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ERIC Number: EJ883918
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1068-1027
Rethinking Higher Education: Moving beyond the Iron Triangle
Duncan, Arne
Trusteeship, v17 n5 p8-11 Sep-Oct 2009
For most of the last century, the United States has been recognized as having the best system of higher education in the world. No other nation has a postsecondary system that has been as successful in advancing knowledge and innovation, while also making college accessible to its citizens regardless of their financial circumstances. Yet today, higher education institutions in America face stiff challenges. If the United States is to retain its preeminence in the global economy, states U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, America's universities, liberal-arts colleges, and community colleges need to become more accessible, affordable, and successful--and in a hurry. Nearly every college president and every governing board wants to simultaneously improve quality, increase access, and yet constrain costs. To college executives, these three sides of the iron triangle--(1) quality; (2) access; and (3) cost--seem like mutually conflicting choices. Elevating quality raises costs; increasing access can dilute quality; and reducing costs impairs both quality and access. As vital as government support for higher education is and continues to be, Duncan stresses that college executives need to rethink their traditional modus operandi if America is to continue as the world's leader in higher education. He encourages university presidents and governing boards to pay more attention to efficiency, productivity, and accountability as reform tools that can help higher education break out of the iron triangle. As much as any institution in American life, higher education has shown that "Yes, we can" is not just campaign rhetoric, but rather an animating belief that has opened the doors to a better life for millions of college students. Secretary Duncan believes that higher education can adapt successfully once again.
Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. 1 Dupont Circle Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-356-6317; Tel: 202-296-8400; Fax: 202-223-7053; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States