Pope Center Authors
Jenna A. Robinson
Jenna Ashley Robinson joined the Pope Center in January 2007 as campus outreach coordinator and later became the center's director of outreach. She was previously the E.A. Morris Fellowship assistant at the John Locke Foundation, where she had worked since 2001.
Robinson graduated from N.C. State University in 2003 with a major in political science and French. She has studied at the University of East Anglia School of American Studies in Norwich, England. She received her master's degree in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005 and her Ph.D. in political science, with a concentration in American politics and a minor in methods, from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2012. Robinson is also a graduate of the Koch Associate Program sponsored by the Charles G. Koch Foundation.
Robinson's work has appeared in Investor's Business Daily, American Thinker, Human Events, Carolina Journal, the Lincoln Tribune, the Hickory Daily Record, the Gaston Gazette, the Mountain Express, and the News & Observer. She has taught courses in American politics at UNC-Chapel Hill, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Wake Technical Community College. In 2013, she testified before Congress on the Federal Pell Grant Program. She has served as a member of the North Carolina Longitudinal Data System Board since January 2014.
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Articles by Jenna A. Robinson
Community Colleges in the Spotlight May 09, 2016
Lawmakers returned to Raleigh at the end of April to attend this year's "short session." On the agenda are adjustments to the state budget and a few policies left unresolved when legislators adjourned last year. Many of those policies focus on community colleges.
BCG Report: Universities Want More Advocacy, Less Accountability Apr 11, 2016
A study of the UNC System's administration, released last week, recommends realignment of the management of UNC's 16 universities—mostly to fulfill campus wish lists. But downplayed in the report is the reason for the General Administration's existence in the first place: to help the disparate schools function more efficiently as a system, in order to serve students better.
In Defense of NC GAP Mar 14, 2016
UNC President Margaret Spellings has said that the North Carolina legislature's proposed Guaranteed Admissions Program (NC GAP) has identified the right problem, but has come up with the wrong solution. Her vision is of a UNC system accessible to everyone and educating everyone—not just elites. That vision, however, should include NC GAP, which focuses on access—through the community college system—and success at many educational levels.
Five Ways You Can Improve Higher Education Mar 11, 2016
At the Pope Center we spend a lot of time recommending changes to higher education policy. It's in our name. But there are ways you—as a citizen, parent, student, or employer—can pressure higher education to change.
Universities' Credit Ratings Indicate the Need for Bold Reform Feb 01, 2016
North Carolina's higher education market is, for the most part, vibrant. The state is home to more than 50 four-year universities as well as 60 community colleges. And online education, certificate programs, and non-traditional job training initiatives have given prospective students even more options. Nevertheless, some institutions are experiencing significant financial woes. Unaddressed, such problems could result in campus closings or, worse, perpetual taxpayer bailouts of ineptly-managed universities.
Bad Incentives Undermine the Scientific Process Jan 29, 2016
The scientific process is broken. The tenure process, "publish or perish" mentality, and the insufficient review process of academic journals mean that researchers spend less time solving important puzzles and more time pursuing publication. But that wasn't always the case.
Where Do All the Savings Go? Jan 06, 2016
Higher education's gains from productivity should be put to better use. As it stands now, amazing innovations in teaching and education delivery are benefiting the system instead of the student. Universities should take advantage of the efficiencies that exist by decreasing administrative staff and insisting that faculty teach more. Only then will students benefit from the recent innovations in higher education.
North Carolina Should End Its Protectionist Policies Limiting Online Courses Nov 30, 2015
Because of protectionist regulations, North Carolina's range of higher education choices is not as wide as it should be. But it's not just the Tar Heel State that gums up the works with excessive red tape. North Carolina schools that want to offer their online courses to out-of-state students have had to navigate burdensome approval processes. In many cases, schools have decided it's just not worth the considerable expense in terms of both time and money—thereby limiting options for students seeking online alternatives. But now there is a better way. The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) is an agreement among member states that establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of online education.
