the what, and the how of higher education in a time of markets and changing horizons.

In pursuit of that reconsideration, we offer five propositions as points for discussion. Our propositions are addressed to the public at large, to those responsible for higher education policy, and to those leaders, faculty as well as administrative, who are responsible for institutional practice. While there is an order to our propositions -- we begin with questions of price and targeted investments -- there is no implied priority. Each is important in its own right, while collectively they point to the same conclusion: What is most required now is a public policy that is both mission centered and market smart.

1. State legislative bodies need to understand better the interplay between markets and the provision of public appropriation and subsidy. Given the public's clamor for lower, more affordable college tuitions, the temptation is always to mandate that result by legislative fiat. It is a temptation that ought to be resisted. In most regions of the country it is the independent sector in combination with for-profit providers that will set the market price for higher education. When a state sets public tuitions below that market price, it essentially faces two choices. The first is to provide public appropriations on a per-student basis roughly equal to the difference between the market price and legislated price. The other choice a state can make is to limit both tuition and appropriations, assuming that public institutions can become more efficient simply through the expedient of having less money to spend. In fact that outcome is seldom achieved. Instead, institutions denied both tuition revenue and public appropriation pour more of their energies into those activities that do not have legislated tuitions -- special courses and contracted services to businesses being two of the most popular -- while achieving the necessary budget reductions by squeezing resources out of their core programs. The result is public institutions that are both less competitive and more disengaged from their core missions.

In setting market-smart levels for public tuitions, a state legislature needs to make three additional judgments:

  • how much of its appropriation should go to providing general price subsidies, and how much should be targeted, either in support of specific classes of individuals or specific classes of programs;
  • whether to insist that all public institutions charge the same tuition regardless of the demand for their programs; and
  • whether to establish a per-student appropriation and then let public institutions set tuitions in accord with their own sense of mission and their market position.

2. States and institutions require flexibility when making mission-centered investments in special programs and opportunities. The answer to the controversy now swirling around remedial education in the City University of New York and elsewhere is not to deny the need, but rather to find imaginative ways of financing programs specifically designed to make sure all learners are advantaged. The first challenge is to ensure that students in fact attain the necessary mastery of gateway competencies, principally the fundamental learning tools of numerical and verbal expression. Too many students graduate from high school and are accepted into college, feeling a sense of confidence in their past achievement and future potential, only to learn that they must begin their college study in a remedial program.

There are many ways to help ensure that more of an institution's matriculants persist and succeed. Research has shown that when at-risk students come to attain threshold mathematics and language skills, their chances of educational success are virtually the same as those of all other students. University or college programs created with a modest investment of resources have provided students with an early sense of belonging and achievement through close peer interaction, common academic experiences, and skillful and sensitive advising. Another intriguing possibility is for the state to fund these efforts separately as modified voucher programs that would allow students to purchase the requisite skill training in an open market. In fact such a market exists today, for the most part serving students of means who have trouble learning to read or who later seek help in improving their SAT or ACT scores. Why not make those same learning skills available to students who need that attention to succeed in college, whether or not their families can afford the full tuition? Indeed, Towson University in Maryland is experimenting with just that concept, contracting with Sylvan Learning to provide what had once been called remedial classes in mathematics. The cost to the university is not much greater, and the match between resources and program is better, since those providing instruction have been trained to do so and see the helping of students through learning gateways as their prime mission.

Our point is a simple one: Specify the need; let the market or institutions identify the best vendors; provide sufficient public funds to make good the promise of educational attainment. We understand the dangers inherent in such an approach. Institutions will feel threatened as well as impoverished, having lost appropriations they had hitherto used to support their general mission. There also is the danger that, by explicitly identifying the amount of funding available for such programs, the resulting political controversy could well put both the programs and their clientele at further risk. Here there is no answer other than commitment. Where political leaders fail to make access to real educational attainment a public priority, there is little likelihood that any program designed to "level the playing field" will succeed.

