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University URLs: Benchmarking CUNY Critical Maintenance and Student Performance

posted Jun 6, 2017, 8:42 PM by Jay Weiser   [ updated Jun 8, 2017, 11:51 PM ]
From Jay Weiser


Wall Street Journal articles compare CUNY with other university systems nationwide.  
  • On the (relatively) bright side, Aging Pipes and Leaky Roofs Plague College Campuses flags CUNY's Critical Maintenance program as a national leader.  Nationally, universities face a looming disaster after neglecting their existing physical plant, often in favor of glitzy new buildings.  As the WSJ notes, CUNY has earmarked $3 billion in capital budget money for this over the next five years -- essential given our ancient real estate portfolio. ("Earmarked" is not the same as hard dollars for projects underway, given CUNY's byzantine capital budget process.)  Many thanks to Vice Chancellor Judy Bergtraum and the Facilities Planning, Construction and Management staff for their energy and persistence on this giant, unglamorous and crucial initiative, which started back in 2008.
  • Exclusive Test Data: Many Colleges Fail to Improve Critical-Thinking Skills will come as no surprise to readers who have just finished grading student papers. This massive piece of enterprise journalism, based on freedom of information requests, compares freshman and senior results, primarily from public universities around the country, using the Collegiate Learning Assessment Plus (CLA+). The companion article, A Closer Look at CLA+ Test Results, includes value-added scores for seven CUNY senior colleges.  All show a net negative, as well as low percentile scores based on national comparisons. The CLA+ design skews CUNY's numbers lower. CUNY senior college freshmen tend to come in with higher levels of academic preparation, but the colleges' senior classes include many transfers from community colleges with lower levels of preparation. The best endorsement of CLA+ may come from the universities that tell the Journal they've stopped using it: in American education, the truth hurts. Here's Phil Pecorino's earlier take on CLA.
  • In The Diminishing Returns of a College Degree, Dick Vedder and and  Justin Strehle add to their series on the college degree glut.  Reporting national statistics, this piece doesn't benchmark across universities.  The subhed notes: "In the mid-1970s, far less than 1% of taxi drivers were graduates. By 2010 more than 15% were."
#CLA #collegiatelearningassessement #criticalmaintenance #collegeinfrastructure

Jay Weiser is Associate Professor of Law at Baruch College, a member of the UFS Executive Committee and UFS Legal Affairs Chair.

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Image credit:  Jason Lengstorf, Bench PressCreative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.