Keynote Highlights

Highlights from the Keynote Speech by Dr. Paul Shiffman, Assistant Vice President for Strategic and Governmental Relations, Excelsior College


A Technological Revolution in Education

  • “Postsecondary education in America is now experiencing the full impact of the technological revolution that has promoted dramatic change in many other arenas of daily life. Like medical practice, communications, manufacturing and entertainment, colleges and universities are now using technology extensively to modify and enhance core functions of teaching and learning.”

  • “The boundaries of the residential campus, so central to instruction in the past, no longer bind the time and place of learning.”

  • “A constitutional principle of American government leaves regulation of education specifically in the province of the fifty individual states…Today, institutions that offer instruction across state, regional, and national boundaries are often confronted by duplicative and widely differing regulatory requirements.”

  • “Today, educational institutions, employing the capacities of available technologies, are increasingly able to offer services to students on a national canvas.”


Post-secondary Education and the Changing Workforce

  • “Fundamental to this discussion are the enormous challenges facing the American economy and workforce. The challenges of the global economy, the present economic downturn, and the American culture of mobility, require that we re-evaluate and move to create new opportunities that extend beyond the traditional sources and approaches to workforce education.”

  • “A more recent two-year college study affirms that demand for online/distance learning has outpaced the current capacity of currently available offerings.”

  • “Recent research that confirms that there is ‘no significant difference’ between the outcomes of learning acquired in a classroom and those acquired through online education.”

Improving Institutional Quality

  • “The challenge is not simply one of rationalizing policy and statute; it is also one of proposing an appropriate approach to regulation for the states.  Movement toward a high degree of reciprocity would help all states to offer effective oversight and consumer protection to their citizens, build confidence across America in the quality of approved educational products, and reduce the substantial costs and personal time commitments for both states and institutions.”

  • “The most pressing problem is the distortion of the link between evaluative oversight and consumer protection. This problem could, in fact, present the greatest challenge in encouraging state reciprocity. None would deny the importance and necessity of state regulation. But significant benefits could accrue to students, institutions and states if the current patchwork of state regulation could be reformed through shared policy and processes. By employing a streamlined, consistently applied, common format for the collection and distribution of institutional data, an evaluation model reflecting shared, and hopefully demanding, expectations for academic standards and institutional performance would evolve to serve as a foundation of accepted evidence critical for reciprocal agreements and validation of institutional integrity among multiple jurisdictions.”

  • “Our primary focus must be on quality assurance.  It is our shared responsibility not to accredit and sustain substandard programs or services.”

  • “It is to our benefit to work with state government for consumer protection by adopting and enforcing voluntary accreditation standards of practice that will serve to isolate and remove substandard programs.  It is imperative that we advocate and maintain system of accreditation that monitors and certifies institutional academic integrity and performance.”

  • “We must collaborate, cooperate, develop and advocate for a system for the approval of cross-border online learning.  This system must be built upon transparency of cost, content, and anticipated outcomes … and should be presented to the states as evidence of the quality of courses and programs and the integrity of the providing institutions.”