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Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 6/26/20

We hope you will join us on Friday, June 10th for our next Friday 5 Live.  Dr. Denise Swett will join us to talk about how to develop student support resources and creatively address supporting students when budgets are tight.



The State of Higher Education This Week

Our thoughts continue to focus on those protesting police violence and systemic racism in our country. College students voiced their frustration over what they see as empty promises by administrators; students are looking for institutions to take action to address bias and racism.  Two Black scholars at the University of Virginia say they were denied tenure, their research belittled and their tenure process flawed raising the question of racial bias in their tenure review.  IE remains committed to sharing resources on the topics of antiracist training.  This week, Dr. Julia Metzker shared with the POD Network a Resource Guide for Anti-racist and Equity Producing Facilitation.



Increasing Access Through 4 Year Degrees At Community Colleges

Diverse Issues in Higher Education reports this week on research about how to make college more affordable. A new brief by the think tank New America recommends developing four-year degree programs at community colleges as this provides an opportunity to students who would otherwise not pursue bachelor’s degree. One example: Florida’s average community college baccalaureate student is 31 years old, compared to 22 years old for public universities.  Bachelor’s degree programs at community colleges are less expensive and more accessible.  We will look to see if similar initiatives develop in other states. 

More than 32,000: That's how many students withdrew from the Los Angeles Community College District this spring semester, the Los Angeles Times reports -- a 17-percent increase from the spring of 2019.


The Chronicle of Higher Education reports this week on the impact of pandemic on low-income students. The study, done by researchers at Arizona State University, found that low-income students at the university were 55 percent more likely to delay graduation than their more affluent peers, and 41 percent more likely to change their major.  Researchers advise policy makers to examine how they can advise the financial burden on students and offer more flexible ways to attend classes.

“We know that having a sense of belonging with your peers, having a connection with the university … these are helpful and promotive for minority students, first-generation students and other underrepresented groups in academia. These are the things we find that are helping students do well in the athletic programs. How can we bring that to scale for the rest of the student body?” - Jessica Harlan, senior research consultant at Gallup


    Research done by Gallup suggests college students who participate in athletics tended to fare better than nonathletes in their academic, personal and professional life during college and after graduation. Researchers concluded that the “differences between former athlete and nonathlete outcomes are evidence of the ‘built-in support system’ athletics provides throughout a student’s college experience, such as mentorship from peers and coaches and direct access to financial aid advisers and academic support.”  University administrators are encouraged to develop similar support structures for students across their institutions.

    Innovative Educators On Demand Training: Creating An Inclusive Campus


    Diverse Issues in Higher Education reports on the challenges universities face as they navigate First Amendment rights and the educational ideals of tolerance and respect. There have been multiple reports in recent weeks of institutions removing students and faculty who have posted inflammatory comments on social media about the death of George Floyd in police custody and about the Black Lives Matter protests.  Earlier this year, both The Chronicle and Education Dive encouraged institutions to not cut legal counsel; it seems that advice is perhaps more critical than ever.
    Author: Meg Foster
    June 19, 2020
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