3. Public agencies require more effective strategies for ensuring a broader mix of publicly supported institutions. What is required is a mindset that can accommodate a substantially expanded range of learners and educational needs, including but not limited to the traditional undergraduate proceeding directly from high school. Equally important are the 29-year-old parent who is completing a baccalaureate degree at night, the 40-year-old Ph.D. who needs retooling in mediated instruction, the 35-year-old software engineer who is six months behind and needs an upgrade, and the high school dropout who, having struggled to earn a GED, now sees in further education a real prospect for financial security.

Some will be tempted to let the market solve the problem of program diversity, relying on demand to attract the necessary capital -- the entrepreneur's version of "where there's a will there's a way!" In this case, the most likely result will be more specialty vendors -- either for-profit firms or subsidiaries attached to more traditional institutions -- focusing on educational programs yielding high margins for the vendor and better salaries for the graduate. Traditionally configured institutions would, in effect, be let off the hook, temporarily secure in their guarantee of continued public appropriation. Sooner or later, however, students in those newer programs would demand the same kinds of subsidies available to students enrolled in more traditional institutions. Having allowed its public colleges and universities to continue business pretty much as usual, a state's political leaders would find themselves in the unenviable position of having to deny the aspirations of an important, upwardly mobile band of constituents; of having to defund a set of public institutions, in themselves an important political constituency; or of having to increase the overall amount of funding available to postsecondary education -- no mean feat in an age when so much of the public is enamored with smaller governments and lower taxes.

The alternative is for a state to use the power of public subsidy and price support to encourage its more traditionally configured institutions to be less set in their ways, more willing and able to develop, test and then market new programs. Part of the answer lies in reducing the levels of bureaucracy the state itself imposes on its institutions. Part of the answer lies in encouraging publicly funded institutions to reconsider how they recruit, assign and reward faculty. Equally important is to recognize the ways in which public agencies reinforce or distort the shape of institutions by their use of the subsidy; a state policy that prohibits the granting of student aid to part-time students, for example, will have an effect on the structure and motivations of higher education institutions. Ultimately, however, if a given state wants a more diversified set of postsecondary programs -- without letting the market be the sole determinant of who and what is taught -- then the state will have to become an active partner in those new ventures, supplying much of the necessary venture capital.

4. End "seat time" as the principal certifier of educational mastery. Probably the most important revolution on higher education's horizon is the shifting from processes to outcomes -- from asking, "What courses did you take and pass when you were in college?" to asking, "What do you know and what can you do?" For most of this century, seat time -- the accumulation of academic credits through the taking and passing of courses -- has served higher education well. It has been simple, quantifiable and largely uncontroversial.

The credit hour model, however, does not measure what the student can do, with or without the benefit of instruction. Seat time does not have much meaning for self-paced distance learning in which the student first learns and then demonstrates his or her newly acquired competency. More generally, the focus on the accumulation of course credits contributes to the fragmentation of the curriculum and the discontinuity of elements even within individual courses, reinforcing the notion that it is teaching rather than learning that matters, placing the emphasis on how well the instructor performs as opposed to the process by which the student acquires, tests and applies knowledge.

Here it is helpful to think back to an old model: Oxford's and Cambridge's use of external examiners raises the question of having a body or mechanism external to the institution certify student learning and performance. Systems employing external examiners and examinations forge partnerships between students and instructor, sharing the risks and penalties associated with failure. When the process of learning is separated from its certification, the instructor becomes more of an advocate than a judge -- indeed, he or she becomes something of a co-conspirator in the student's search for academic mastery. What a system of external examination accomplishes, as well, is a renewed focus on outcomes -- on what the student is supposed to know and can be expected to do. External examination can only proceed if the aims of the learning experience are well specified and if the goals of the course or program of study are known in advance. Not so coincidentally, specifying the outcomes is what distance and self-paced learning require.

