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Posted at 10:12 AM ET, 10/23/2012

Hello, higher ed

Time to introduce myself, briefly, and explain my mission.

(Butch Dill — Associated Press)
I’ve been on the higher ed beat now for a few weeks, meeting sources, reading up on trends and trying to stay on top of news. My latest story is on the Maryland version of the Dream Act, Question 4 on the state ballot on Nov. 6, which would provide in-state tuition benefits to certain undocumented immigrants.

At other newspapers I covered city governments, schools and Capitol Hill. Those posts were sandwiched around a stint of reporting in Mexico City for the Associated Press and other news outlets.

My career at the Post has been all about education. I came here in early 2005 to cover a dynamic K-12 beat in Prince George’s County, Md. In mid-2006, I moved to what was then the Virginia desk. As an assistant Virginia editor, I focused on elementary and secondary education. But I also supervised our coverage of national education issues, starting in 2007, and participated in our team coverage of the Virginia Tech massacre that year.

In 2009, I became deputy education editor/national education writer, with an emphasis on the K-12 reform debate. In May 2011, I became education editor, overseeing our coverage from pre-kindergarten through college. Last month, I moved to this terrific beat. I share it with Post education writer Jenna Johnson, who writes the excellent Campus Overload blog.

Here’s how I see my mission at a time of extraordinary flux for higher education.

I want to serve as a consumer’s guide to a vast and complex marketplace. I want to spotlight students and educators who demonstrate trends, as well as those who are outliers and just plain fascinating on their own.

I want to explore the big ideas that animate colleges and universities. And I want to hold schools accountable for spending and results. After all, the taxpayer and consumer investment in higher ed — public and private — is huge and critical to the nation.

Thanks for reading, and please help. Reporters are only as good as the breadth of their sources. You can send me your tips and critiques at, engage this blog, and follow me on Twitter: @wpnick. My stories archive is here.

By  |  10:12 AM ET, 10/23/2012

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