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UT Regent Cranberg stands by prior critiques of higher education

University of Texas System Regent Alex Cranberg is not shying away from previous statements criticizing professor accountability, weighing faculty’s

Jul 31, 2020
University of Texas System Regent Alex Cranberg is not shying away from previous statementscriticizing professor accountability, weighing faculty’s “credentials” versus “achievements,” and praising the Acton School of Business, co-founded by Jeff Sandefer, architect of the controversial seven breakthrough solutionsfor higher education.
In a 2008 article about Acton that appears on, Cranberg said, “There’s some accountability in higher education, but for what? … Professors are held accountable for how often they’re cited, or for the amount of research grant money they bring in. But there’s very little accountability for actual student achievement.”
In an email to The Texas Indepedent Thursday morning, Cranberg said, “Since 2008 [the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools] has moved to make Student Learning Outcomes more relevant to its accrediting criteria, and accordingly more Universities are gathering this data. I am still learning now how much (or little) this data is used, or how useful the data actually is.”
The point is, Cranberg said in an email Friday, “that since the time of my earlier interview there had been increased emphasis on student learning outcomes within the existing accreditation framework.”
In the 2008 article, Cranberg said, “Higher education’s infatuation with credentials has made it blind to opportunities to use professional people that are equally, or even more, impressive. We should be focusing on teachers with achievements, not just credentials.”
In the email, he said, “I believe excellence is related to diversity: faculty with outstanding credentials from a diverse array of experiences and backgrounds will be stimulating and useful to students, (and also provide important insights in a research setting).”
According to the article, “Cranberg believe[s] that higher education and its donors would be wise to adopt Sandefer’s approach.”
Cranberg also said in the article, “[A]nybody looking to support entrepreneurship would do well to look at traditional programs, understand why the Acton MBA is different, and learn from that comparison.”
In the email, he said, “Entrepreneurship is a unique and challenging discipline to actually teach. We should observe and learn from the best programs around the country, although not just copying anybody.”
(Editor’s note: This story was updated at 11 a.m. Eastern time on April 29 to include a correction to a date in Cranberg’s statement on SACS and Student Learning Outcomes.)
Hajra Shannon

Hajra Shannon

Hajra Shannona is a highly experienced journalist with over 9 years of expertise in news writing, investigative reporting, and political analysis. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Columbia University and has contributed to reputable publications focusing on global affairs, human rights, and environmental sustainability. Hajra's authoritative voice and trustworthy reporting reflect her commitment to delivering insightful news content. Beyond journalism, she enjoys exploring new cultures through travel and pursuing outdoor photography
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