Administratively, it is certainly easier to leave the certification of learning to the instructor -- it becomes part of his or her workload, thus avoiding the problems inherent in establishing and managing any system of external examination. Those who like the present system the best, or so it seems, are actually those responsible for funding public institutions: It provides a simple, convenient, easily quantified way of distributing money. The more students an institution enrolls in its courses, the more money it gets -- regardless of what the student learns.

Would changing the mechanisms by which public funds are distributed be that difficult? If what the public wants are results, why not make funding more dependent on demonstrated outcomes? What would happen if an institution were reimbursed for its costs only to the degree that the student had demonstrated mastery of the subject? Such a reimbursement system would require that a state or some other agency establish the necessary mechanisms of external examination. We suspect, however, that most states -- or more likely, regional consortia -- will find themselves in that business as they come to certify or credit courses taught on the Web or other forms of mediated learning that physically separate student and instructor. In this connection, the experience of the fledgling Western Governors University will supply important lessons to all of higher education.

5. Ultimately, higher education's success requires students to take more responsibility for their own learning. Students may avail themselves of the most dedicated and skillful instructors, the most carefully wrought and effective curricula, the most sophisticated learning environments and technology -- and yet the learning that occurs will be minimal without a commitment to expand their own knowledge and abilities. The truth is that today too many students are minimalists in this regard. They are likely to be more aggressive, even litigious, in the search for easier courses and better grades than they are in the quest for learning itself. Several factors have contributed to the lengthening of average "time to degree": the absence of strong articulation between two-year and four-year institutions, the inferior quality of much academic advising, a shortage of seats in required courses, and students' need to work to meet the costs of their education. But it also is true that many students do not seem to be in too great a hurry. It is somewhat alarming to note that faculty who are too quick to label their students as lazy actually overestimate by as much as one third the amount of time their students spend on homework assignments. The problem is not so much that students are not hard workers as that too often they are working on other things.

Taking more responsibility for their own learning also means becoming better educational consumers -- even shoppers. When markets matter, as is increasingly the case in higher education, the range as well as the quality of products is often a function of the skill of the consumer as a "knowing shopper." Much of the dysfunctional nature of the educational market today derives from the fact that most students and their parents are too quick to mistake prestige for quality, too little aware of the importance of their own role in the educational transaction, too seldom able to balance short-term convenience against long-term return. There are, to be sure, important exceptions to this observation. Adult learners, simply because they have more experience, are often more canny buyers of educational programs. Some employers are becoming more sophisticated as well, often serving as direct purchasers themselves rather than simply reimbursing tuition charged to their employees. Perhaps the best shoppers of all are the parents of children with learning disabilities, who know that they must find an institution that teaches in ways their children can learn.

What we have in mind is simple enough. Extend the capacity of public agencies to provide reliable consumer information -- or, better yet -- to create a climate of assessment that, because it eschews punitive score keeping, provides the kinds of measures and indicators that students and their families might actually use in making educational choices.

Notes on Strategy
In many ways what we have proposed is old fashioned -- as it should be. For a half century, opportunity through access has been the central tenet of American higher education policy, spawning in the process a network of diverse institutions and a collective student body that comes remarkably close to matching the diversity of the nation from which it is drawn. It is an agenda that is never finished; the enabling of individuals will always be central to the business of government. We have extended that agenda only by insisting that it is the successful attainment of knowledge and skills that is the mark of true access. To settle for less is to engage in a process of educational triage that does no one proud.

We believe it also helps to read correctly the political tea leaves. Access agendas tied irrevocably to the language and mechanisms of affirmative action currently have little practical appeal. What still makes sense to a majority of Americans, however, are programs and policies that focus on socioeconomic status rather than ethnicity, gender or national origin. Such a focus makes clear, for example, that access and attainment are issues whose discussion ought not center just on minority populations and inner cities.

