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Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 7/24/20

We hope you were able to join us for our Friday 5 Live.   We were grateful to have Andrea G. Harris, Senior Director, Student Administrative Service at Pepperdine University, join us! We discussed how to make work from home “work” including maintaining boundaries and improving overall well-being.  Please join us on August 7 for a discussion about how to battle virtual fatigue as we prepare students, staff and faculty for the fall semester.



The State of Higher Education This Week

With COVID cases continuing to rise nationally, institutions differ widely this week on their responses to fall reopening plans.  Spelman College initially announced a limited return to campus, but will now be online for the fall. Two other prominent HBCUs, Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University, also announced online for the fall.  Taking plans in a different direction, the University of North Carolina system will have full residence halls with double occupancy, reports Inside Higher Education.  We continue to watch closely as fall plans evolve at campuses nationwide.



According to a report released on Tuesday by the Education Trust, Black students have less access now to selective public colleges than they did 20 years ago.  Since 2000, the percentage of Black students has dropped at nearly 60 percent of the 101 institutions cited in the report.  Colleges in states with large Black populations were the least accessible.  The authors caution that colleges will have to make major changes to become more inclusive campuses. Both Chronicle of Higher Education and The Hechinger Report provided coverage of this research this week.


Innovative Educators On Demand Training: Creating An Inclusive Campus


The Brookings Institution has a report out this week connecting mobility to college attendance.  Students who attend college are “significantly more likely to experience upward mobility in adulthood.”  Access to college is highly dependent on parental income. Fewer than 50% of children growing up in the poorest households attend college compared to 92% of children from the wealthiest households. The report further shows that moderately selective public colleges are an essential piece of upward mobility for middle class students and that two-year colleges are a critical resource for communities.  The authors recommend state and federal policy makers prioritize support of public colleges so they can serve all students who want to attend.


Nearly 300:  The number of schools that have yet to decide what fall looks like according to the College Crisis Initiative.



NPR reports this week on how COVID continues to impact institutions’ fall opening plans. In June and early July, schools were more optimistic about their ability to acquire tests and supplies; however, now that start days are weeks away, they're realizing that "there's just no way." More colleges are rolling back initial plans of in-person or hybrid fall and developing, instead, plans to rely heavily on virtual options. Students are complaining about how institutions are communicating changing plans. The NPR piece cited an Emory student who was asked to re-enroll in classes, saw that all options were virtual, but did not receive an official notice that the fall would be online until after the re-enrollment process.


"It's going to be an experiment this fall. It's going to be a test to see which solution worked better than the others," - Jessica Figenholtz, the higher education practice leader at Perkins and Will's Chicago office


Education Dive offers thoughts on three major ways the fall semester may look different on college campuses as institutions spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to upgrade their ventilation systems, make doorways hands-free and install plexiglass barriers throughout campus. Fall semester will include plans to spread out classrooms, utilizing lobbies, theater space, and other large gathering space. In addition, students may see gathering spots empty of furniture or taped off and testing points at various entry spots on campus.  Institutions are also spending money on addressing air quality.
Author: Meg Foster
July 24, 2020
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