Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Dept. of Ed Delays College Ratings Proposal; APLU Continues to Push Its Alternative Proposal

Georgia Southern University's Class of 2014.
Photo credit: Georgia Southern University
Creative Commons License
Last week the U.S. Department of Education announced a delay in the release of its college ratings proposal, citing ongoing conversations with higher education stakeholders on the scope and design the new federal system will take. The original timeline called for a mid-2014 release, but department officials say sometime this fall is more likely.

“The scope of responses, complexity of the task, and importance of doing this thoughtfully and usefully led us to decide that it is worth taking more time before publishing a proposal for comment,” said Jamienne Studley, deputy under secretary of the U.S. Department of Education in a blog post. “We are continuing conversations with educators, families, leaders and researchers. We are on track to come out with a proposal by this fall and a final version of the new ratings system before the 2015-16 school year.”

While APLU agrees with the administration’s goal of increasing transparency and accountability at higher education institutions, the association is advocating for an alternative it developed to the administration’s ratings plan. APLU supports making essential and accurate information, such as the Student Achievement Measure (SAM), about all higher education institutions widely available to students and their families. In addition, APLU proposes tightening up the Title IV federal student aid eligibility process and measuring institutions, after adjusting for the nature of the student body, against key metrics. These measurements should have real consequences, which would be in keeping with the president’s goals to protect students and better use federal resources.

Back in January the association formally sent its alternative proposal to Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan. A month later APLU presented recommendations on providing greater value to students and the public at a symposium on the ratings plan, formally known as the Postsecondary Institution Rating System (PIRS). APLU will use this new delay in the administration’s development of its ratings plan to further push for its alternative proposal.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Slideshow: Cooperative Extension Centennial Celebration

Cooperative Extension celebrated its 100th anniversary last week with a convocation in Washington, DC on May 7&8, 2014. The centennial coincided with the signing of the Smith-Lever Act, which created the national Cooperative Extension network.

Learn more about Cooperative Extension's year-long celebrations at

President Carter Congratulates Cooperative Extension

President Jimmy Carter recorded a special video message for the audience attending the Cooperative Extension centennial convocation on May 8, 2014. The 89-year-old is a 4-H'er, peanut farmer, public servant and statesman. He comments on the importance of Cooperative Extension in his family and his life as well as the important role Extension will play in the future to feed the world. The video is made possible by the University of Georgia.

IFIC Executive Director Reflects on Cooperative Extension's Centennial

After viewing the Smith-Lever Act on display at the National Archives, Kimberly Reed, executive director of the International Food Information Council (IFIC), reflects on the personal impact Cooperative Extension and 4-H has had on her life:

In 1980, when I was nine years old, I lost my mother to cancer. My grandparents Avis and Max Reed took it upon themselves to help my father Terry raise my brother Mark and me. I soon found myself living on their farm in rural Upshur County, near Buckhannon, West Virginia. My grandmother (“Mommers”), who served as a 4-H leader when my father was growing up, quickly enrolled me in 4-H. I soon found myself – a shy, bookish girl – thrust into a group of outgoing kids. I signed up for cooking and sewing projects and was “highly encouraged” (“led by the hand” might be a more accurate term) by Mommers to participate in the county public demonstration contest. As a fourth grader, I had no appreciation that this meant teaching a room full of strangers and three “tough” judges (including a school principal!) how to make homemade hot cocoa. I had no idea that the judges would hurl unanticipated questions at me like “what are the nutritional benefits of your hot chocolate?” I was terrified, but, somehow, I got through my first-ever public speaking experience and even won first place!

Read Reed's full blog posting...

Friday, May 9, 2014

SLIDESHOW: APLU Hangs out with Smith, Lever and Knapp

Look who stopped by APLU to help commemorate the 100th Anniversary of Cooperative Extension. It's (from l to r) Sen. Hoke Smith, Sen. Asbury Lever and Seaman A. Knapp, the father of Cooperative Extension. APLU staffers had fun taking pictures with them as you'll see below. Learn more about them and Cooperative Extension's year-long centennial celebrations at


APLU Discusses Study Abroad at White House Meeting

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
APLU President Peter McPherson (seated on the bottom left)
listens as President Obama discusses his new 100,000
Strong in the Americas initiative.

APLU President Peter McPherson joined NAFSA President Marlene Johnson and others at a White House meeting on advancing "100,000 Strong in the Americas," an initiative focused on expanding educational opportunity and exchange  between the people of the Americas.

The roundtable discussion, which coincided with “Cinco de Mayo” (May 5, 2014), laid out President Obama's plan to bring 100,000 students to the United States to study each year, while also increasing the number of Americans studying abroad in the Western Hemisphere to 100,000.

McPherson emphasized APLU's support for incentive grants to colleges and universities to leverage institutional commitment to study abroad. Such grants would allow institutions to expand study abroad through innovative partnerships and collaboration, removing on-campus barriers to study abroad, and diversifying and integrating opportunities for all students, regardless of their major or socio-economic status, to study abroad.

The group also discussed how the private sector is playing an increasingly important role by investing in international education. By working together with private sector and academia, we can continue building to scale an exchange program that draws on the unparalleled attributes of our colleges and universities, while ensuring that our educational initiatives help develop the skills that can lead to employment and increased competitiveness. 

Read more about this event on the White House’s Blog