Crossing the Finish Line: Completing College at America's Public Universities

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The second book review I've ever published in Nature Magazine appeared last week, roughly the same time I was on a trans-Atlantic flight from NYC to Frankfurt, Germany. Due to my lack of wireless and jet lag, I've neglected to mention this until now. This review discusses a book that I think is very important for everyone involved in higher education to read and think about: Crossing the Finish Line: Completing College at America's Public Universities by William G. Bowen, Matthew M. Chingos, and Michael S. McPherson. If you would like a free PDF of this review, either click here or, if that link does not allow you to access the review, leave a comment here and I'll email the PDF to you.

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I am unable to access the PDF of the review through the link, but would loooove to get a copy. I cover education for the optical engineering society I work for, SPIE. We're also always interested in learning how we can help students be more successful. Thanks! :)

The link provided is behind a paywall, as with most stuff I try to read from scienceblogs.

Topic is something I'm interested in, being below the poverty line and trying to slowly work my way to a B.S in Microbiology..need to see some light at the end of the evil debt inducing tunnel! lol

PDF, please! I'm eager to read your review.

I just finished reading Crossing the Finish Line and am eager to read your review. If you could send a pdf, i'd be grateful. Thank you.

By David Kalsbeek (not verified) on 30 Nov 2009 #permalink

I'm just plowing my way through this book, and you're right, it is data-dense. There are a few surprises in the data, things that seem counter-intuitive, but for the most part the data support common-sense notions. One of the take-home messages for me is that universities need to aggressively pursue the acquisition of similar data for students in their programs. Almost all universities are under the gun to improve retention and graduation rates, and the response has been to generate a bunch of (expensive) programs to improve those parameters. Many of them will not be tracked well, so we won't know if they do anything positive or not. We'll need to insist on tracking data so that we can cease putting money into programs that don't work, and concentrate on the programs that do make a difference!

Nice review; I'll look forward to seeing more reviews. Did you ever get your copy of Elizabeth's book, "In the Mind's Eye"?

By Albatrossity (not verified) on 01 Dec 2009 #permalink

Grrl, I'd love to have a copy of your book review - can't access the Nature link (paywall problem). When you get a chance...if you can email a pdf that would be lovely. Hope you are enjoying things in your new digs!


I enjoyed reading your review, but haven't read the book. I was particularly intrigued by the idea that four-year universities should accept more transfer students. Do the authors (or do you) have any ideas about how to make it clearer what is learned in each class and/or what the grades in that class actually mean across schools? (so that universities can feel more confident providing transfer credit or similar?) This seems to be the biggest stumbling block in my (second-hand) experience.

By Catherine (not verified) on 02 Dec 2009 #permalink

I also am not natural enough to just DL it; congratulations on publishing there again. Also congratulations on keeping the SD cards of the library away from the parrots. So just put it on th' stepdaughter's FaceBjoek Wall as usual...erm, I mean e-mail me that review please.

By Steve Nordquist (not verified) on 06 Dec 2009 #permalink

please email me this pdf asap thankyou.