HUFFINGTON POST: Survey Says: The 2015 Higher Ed Survey of College and University Presidents

Career College Central Summary:

  • Jointly sponsored by Inside Higher Education and Gallup for the past five years, this survey offers insight into the challenges facing college and university presidents, whether public or private. It also seeks their perspectives on a wide range of "hot button" education issues.
  • To determine their findings, Gallup administered 647 web surveys from college presidents, including 338 public institutions, 262 private colleges and universities, 26 college and university systems, and 21 for-profit institutions. The participation rate was 22 percent. The data were not statistically weighted. It is unclear how the "issues" topics were chosen.
  • In some ways, the results are predictable. As expected, the Obama administration's efforts to rate colleges and universities have little support. Only about one in ten presidents rate the proposal favorably. Mr. Obama's second major proposal to make community colleges free for students has more support but is heavily divided along sector lines, with the private colleges opposed to this plan.
  • The findings on sexual assault were more surprising. The survey found that "it is appropriate to use a 'preponderance of evidence' standard, rather than 'guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,' in adjudicating sexual assault complaints." About one-third of those surveyed agree that sexual assault is prevalent on American campuses; however, only six percent think that sexual assault is prevalent at their institutions. Over half blame the role of fraternities in campus sexual assault cases.
  • The same pattern appears when looking at race relations. Eighty-one percent of the presidents believe that race relations are generally good at their institutions but about sixty percent believe that they are the same as they were five years ago. Forty-four percent said that they were better in 2014 than they were five years before.
  • On social issues, the IHE/Gallup survey seems to reinforce the theory that all politics is local. The presidents recognize that the fire is smoldering on the nearby hillside but do not seem to understand that they are under the same drought restrictions favoring conditions that could cause the fire to spread into their neighborhood.
  • While it is obvious that any discussion like sexual abuse or race relations should be set in a broader context during campus debate, are persistent and historic challenges in American society typically worse next door? Or, is the problem a crisis on a campus only when someone lights the match?

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