Thursday, March 20, 2008

Ask My Readers: Questions for Some Bigwigs

Scott Jaschik, at, will be moderating a panel at the AACC meeting in Philadelphia entitled “Community Colleges: Who Should Judge Them and How?” The blurb in the program reads:

Higher education is in period of unprecedented scrutiny, with constant talk of accountability, assessment, and standards – all with a backdrop of a tightening budget picture. This panel – together with the audience – will explore such questions as: Who should evaluate whether community colleges are doing a good job? What are appropriate measures? Do traditional and new measures reflect the changes in the community college curriculum and student body? What are the roles of the government, accreditors and the press? Do traditional means to evaluate higher education hurt community colleges and what can be done about it?

This session will not feature long talks, but will largely be a freestyle discussion among panelists and the audience.


--George Boggs, president of the American Association of Community Colleges

--Kevin Carey, research and policy manager for Education Sector and creator of a community college rankings system for Washington Monthly.

--Gail O. Mellow, president of LaGuardia Community College

--Felice Nudelman, education manager of The New York Times

Moderator: Scott Jaschik, editor of Inside Higher Ed

Scott and I discussed having me on the panel, but we couldn't figure out a reasonable way to do that without 'outing' me. Since the President of a cc at which I'm a candidate for a VP position will be at the conference, I'm guessing this isn't the time. And the old “unknown comic” shtick of a paper bag on the head just isn't terribly dignified. (“The unknown blogger” seems almost redundant.)

So instead, we agreed that I'd ask my readers for questions to pose for the panelists. I'll add a few of my own, and Scott can use his discretion in deciding which to use. With two major media outlets, a college President, and the President of the AACC on the panel, this is a chance to pose difficult but important questions to folks with real influence.

So my question for my wise, worldly, learned, and good-looking readers: what would you like to ask these folks?