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Higher Education's Missing Faculty Voices

By Norman M. Bradburn and Robert Townsend, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Conversations about what we need to know about higher education, both to rate college and university performance and to provide information to prospective students and their parents, leave one word largely unspoken: faculty.

A recent report by the Institute for Higher Education Policy, "Mapping the Postsecondary Data Domain," mentions faculty members only once—as users, not as subjects of data. And the report is only the latest in an effusion of discussions of higher-education data needs. The same neglect occurred at a daylong Department of Education symposium on the subject in February. While pondering what we need to know to improve and reform higher education, students, administrators, and researchers were mentioned repeatedly, but the faculty members who teach those students received only rare and fleeting attention.

The absence of any apparent interest in faculty members, crucial players in postsecondary education, seems remarkable if those efforts are intended to genuinely improve the quality of education for students and society.

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