not such a good idea: HBCU of Phoenix

By ann summers

Some historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) are public institutions who are being encouraged to subcontract curriculum to the for-profit University of Phoenix. At a moment when the discourse is about making public education more affordable or free, this form of charter-school capitalism, a.k.a. privatization by other means, at the higher education level runs counter to many unique academic missions at ultimately the expense not only of faculty employment but of public funds.

As entrepreneurial as such partnerships might be, they are as controversial as a recent discussion about Cornel West’s facilitating access for Bernie Sanders’s campaign to HBCUs.

Wouldn’t it have been wiser to make, as other non-profit institutions have already developed other types of partnerships with the central HBCU consortium organization, an open source, centrally shared, or cloud-based distance learning platform available to all HBCUs that meets their needs more closely. It would employ more local faculty rather than essentially off-shoring education production to a state already hostile to educating POC with its elimination of various ethnic studies curricula.

OTOH, this is the moment where the University of Phoenix could begin to think about fielding an actual team for its stadium.

HBCUs Aren’t Sold on Course Partnerships With U. of Phoenix

By Goldie Blumenstyk CHE

Nearly a year after the Thurgood Marshall College Fund announced an alliance to encourage historically black colleges to make use of the online courses and distance-education expertise of the University of Phoenix, few of the 100-plus eligible institutions seem to be taking the for-profit provider up on its offer.

To date, only Florida A&M University and Paul Quinn College appear close to creating any sort of partnership with Phoenix, and the Florida A&M project wouldn’t involve students directly. Two other HBCUs, Morgan State and Grambling State Universities, are considering more-limited deals…

HBCUs would pay Phoenix $395 for each student who completed a course using its platform.

When the alliance was announced, some observers questioned both Phoenix’s motives and the wisdom of HBCUs’ working with a provider whose academic reputation was under fire. Mr. Taylor says those concerns don’t worry him. Phoenix’s motivation “could be purely political,” he says, “but it doesn’t matter to me.”….

Even as its enrollment has slumped, Phoenix is known for recruiting a high proportion of minority students, while many ​​HBCUs struggle to attract students…

Florida A&M considered a relationship along the lines of the one Mr. Taylor had devised, but Timothy E. Moore, vice president for research, says both the president and the provost “expressed some reservations.” So he “reformulated it.”

Next month, says Mr. Moore, the university plans to announce a “research project” using Phoenix’s technology in online and hybrid teaching in the middle- and senior-high-school classes that Florida A&M runs on its campus, in Tallahassee.

When the alliance was announced, officials said the partnership opportunities would also be open to private HBCUs, like Paul Quinn. The college, in Dallas, plans to allow its students to take Phoenix courses beginning in January, to make up credits and remain on track to graduate. Paul Quinn is converting to a “work college” model, in which students’ labor both educates them and keeps the campus going…

Grambling State and Morgan State have been meeting with officials from Phoenix and the Marshall fund. Morgan State officials are “in discussions” about a possible partnership to offer developmental courses, says its president, David Wilson. The terms of any possible agreement “are still under review,” he says.

Grambling is considering a program aimed at former students who left because they lost eligibility for financial aid as a result of poor academic performance. The idea has been a “hard sell for the faculty,” says the provost, Janet A. Guyden. The discussions are on hold until the new president, Willie D. Larkin, who took office in July, has a chance to review it.

 

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