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Dr. Brian C. Mitchell
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Brian C. Mitchell, Ph.D., @briancmitchell5 is founder and director of the Edvance Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of American higher education through bold and sustainable solutions to the most pressing needs of students and educational institutions. Mitchell is also principal of Brian Mitchell & Associates, a consultancy that advises higher educational institutions and leaders.

From 2004 to 2010, Mitchell served as president of Bucknell University, where he developed the University’s first comprehensive strategic plan and modern campus master plan, hired nearly 60 tenure-track professors in three years, and launched the University’s current $500 million capital campaign. He previously served as president of Washington & Jefferson College (1998-2004) and the Association for Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (1991-1998).

Mitchell serves as a director of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation and as immediate past chair of the Board of Trustees of Merrimack College. He is past chair of the Pennsylvania Selection Committee for the Rhodes Scholarships, the Patriot League, the National Association of Independent College and University State Executives, and the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania. He also has served on the boards of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and Geisinger Health System.

Entries by Dr. Brian C. Mitchell

Moving Community College Graduates Toward a Four-Year Degree

(0) Comments | Posted December 15, 2014 | 2:28 PM

There is growing consensus that more attention must be paid to increasing the number of two-year graduates who go on to complete a four-year degree. While over 80 percent of first year community college students state completion of a four-year degree as their intention, less than 12 percent of them...

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Life After College

(0) Comments | Posted December 8, 2014 | 8:19 AM

By the end of sophomore year, tradition suggests that most college students should think about how they can narrow their interests to a range of opportunities after graduation. It's not that college is over for them, it's just more a case of the need to plan ahead.

While many began...

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Higher Education: Identifying the Senior Team

(0) Comments | Posted December 1, 2014 | 8:59 AM

There are big changes coming in American higher education. College and university governance must accommodate these changes and shape rather than be shaped by them. The changes reflect both the simple reality that the financing structure doesn't work and that external forces will impose new challenges and opportunities upon senior...

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Training Tomorrow's Leaders in Higher Education

(0) Comments | Posted November 17, 2014 | 8:01 AM

What happens when you get the job?

The best college and university presidents start out with an understanding of what they do not know. As candidates, they presented the Search Committee whose members screened them with impressive credentials, demonstrating an ability to communicate and persuade. They seemed to have grasped...

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Some Thoughts on College Fundraising

(0) Comments | Posted November 10, 2014 | 8:20 AM

For several years, the media has highlighted the importance of capital campaigns to relieve the financial burden at many colleges and universities. In doing so, they focus on the scale at the largest research universities where these campaigns now approach $5 billion in announced campaign goals.

In doing so, they...

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Colleges and Universities: Getting the Message Right

(0) Comments | Posted November 3, 2014 | 8:27 AM

It seems increasingly likely that one of the "make or break" points in American higher education will be how well individual institutions craft their message.

It's a complex issue. There are many constituencies, all of whom carry an expectation about what makes a college or university special. These expectations are...

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An Open Letter to High School Seniors

(0) Comments | Posted October 27, 2014 | 8:37 AM

It's October. For millions of American high school seniors, choosing what to do after receiving the high school degree begins now. It represents the first life-altering decision made by you about which you get to call the shots.

Here are some important points to think about as you move into...

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Growing Up: Boston's Colleges and Universities and the 2024 Summer Olympics

(0) Comments | Posted October 21, 2014 | 9:39 AM

The US Olympic Committee has selected Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington and Boston as finalists for the US bid for the 2024 Olympics, with a decision announced in 2017.

While the pundits have already had their field day in the local press, the vast overruns that defined Sochi suggest...

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An Improving Employment Picture for College Graduates?

(1) Comments | Posted October 14, 2014 | 9:00 PM

The Collegiate Employment Research Institute released findings recently reporting that hiring for new bachelor's degree recipients will increase by 16 percent in 2014-2015. The Center based its findings on surveying among 5,700 employers.

