Falsifying student attendance records, inflating grades or misrepresenting placement numbers are completely unacceptable. Institutions that engage in such practices as a stated or implied matter of policy deserve sanction, whether they be traditional or non-traditional colleges. Satisfactory academic progress is first and foremost a responsibility of the student, but it is also an administrative matter for title IV administration; institutions can and should encourage, inspire, motivate and mentor students to achieve, but there can be no substitute for real accomplishments.
Other issues raised in the article do not constitute misconduct, and only can be construed as such by someone with an ideological ax to grind:
- There is nothing wrong with an instructor or other staff member encouraging students to attend class. Too many traditional school faculty do not care if their students show up except for their midterm and final examinations, and students know this. Private sector college and university (PSCU) faculty, on the other hand, do care intensely about attendance of their students and understand that non-attendance is often a road to failure. Also, as they prepare students for careers, the faculty imbue their students with the thought that not showing up for class is no more acceptable at a PSCU than is not showing up for work after they graduate and expect to be respected as a good worker. Maintaining high attendance can be a special challenge for institutions serving at-risk student populations, such as PSCUs. With fewer financial resources and more family obligations, these students face greater life challenges that make uninterrupted college attendance more tenuous. A broken down car or an unreliable child care-giver can mean the difference between going to class and not going to class. As a matter of mission and purpose, private sector colleges and universities work with their student populations to solve issues that may impede class attendance.
- There is nothing wrong with students performing extra-credit assignments to improve their class standing. This is a standard practice in all of higher education.
- There is nothing wrong with using student evaluation surveys as one input into overall instructor evaluation. Again, this is a standard practice in all of higher education. Students sharing information about the degree of difficulty applied in a particular class or the grading standards of particular instructors is a practice as old as higher education itself (for those who may have forgotten how the Universities of Bologna and Paris were organized). Students are savvy consumers and are not amenable to seeing their hard work short changed. Instructors artificially inflating grades to gain higher survey scores and better compensation would quickly be found out, regardless of the type of institution at which they teach.
nationwide at community colleges—suggest otherwise.
PSCUs focus on outcomes, which, absent the pay day of triple damages lawsuits and much aggrieved whistle-blowers, are widely considered a good thing.
Harris N. Miller