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Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 3/12/21

Tech Term of the Week:

Blockchain, sometimes referred to as Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), “is an encrypted database consensually shared and synchronized across multiple peer-to-peer networks. Since blockchain is decentralized by design, this technology represents ‘data security reinvented’ and has important implications for higher ed with regards to transcripts, tuition payments, and more.



Innovative Educators is a women-owned company, and so it is important to our organization that we honor Women’s History Month this March.  Pandemic life has been particularly challenging for women: as a country, we are in the midst of a “she-cession” as nearly 3 million women have left the workforce. This month we will provide resources that help us examine the role of women and work in 2021, considerations for ways we can support working women and our students, and opportunities to learn more about equity issues.

American Association of University Women Addresses COVID Through a Gender Lens

The Zinn Education Project Shares Resources for International Women’s Day



On Monday President Biden indicated that he wanted to see changes to 2020 Title IX regulations.  Biden signed an executive order which directs the Education Department to review “‘all of its existing regulations, orders, guidance, and policies’ related to sexual violence in education within 100 days.” He gives the newly confirmed education secretary, Miguel A. Cardona, a directive to consider “suspending, revising, or rescinding” any Education Department actions that are not consistent with the Biden administration’s approach to Title IX.  Secretary Cardona is also to “issue new guidance as needed” on how schools and colleges should carry out the Title IX regulations.  It could take a year for formal changes to the Trump-era Title IX rules to go into effect.


$18,528: The total cost for a year of toddler care at Gorse Children’s Center Mount Holyoke College’s childcare center.  While costs are on par with area providers, the Gorse Children’s Center is fully accredited and provides infant care.  The recent threat of closure highlights the continued challenge for working mothers of finding affordable and accredited childcare.



We’ve covered the 10% drop in community college enrollment this year, but this week the Hechinger Report examines what this means for the U.S. economy.  Industry leaders are concerned that low enrollment will translate to a lack of trained and credentialed workers in high need fields including: health care, cybersecurity, information technology, construction, manufacturing, transportation, law enforcement and utilities. Even if enrollment eventually rebounds, the interruption caused by the pandemic will be felt for years. Before the pandemic there will be 31 million jobs left open by retiring baby boomers.  States like Virginia and Michigan are incentivizing completion of technical training in high need career fields.


“Not having people engaged in community and technical colleges means we’re taking the fuel out of the engine.” - Stephen Pruitt, president, Southern Regional Education Board, speaking of the impact of community college enrollment on the U.S. economy



Inside Higher Education reports this week that Coursera “filed an application to become a publicly traded company and sell shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol COUR.”  The number of shares and price point have not yet been determined.  Coursera has evolved since its founding nearly a decade ago as a MOOC provider.  Now the company provides non-degree certificates, stackable degrees and professional credentials.  The company’s estimated value is between $2.4 billion and $5 billion.


Follow our Friday 5 Live podcast available now on your favorite podcasting app!

Join us March 19 to hear Rob Bowers share insight into communication and student resiliency.


The U.S. Department of Education's accreditation advisory group voted in favor of the agency’s recommendation to terminate the recognition of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) this week.  While the Obama administration pulled the council’s recognition in 2016, the Trump administration reinstated that recognition in 2018. ACICS has continued to not meet key oversight requirements including: the efficacy of its training for site visitors, its ability to monitor institutions and its financial health.  The accreditor failed to realize one of its 60 “institutions” lacked both faculty and students. ACICS President Michelle Edwards maintains they are fully compliant with department requirements. She believes that criticisms against ACICS were fueled by "activist groups and political opponents of career colleges."
Author: Meg Foster
March 12, 2021
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