I am excited to join the AGB team and lead efforts related to the Guardians Initiative. The campaign has progressed smoothly since its “soft” launch in April, and it’s been encouraging to hear from institutional leaders, trustees, and other higher education stakeholders that they are eager to join the initiative’s national conversations about the value proposition of higher education.
Given high public skepticism around higher education—demonstrated most recently in a national survey by the Pew Research Center—advocating for higher education has never been more important. In the past couple of months, I’ve chatted with people and traveled the country promoting Guardians, most recently at the Charleston, South Carolina, gathering of the State Higher Education Executive Officers. I’m continually struck by the widespread enthusiasm for the initiative. Higher education clearly knows there is important work to be done in reclaiming the public’s trust.
The Guardians Initiative is a media-rich campaign, encompassing a series of information briefs on some of the most important topics in higher education, along with a website providing advocacy tools. I am also pleased to announce AGB’s new podcast series, Higher Education Nation, which discusses critical issues of the day.
I was proud to be a part of the podcast’s inaugural conversation, “It’s Time to Fight for Higher Education.” In the 20-minute episode, AGB President Rick Legon and I have a dynamic discussion on the Guardians Initiative and the challenges facing higher education on the national stage. We conclude that trustees are perhaps in the best and strongest position to improve the level of public discourse about higher education.
The second podcast, “Why Does College Cost So Much?,” features a discussion of the recent Guardians paper, The Business of Higher Education. The episode features Sandy Baum, a noted higher education economist who is a senior fellow in the Education Program at the Urban Institute and a Bryn Mawr College trustee. Both episodes can be found at agb.org/podcast.
Stay tuned for Guardians Initiative updates from me in this space, and listen to AGB’s Higher Education Nation to learn more about why this initiative is so important.