October 17, 2021

Moneycollege: Where is the Billy Beane of Higher Education?

Interesting article from University Ventures Fund:

If you’ve seen Moneyball, the new baseball film about the unlikely success of the Oakland A’s and their out-of-the-box-thinking General Manager Billy Beane, you may have already drawn parallels to the current state of higher education. If not, we’re pleased to do it for you!

Like baseball ten years ago, higher education is focused on what’s easy to measure. For baseball it may have been body parts, batting average and the number on the radar gun. For higher education, it’s the 3Rs: research, rankings and real estate. Each of these areas is easily quantified or judged: research citations or number of publications in Nature and Science; U.S. News ranking (or colleges choose from a plethora of new entrants to the ranking game, including the international ranking by Shanghai Jiao Tong University); and in terms of real estate, how much has been spent on a new building and how stately, innovative and generally impressive it appears.

Unfortunately, the 3Rs correlate about as closely to student learning and student outcomes as batting average or fastball velocity, which is to say, not at all. Buildings are the “ugly girlfriend” of higher education.

Universities that continue to focus on the 3Rs in the wake of the seismic shifts currently roiling higher education (state budget cuts, increased sticker shock, technology-based learning) are either not serious about improving student learning and student outcomes, or they’re like the baseball fan who has lost her car keys in the stadium parking lot at night: Where does she look for them? Not where she lost them, but under the light because that’s where she can see.

To read the entire article: http://universityventuresfund.com/publications.php?title=moneycollege-where-is-the-billy-beane-of-higher-education

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