Higher Education Public Policy (Minor)

Truman School of Public Affairs: PUBAF 8860  

ICRP- International Comparative Rural Policy

Barcelona Spain- Universatitas of Barcelona

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Spanish Door
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Having Fun
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Being an ICRP'S student was an incredible experience for several reasons. It was the first policy course that I was exposed to and I met students and faculty from different higher education institutions around the world. I had the opportunity to glean from their experiences and expertise in a face to face setting. Besides the obvious of experiencing Catalonian Culture the course aspects that strengthened my understanding and perspectives were "defining rurality," research methods round tables, criteria for case study comparisons and talking to faculty about their international research projects.

The small group project that I participated in was Urban and Rural Linkages that brought a diverse group of research ideas together for our group presentation. My individual comparative project theme was "Rural Accessibility to Higher Education through Technology and the Internet: A Comparison of the United States and United Kingdom"

My research questions were:

  1. Who does Mizzou Online and Scotland Open University serve through distance education?

  2. Does distance education provide accessibility for rural students to obtain higher education certifications or degrees?

  3. Is there a digital divide that prevents unequal accessibility for rural students from participating in distance education programs?

Academic Capitalism and Global Higher Education: EDLPA 9408

The theory of academic capitalism as a framework was used to understand global trends around rankings, competition, governance, accountability, funding, and internationalization in higher education systems. Major trends and issues facing post-secondary education around the world in light of neoliberalism and globalization were discussed. We were to choose a country other than the U.S.  and  to review policies within this framework. The cultural diversity and knowledge of the students and instructor made this course personally meaningful because it helped me clarify my own research biases in that I tend to think globally instead of nationally. This certainly shapes how I research policy. 

 

Integrating both Courses

The country I choose to study was the UK and look at how higher education policy will change with Brexit. The comparative paper allowed me to research educational technology trends globally and how higher education ed tech policies affect faculty and the student learning experience. Time shifts from pre-to postmodern academia as described by Judith Walker has led to substantial growth rates of the virtual student.  The proliferation of technology in higher education continues to reinvent how knowledge is created, consumed and generated. There are far reaching implications for higher education policies and institutions in how we integrate educational technology to be meaningful in campus life, course design, materials, pedagogy and interactions between students and faculty. My comparative paper examines the roles and future trends of distance education in higher education eco-systems as they pertain to academic capitalism.

I compared the changing and diverse student population in the US and in OECD countries, global digital literacy trends and definitions, and future higher education business models presented in several different countries. I specifically reviewed the MOOCS movement as a global phenomena and found the good, the bad and the ugly along with many policy implications for higher education. 

The University of the Future is a research article from Australia of a future higher education model that was developed by Ernst and Young. Ernst and Young identified three university business models that they see evolving. The ‘streamlined status quo’ model features the teaching and research university that changes how they deliver education and engage with students, faculty, government, stakeholders and community. The second model ‘Niche Dominators’ will feature existing and new universities that target and tailor education services for particular students- ‘customers.’ The third model ‘Transformers’ will be private institutions that will create new markets and sources for economic sectors (Ernst & Young, 2012).

Public Policy Processes and Strategies: PUBAF 8170

Goals of this course:

  • Develop a working knowledge of US policy processes

  • Practice how to interpret and communicate complex issues objectively

  • Analyze and apply policy process theories to real world policy strategy

  • How to find and use written policy

  • Write a federal public policy issue paper from the perspective of a congressional staff assistant attempting to convince a U.S. Congressperson to take a certain position on a topic

  • Present an elevator speech to a prospective Congressperson

 

Policy Topic: Data Privacy and Predictive Analytics in Higher Education

Figure 1: Iron Triangle

Course Artifacts
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" I was able to interweave globalization and academic capitalism as theoretical frameworks in the comparative policy paper for ICRPS.  The two courses complemented each other well."

With decreased federal and state funding budgets, public higher education institutions are tasked with being more transparent, affordable and accessible. Higher education institutions have initiated using big data analytics tools to understand student behaviors and to improve instructional, curricular, and support resources and learning environments. However, learning analytics presents important moral and policy issues surrounding student privacy. In the face of the recent Cambridge Analytica and social media data manipulation, digital privacy is a current policy problem.

In the iron triangle diagram, the Department of Education is the federal agency linked to this policy issue. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds from a program of the U.S. Department of Education. These rights transfer to the student when they reach the age of 18 or attend a school beyond the high school level.

There are many interest groups that surround higher education especially in areas of access and affordability. However, there are groups that are also looking at predictive analytics and  privacy policy issues. I have listed four key interest groups around this policy issue.

The legislative committees that would be involved in this policy issue is the House Sub-Committee Higher Education and Workforce Development and the Senate Committee for Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. The U.S. Senate committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions includes 12 republicans with Lamar Alexander as Chairman and 11 democrats with Patty Murray as the ranking member. The House Sub-Committee for Higher Education and Workforce Development includes Brett Guthrie, Kentucky (Chairman) and Susan A. Davis, California (Ranking Member) and consists of 13 republicans and 11 democrats. (at the time of this project)