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Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 8/21/20

At Innovative Educators, we recognize that it has been a challenging year for our friends in higher education, and we are inspired and amazed at all the hard work you’ve done to prepare for a fall semester that promises to be unlike any other!  We also believe in celebrating milestones and your accomplishments.  To that end, we would love to see your first day of school pictures of you, our colleagues and friends in higher education.  Please email your picture (at work, at home, in your shield or your mask) to Meg (  One back-to-school pic entry will win a $250 scholarship for students at your institution!


The State of Higher Education This Week

This week saw more students move in to their college residences across the nation.  After UNC-Chapel Hill reported 4 COVID clusters in residence halls and a fraternity house, it announced on Monday a shift to online learning for the fall.  Notre Dame also announced mid-week it would move classes online for two weeks as cases climbed.  The University of Oklahoma quarantined an entire sorority when 23 cases emerged.  Columbia and Barnard changed their reopening plans, shifting their fall semester online.  With the ever-changing nature of the semester, residential students might want to consider unpacking only the necessities.


Education Dive this week examines the changes to Title IX which went into effect on August 14.  The new ruling “is most known for the new quasi-judicial process it sets up, which is far more intensive than a typical conduct hearing.” Advocates are concerned that new processes are vague and will bog down Title IX claims to the point that students reporting sexual assault will not want to pursue formal investigations. Adapting to the new rules has also proved challenging during the pandemic.


60%: The percent of all four-year schools that went test-optional for fall 2021 admissions


The CDC issued data this week on the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of traditional college-aged students.  Twenty-five percent of Americans ages 18-24 have seriously considered suicide in the past 30 days. Inside Higher Ed also reported on this research this week and advised colleges to continue to invest in mental health resources for students whether online or in person.


Innovative Educators On Demand Training: Creating An Inclusive Campus


Diverse Issues in Higher Education reported this week on increased enrollments at HBCU’s. Cheyney University, the nation’s oldest historically Black university, saw a 46% increase in first-year students who paid deposits over last year.  Some HBCUs saw an increase this summer in student enrollment numbers which administrators attribute in part to the Black Lives Matter protests.  Other HBCUs like Winston-Salem State University and Claflin University are also reporting increasing enrollment for the fall 2020 semester.

"Current undergraduate admissions tests fail to meet basic standards of being fair, accurate and useful." - Bob Schaeffer, FairTest's interim executive director


According to Education Dive, NACAC released a report this week detailing flaws with the SAT and ACT, many of which have been highlighted by COVID-19. More than 60% of all four-year schools have announced they will be test-optional for fall 2021. The NCAA has announced that those students who plan to play Division I or II sports will not be required to take tests to meet NCAA eligibility requirements for the upcoming school year.
Author: Meg Foster
August 21, 2020
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