Commenting in the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Institute's Director, Philip D. Gardner, believes that the brighter...

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The Secret Sauce of College Admissions

(2) Comments | Posted October 7, 2014 | 8:31 AM

Moody's issued a report last week pointing to a basic discrepancy in how we view college admissions that underscores the collapse of the college tuition-dependent finance model.

In its report, Moody's noted that applications to private colleges rose 70 percent from 2004 to last year but the annual total of...

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Colleges Must Learn How to Pay Their Bills

(0) Comments | Posted September 29, 2014 | 8:45 AM

We have reached a tipping point in public opinion with forecasts by some that as many as one-third of America's private colleges and universities may not survive the next ten years in their current form.

While this represents perhaps three percent of the total enrollment in American colleges and...

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The Vision Thing in Higher Education

(0) Comments | Posted September 22, 2014 | 9:29 AM

Finding a good college president is a little like choosing the right college. You know it when you feel it.

This is not to say that the best presidents are all things to all people. College presidencies are demanding jobs with multiple constituencies. A president's calendar is much like the...

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Foreign Students and the U.S. Higher Education Admissions Market

(0) Comments | Posted September 15, 2014 | 8:17 AM

Let's assume that a Chinese family, anxious to provide their child with a world-class education, searches the web to determine where to start. They also base their search on anecdotal reports of friends, among numerous other factors. But the Chinese family is unlikely to visit the United States to participate...

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College Relations: Boston's Brains Behind the Olympics

(0) Comments | Posted September 8, 2014 | 9:21 AM

In a fascinating op-ed in the Boston Globe recently, Andrew W. Lo, a professor at MIT's Sloan School of Management, and Tom Rutledge, chief investment strategist at Alpha Simplex Group, looked at how the area's colleges and universities might support Boston's bid to host the 2024 Olympics.

...
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Putting the "Trust" Back in Trustee: The Role of the Trustee in College Governance

(0) Comments | Posted August 25, 2014 | 8:50 AM

Last week, a group convened by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni issued a report examining the role of trustees in college and university governance.

The report, titled "Governance for a New Era: A Blueprint for Higher Education Trustees," suggested the trustees should take a...

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Increasing College Diversity

(0) Comments | Posted August 18, 2014 | 10:19 AM

In most four-year college strategic plans, there is a good-faith statement calling for increasing diversity as an institutional goal. There are good -- even noble -- reasons for doing so.

The principal one is that American colleges and universities must look more like the rest of America if they...

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College Parents: How to Say the Long Goodbye

(0) Comments | Posted August 11, 2014 | 8:52 AM

Students come to the college experience through a variety of doors. Nearly half of them begin at two-year institutions. Millions more do not fall into the traditional pool of 18-22 year old first-time freshman. Large numbers also earn degrees online or in some blended learning format. But when most Americans...

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The Higher Ed CFO Survey: For Whom the Bell Tolls

(0) Comments | Posted August 4, 2014 | 10:50 AM

Last week, Gallup and Inside Higher Ed released a fascinating and troubling survey examining the opinions of CFOs on the state of American higher education.

CFOs from 438 colleges and universities responded to the survey. Researchers found that two-thirds of CFOs questioned believe that higher education is facing...

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Becoming Intentional About College Retention

(0) Comments | Posted July 28, 2014 | 1:17 PM

One of the biggest concerns at colleges and universities is how best to improve retention.

Retention means something quite different depending upon the institution. At elite colleges, for example, retention rates below 85 percent in four years are a cause of concern. At two-year and four-year colleges that are...

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Educating College Trustees

(0) Comments | Posted July 21, 2014 | 8:42 AM

It is almost impossible for those who live outside the academy to understand and appreciate how American colleges and universities govern themselves.

Basically, college governance has three partners - the faculty, the administration, and the trustees. It's commonly thought to be a kind of "three-leg" stool with each leg required...

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