By Bob Daugherty
President, Chancellor University
What does it mean to have a University or College degree? There are as many answers as there are Universities and Colleges – truly thousands. For many graduates, however, especially those students who earned their degree well into adulthood, it is a symbol of a remarkable achievement. Returning to school after being away for many years is not easy. It requires self-reliance and a willingness to try new things. Adult students often have full-time jobs and/or responsibilities at home as a parent or caretaker. To say it takes discipline and time management skills is an understatement. More importantly, to sustain this effort over the course of entire associate, bachelor or master’s program is truly outstanding.
But what should a University graduate know? Over the last couple of years, public policy makers have advocated for a common definition of what students should be able to do. They argue that without a common definition, the quality of higher education will be diminished. This push to set a common standard at the national level has been met with skepticism by some faculty and administrators. As a result, there is no generally accepted standard of what represents quality in American higher education. This is changing and depending on the subject matter, this change has some positives.
For employers, they deserve to know before hiring someone what the graduate knows. For government officials who are spending tax dollars to support student loans, they deserve to know what kind of return they can expect on the education students receive and most importantly, for the students themselves, they deserve to know what value a specific University or College provides. Value being defined as a meaningful indicator that the degree earned is proof the students is competent or a master of her subject.