Johnstone Receives Grant to Establish National Learning Productivity Network

Release Date: July 31, 1995 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The imperative of educating more students better for less money has commanded the attention of schools, colleges and universities across the country that are feeling the tightening of the financial noose.

D. Bruce Johnstone, former chancellor of the State University of New York system and now University Professor of Higher Education in the University at Buffalo Graduate School of Education, has been advancing a new perspective on the old challenge of productivity in higher education.

Johnstone's approach, which he first labeled "learning productivity" in a 1992 monograph of that name, concentrates on enhancing higher education's output, which is learning, rather than continuing to cut or cheapen its inputs, which consist primarily of faculty, staff and equipment.

He has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to respond to the many inquiries he has received from colleges, universities and researchers on this subject, by forming a Learning Productivity Network to share information and best practices in the field via newsletters, e-mail and conferences.

-- Providing more self-paced learning -- primarily through educational technology -- to allow students to proceed more rapidly and at less instructional expense.

Johnstone, a leading authority on higher-educational finance, acknowledges that colleges and universities "must become more productive, for the sake of students, parents and taxpayers alike."

He adds, however, that we have nearly exhausted the possibilities of increased teaching loads, reduced programs, deferred maintenance, reduced student aid and higher tuition.

"We must become more productive by employing methods that will enhance learning rather than reducing teaching or student services or shifting even more of the cost burden onto the student."

The Learning Productivity Network, says Johnson, will bring together people from the public and private sectors, and from colleges, universities and government, who share in the belief that higher education can and must be made more efficient through enhanced productivity of learning.

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