Friday, May 15, 2009

UPCOMING EVENT: Monday, May 18 Assessing University Performance

An event cosponsored by the American Enterprise Institute and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity

Monday, May 18, 2009, 9:00am – 12:30pm
Wohlstetter Conference Center, Twelfth Floor, AEI
1150 Seventeenth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036

Please register for this event in advance at

Shortly after the event occurs, a video web cast will be available on the AEI website at

For more information, please contact Daniel Bennett at or by calling (202) 375-7831.

Each year, prospective college students and university officials alike eagerly await the publication of the latest college rankings. The concept of rankings colleges is not new, dating back to the early twentieth century, but only in the past two decades have they assumed commercial importance.. Consumers and policy makers have little information available by which to assess the performance of the vast number of colleges in the U.S. when making critical financial decisions, so they are forced to rely on the few measures that are publicly available, including, most notably, the various college rankings.

While providing consumers with a quantifiable way to compare colleges, rankings are imperfect at accurately assessing university performance. Indicators that measure what colleges add to student knowledge and skills, or which measure management effectiveness are not widely available, which ironically contributes both to the popularity of rankings and the difficulty to obtain truly meaningful assessments of college performance. As the cost of college continues to soar, the time has come to question whether not having an effective means to evaluate colleges has exasperated the academic arms race.

This conference will ponder several questions: do rankings help or hinder intelligent decision-making by consumers and producers of higher education services? Do the rankings contribute to the “academic arms race” pushing up college costs? How should rankings change to make them more useful and productive? What sorts of additional information should colleges provide to permit better rankings and more informed consumer choices? Scholars, education leaders and rankings experts will participate in three separate panel discussions related to the issues of university performance assessment.

The schedule of events is as follows:

8:45 am - Registration

9:00 am - Assessing University Performance: The Role of Rankings

MICHAEL NOER, Executive News Editor, Forbes
MEL ELFIN, Retired, US News & World Reports
ROBERT MORSE. Director of Data Research,
US News & World Reports
LUKE MYERS, Center for College Affordability & Productivity
10:10 am - Are College Rankings Harmful or Helpful?

DOUG LEDERMAN, Co-Founder, Insider Higher Ed
PATRICK CALLAN, President, National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education
JAMES BOYLE, President, College Parents for America
STEVEN R. GOODMAN, Co-author of College Admissions Together: It Takes a Family
11:20 am - New Approaches to Assessing University Performance

ROBERT GLIDDEN, President Emeritus, Ohio University;
Former Chair, CHEA
CLIFFORD ADELMAN, Senior Associate, Institute for Higher Education Policy
CAROL G. SCHNEIDER, President, Association of American Colleges and Universities
RICHARD VEDDER, Director, Center for College Affordability & Productivity; AEI

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