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Up Front Summer 2013



Report: Higher Education Financing ‘Unsustainable’

A new report from the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), Improving Postsecondary Education through the Budget Process: Challenges & Opportunities, explores current state financing for higher education and suggests ways to improve. NASBO calls the current structure of higher education financing “unsustainable” and urges universities to slow tuition increases, be more transparent about college costs, and target funding for improved outcomes, among other ideas. The report was funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. To read the report, visit

A Tenure Alternative?

Faculty members at Florida Polytechnic University (FPU), an institution that expects to welcome its first students in 2014, will be offered fixed-term, multi-year contracts of varying lengths that will be renewed based on performance, following a vote by FPU’s board of trustees. Inside Higher Ed reports that FPU, formerly known as University of South Florida Polytechnic, would be the only non-unionized public university in the state. Thomas Auxter, statewide president of the United Faculty of Florida, and an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Florida, casts doubt on the likelihood that high-achieving faculty would be attracted to an institution “where you’re just hiring and rehiring people at the lowest price you can get away with.” For more on this topic, visit

How Distance Learning Went Wrong—and Right

State U Online, a new report from the New America Foundation and Education Sector, explores the development of public-institution distance learning in the United States. From the eighteenth century up to the present, the report plumbs both successes and failures in the ongoing attempt to offer postsecondary education to greater numbers of students. You can access the full report at

Wanted: Higher Ed Innovation, Offering: $500,000

The Minerva Prize, to be awarded for the first time in May 2014, will go to one university faculty member “who is driving innovation to deliver extraordinary student learning experiences for the twenty-first century,” according to the Minerva Project (, which plans to begin offering for-profit online classes in 2015. The annual prize of $500,000 is described as the largest of its type in higher education.

Additional information can be found via the Minerva Project’s website or through the following article in The Washington Post:



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