Tuesday Follow Up

Listing of posts, UAGC to be fully integrated, and UC system changes (again) plans for online

Was this forwarded to you by a friend? Sign up, and get your own copy of the news that matters sent to your inbox every week. Sign up for the On EdTech newsletter. Interested in additional analysis? Try with our 30-day free trial and Upgrade to the On EdTech+ newsletter.

No, the title doesn’t have the alliteration of Friday Follow Up, but there’s a lot going on this week that updates previous coverage. Let’s dig in.

On EdTech Listing

Last week I described our one-year anniversary of the On EdTech newsletter, as it was reintroduced with new branding and extended coverage. It turns out that I need to work on my marketing skills, as one reader wanted to know more about the premium On EdTech+ option, including a list of premium posts to get a sense of that expanded coverage. We now have a page that keeps a list of our posts, both free and premium, including links for each to go to the posts. Anyone who wants to upgrade, use this link, which includes a 30-day free trial.

Beyond the marketing angle, this page is really going to help us doing research for new posts - thanks for the suggestion!

UAGC Soap Opera

There is so much drama going on with the University of Arizona (UA) and its financial and governance crisis, which we plan to cover in more detail in the coming weeks. The latest, for those who have not kept up, involves faculty senate chair’s questions about the chair of the board of regents and his potential conflict of interest, leading to him threatening legal action, followed by the governor rightly calling bullshit on the chair and the board. This is not just a soap opera, it actually explains a great deal of why and how the UA created the University of Arizona Global Campus (UAGC) by buying Ashford University.

One item that is getting buried in this daily news is that the UA leadership plans to fully integrate UAGC in UA. Initially UAGC was created as a separate entity owned by the board and affiliated with UA, with Zovio (the for-profit remnants of Ashford) acting as an OPM. Two related developments followed:

What was not clear was what that purchase would mean, since UAGC is still its own institution, even though fully owned. Well, it turns out that UA is going for broke and will 100% absorb UAGC, as described in the board’s initial report to the governor [emphasis added].

Dr. Marx, Dr. Packard, Dean of UArizona’s Eller College of Management Karthik Kannan, Ph.D., and their team have already begun a detailed department-by-department, program-by-program, and in some cases course-by-course review and analysis of UAGC and the development of a plan to complete the full integration of UAGC into UArizona, including ending UAGC’s status as a separately accredited Title IV institution and its operation under its separate Office of Postsecondary Education Identification (“OPEID”) number.

This new approach, to not even leave UAGC as a separate entity, has not been fully understood in public discussion. It raises many new questions, including in the current metrics-obsessed regulatory environment, how much UA’s metrics will change based on the full integration. Retention rates, graduation rates, and the new Financial Value Transparency metrics.

University of California Partially Faces Reality

In early January, we described how the University of California (UC) system faculty senate voted to disallow any fully-online undergraduate programs. This led to a governance mini-crisis (mini added thanks to UA), where system administrators argued that this was not a decision for the faculty to make.

Today’s news is that the UC board of regents voted 10 to 1 to overturn that faculty senate decision and to allow undergraduate online programs. Much like UA, the governance implications around online learning are heating up.

“It’s within the board’s authority to make a decision in the area of degree requirements, but the way it was carried out was damaging to shared governance,” said James Steintrager, chair of the Academic Senate.

Steintrager said there are no immediate plans to respond to the regents’ reversal, adding that the Senate does not have the power to override the decision. But, he said, there will be a response about the regents’ decision-making process.

Expect more coverage soon on both the University of Arizona and University of California online education (and governance) stories.

The main On EdTech newsletter is free to share in part or in whole. All we ask is attribution.

Thanks for being a subscriber.