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Synthesis 2013

Dartmouth Strategic Planning



Virtual Lab Experiment

The California State University System is spending $17.2 million on education technology to break the so-called course bottleneck that prevents students from advancing, prompts some to drop out and consumes state resources. By investing in virtual labs to end in-the-flesh lab experimentation for students who are not biology majors, Cal State will reduce personnel costs and increase course capacity. Rivard, Ry. "Virtual Lab Experiment." Inside HigherEd, 23 May, 2013. Read article »

Dire Warnings as Cuts Approach

What will sequestration mean for colleges and universities? A lack of clear guidance from federal agencies on how cuts will be applied to educational programs has made uncertainty the prevailing sentiment on campuses. The cuts may impact research and financial aid the most, with the former affected more quickly than the latter. “In some cases, campus researchers working on federally funded projects have put off hiring lab staff or purchasing equipment until the budgetary picture is more clear.” Nelson, Libby. “Dire Warnings as Cuts Approach.” Inside Higher Ed, 1 March 2013. Read article »

Obama Seeking to Boost Study of Human Brain

After alluding to brain research in his February 12th State of the Union Address, President Obama has announced plans for a decade-long study of the human brain. Not unlike the Human Genome Project of the nineties, Obama’s brain project will focus on building a comprehensive map of neural activity. Many are hopeful that the results of the research will help scientists better understand and find therapies for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other mental illnesses, as well as further advance artificial intelligence. Scientists also hope that federal financing for the project will run upwards of $300 million per year. Markoff, John. “Obama Seeking to Boost Study of Human Brain.” 17 Feb. 2013. Read article »

Dartmouth’s unresearched swipes at AP

A Washington Post education columnist criticizes Dartmouth’s recent decision to deny college credit for AP. Jay Mathews suggests that “faculty’s resentment of high school teachers showing them up” may be to blame when colleges like Dartmouth deny students AP credit. He argues that Dartmouth faculty did not base their decision on adequate research and cites studies from 2007 and 2009 as evidence that students with scores of 3 or better on AP exams do better in the next level course in most subjects than students who start in the introductory college course for that subject. Mathews, Jay. “Dartmouth’s unresearched swipes at AP.” The Washington Post (Blog), 27 Jan. 2013. Read article »

New Cornell Technology School Tightly Bound to Business

Cornell NYC Tech is a new graduate school of applied science designed to “cultivate entrepreneurial technologists” by melding commerce with education. Its temporary campus in the middle of Google’s $2 billion dollar New York headquarters will accommodate students until a much larger permanent campus is built on Roosevelt Island, where classrooms and office buildings will stand side-by-side. Some are skeptical about the university’s entrance into “for-profit science” and warn of the potential for conflicts of interest among faculty. Kaminer, Ariel. “New Cornell Technology School Tightly Bound to Business.” The New York Times, 21 Jan. 2013. Read article »

Researchers, MOOCs, and Online Programs

Dartmouth’s Josh Kim writes that although a great benefit of the popularity of MOOCs and other online learning programs has been a renewed focus on teaching, research is not getting enough attention. The extent to which blended/online programs and MOOCs recruit top faculty researchers, or knowledge creators, as Kim calls them, will determine the success of those programs. Kim suggests that because top researchers teach at the frontier of course content, and because they are embedded in the practice of that content, they will bring the most value to online programs. And since top quality researchers are spread throughout higher ed, the best of every institution can be brought to the forefront when top researchers showcase their institution’s area(s) of excellence. Kim, Joshua. “Researchers, MOOCs, and Online Programs.” Inside Higher Ed, 14 Jan. 2013. Read article »

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We want to scour the world to try to find those things that strike us as truly forward-looking. President Jim Yong Kim