We close with a final caution. On many campuses, even in some legislative hallways, the response to our agenda may well be to ask, "What's the problem?" Times are pretty good; in most states revenues are up, rainy-day funds have been restored, and appropriations to public institutions have again begun to grow. Even where public appropriations have remained flat or diminished, there is a growing sense on campuses across the country that they can make it on their own -- or at least earn through their own efforts the extra discretionary funds that make the difference between an institution that is strapped and one that is investing in its own future. The need for public funds and hence a public agenda is always much clearer in times of scarcity.

To pursue this line of reasoning is to make a potentially fatal mistake. Higher education is the public's business. What happens in college and university classrooms, whether real or virtual, matters. And it matters that members of the public, through the engines of public policy, have a substantial stake in the outcomes.

Traditionally, colleges and universities have gone to public agencies, often with hat in hand, asking for what they need: new buildings, funds with which to launch new programs, funds to support their growing commitment to financial assistance. The conventional wisdom is to suggest that most states are simply not prepared to make substantial new investments in higher education, with other priorities, including the cutting of taxes, exerting greater pull in the construction of annual budgets. Many state legislatures and administrative offices convey a palpable sense that there is no need to reconsider either the level of funding or the way in which they accord the subsidy to higher education -- that it can make it on its own.

And so it can, though the likely result will be a collection of higher education providers much different from what most have imagined and, we believe, most would really want. The likely result would be an enterprise that is primarily driven by the discipline of markets, producing outcomes that satisfy the needs of those individuals who can afford to pay, but that ignores those outcomes that must be pursued for the collective good. If public higher education wants a glimpse into what such a future might hold, it need only look at what is happening to non-profit community and teaching hospitals in an industry increasingly dominated by for-profit and quasi-for-profit health care centers.

Without a sufficient level of public funding, higher education effectively ceases to be a public good. Or, to put the matter more directly, without the public underwriting of a substantial portion of the cost of providing higher education, it becomes more difficult to conceive, much less achieve, a truly public agenda for higher education.





THE ESSAY, "A Very Public Agenda," is based on a special policy roundtable, convened in April 1998 by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, in conjunction with the Knight Higher Education Collaborative.

The following individuals served as participants in that discussion and helped to shape the resulting essay.
 
Loren J. Anderson
President, Pacific Lutheran University
Dan Angel
President, Stephen F. Austin State University
Michael A. Baer
Senior Vice President for Programs and Analysis, American Council on Education
Lois A. Callahan
Chancellor Emerita, San Mateo County Community College District
James J. Duderstadt
President Emeritus and University Professor of Science and Engineering, The University of Michigan
Milton A. Gordon
President, California State University, Fullerton
Darryl G. Greer
Executive Director, New Jersey State College Governing Boards Association
Patricia J. Gumport
Executive Director, National Center for Postsecondary Improvement, Stanford University
John Immerwahr
Senior Research Fellow, Public Agenda Foundation;
D. Bruce Johnstone
University Professor of Higher and Comparative Education, State University of New York at Buffalo
Dennis P. Jones
President, National Center for Higher Education Management Systems
Donald N. Langenberg
Chancellor, University System of Maryland
Clara M. Lovett
President, Northern Arizona University
John M. McCardell, Jr.
President, Middlebury College
Sherry H. Penney
Chancellor, University of Massachusetts Boston
Robert T. Tad Perry
Executive Director, South Dakota Board of Regents
Michael Rao
Chancellor, Montana State University, Northern
Kerry D. Romesburg
President, Utah Valley State College
Hoke L. Smith
President, Towson University
Virginia B. Smith
President Emerita, Vassar College
Glen R. Stine
Vice President for Budget and Finance, University of Colorado
Gilbert R. Whitaker, Jr.
Dean, Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management, Rice University
 
From the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education:
Patrick M. Callan
Joni E. Finney
 
From the Knight Higher Education Collaborative:
Ann J. Duffield
Joan S. Girgus
Gregory R. Wegner
Robert Zemsky

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