There are many alternative facts I choose to believe in my personal life; for instance, the salad I eat for dinner cancels out the cheesesteak I had for lunch; or the sale is so good I can’t afford not to buy a singing Margaritaville machine; or I’m completely up for going to a bar instead of sitting at home reading in my pajamas.
It seems that we all have these alternative facts we tell ourselves instead of the truth, and higher education is no different. No matter how many times research reports, educator testimonials, or student performance metrics reveal seemingly undeniable truths, antiquated practices or beliefs about how higher education should operate are still used frequently thanks to the citation of these alternative facts.
The editors at eCampous News quickly brainstormed what we believe are higher education’s alternative facts that exist today, but we’d love to hear your suggestions! Make sure you leave your comments in the section below.
Alternative Fact 1: The nontraditional student is not a concern for every institution.
Maybe for community colleges this is an issue, but for ivy league schools and traditional institutions, traditional students are the norm. Therefore, nothing needs to change in terms of student services or alternative learning pathways.
Real Fact: The nontraditional student is the norm, now.
According to recent national data, characteristics formerly associated with nontraditional students are the characteristics the majority of students have today. Blended learning, online learning, accelerated programs and nontraditional degree pathways should be options considered by any institution looking to better serve students today.
Alternative Fact 2: Having institutional data is enough.
Many institutions, especially R1 universities, have been collecting data for years now; and this data is primed and ready to be used for decision-making.
Real Fact: Just having data does not mean it will yield any improvements.
Colleges and universities are quickly coming to realize that even sophisticated analytics dashboards don’t truly help unless leadership knows the questions to ask of this data. Read more about this topic here.