In Troubled Times, Some Important Advances to Protect Student Rights Nov 16, 2015
In the last few years, the rights of students in North Carolina universities have received some significant new protections. It is important that state legislators and educators continue to do so, for such rights—pertaining to free speech and due process of punitive proceedings—have been under assault on college campuses nationwide in recent years.
When University Governance Fails, Political Leadership Becomes Necessary Nov 09, 2015
Senator David Curtis (R-Lincoln) has emerged as one of North Carolina's leading voices for higher education reform. On July 28, he wrote a letter titled "UNC System Policy Change Suggestions" to the UNC system's Board of Governors. His proposals, if implemented, would vastly improve key areas of UNC governance in great need of reform.
It's Time to Clear Up the Impending Confusion in UNC Admissions Standards Oct 05, 2015
This year the North Carolina State Board of Education is lowering grading standards in all North Carolina high schools, while the College Board is rewriting the SAT to align with Common Core. Because of these two changes, it's imperative that UNC raise its minimum admission standards. And uncertainty surrounding the new SAT leaves GPA as the only potentially reliable measure. Raising the minimum required GPA to 3.0 for all 16 UNC institutions would preserve academic quality in the system and provide a clear, consistent standard for admissions officers to apply to incoming students.
Remediation's End? Jul 20, 2015
For quite a few years, North Carolina's colleges and universities have blurred the line between higher and basic education by admitting students who need remedial classes before they can handle college-level work. Fortunately, several provisions moving through the General Assembly may change the face of remediation by shifting it back to lower levels of education where it belongs.
How to Right-Size a University System Jun 22, 2015
Today, the system is faced with an important existential question: how to "right-size" the system itself, which may include reducing the number of campuses. This question badly needs to be addressed, and soon; as Harry Smith, the chair of the Board of Governor's budget and finance committee, admitted in March, "[P]eople have been ducking this conversation for a long time."
Pending bills represent progress toward reforming higher ed in North Carolina May 11, 2015
Pending bills represent progress toward reforming higher education in North Carolina. However, they are only scratching the surface of the work that needs to be done. The scandals at UNC-Chapel Hill show that the UNC system desperately needs to be made more transparent. And more attention should be directed to reducing the cost of a university education by making the system more efficient. Even so, some reform is better than none.
10 ways the Ivory Tower is eroding American values Apr 24, 2015
Students are not actually trained to think for themselves. And radical professors and administrators simply replace one dogma with another instead of creating open-minded critical thinkers. In other words, professors spend their time tearing down American values only to replace them with alternate campus values.
A coalition for transparency at the UNC Board of Governors is building Apr 06, 2015
UNC Board of Governors meetings are hard to navigate for the uninitiated, such as a member of the public. The committee rooms are small, spread out, and poorly labeled. All the people who attend the meetings seem to know each other. Finding a place to sit in the boardroom often means arriving an hour before the meeting begins. And if you don't get a seat, you're out of luck. Although the main board meeting is video-streamed into the lobby, it's hard to hear and it isn't recorded.
Let's bring Western Governors University to North Carolina Feb 20, 2015
For North Carolina, Western Governors University would be a welcome alternative to traditional credit-hour programs, particularly for adult learners who want job training and a degree—not a four-year "experience."
The questionable policy of "border tuition" Jan 02, 2015
The Questionable Policy of "Border Tuition"
5 things American colleges and universities get right Dec 08, 2014
On the whole, U.S. colleges and universities don’t get everything right. They’re overpriced, operationally hidebound, and ideologically stagnant. But American higher education does some things very well—well enough that students from around the world still choose to come to the United States to get advanced degrees.
Does North Carolina sufficiently support its public universities? Nov 21, 2014
A new report from the Center for American Progress alleges that the "Great Recession" that began in 2008 devastated public university investments nationwide. Specifically, it says that over a five-year period, tuition has skyrocketed, states have withdrawn public investment, and low-income families have been pushed out of higher education.
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