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Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 9/18/20

We hope you were able to join us for our Friday 5 Live when Eric Salahub shared tips and tricks for engaging students online, recommendations we can use in the classroom and in student services.  Please join us next Friday, September 25, when we talk about working and teaching from home while we also support children of all ages learning at home in all manner of ways.  We are fortunate to have 3 educators join us to reflect on their experiences and also share valuable insights they’ve gained.



The State of Higher Education This Week

This week started on a somber note as North Georgia Technical College announced that its president, Mark Ivester, died from COVID over the weekend. The University of Arizona has advised students to spend 14 days in voluntary quarantine in an attempt to slow COVID spread. The University of Wisconsin at Madison similarly announced that it has restricted students to “essential” activities, such as class attendance and work, for two weeks. Students who contract COVID at the University of Richmond will quarantine in modular homes.  Institutions continue to share spring 2021 plans with the California State University system announcing all 23 of its institutions will continue to be online. The Big Ten announced it will play football this fall reversing an earlier decision.



According to the Chronicle this week, colleges are releasing spring plans which mostly mirror the fall semester with course modalities remaining consistent semester to semester.  Wichita State University’s provost explained releasing plans early will allow faculty and students time to prepare; their spring semester will be predominantly hybrid course offerings.  Course calendars are shifting as some institutions like Carnegie Mellon delay the start of the spring semester or cut spring break out to decrease the amount of travel back and forth to campus during the spring semester.


23: The number of Greek houses at Michigan State ordered to quarantine



The New York Times reports this week on college campuses and the spread of COVID.  According to a survey the newspaper conducted, “American colleges and universities have recorded more than 36,000 additional coronavirus cases, bringing the total of campus infections to 88,000 since the pandemic began.”  Colleges have become hotspots just as nursing homes were in the early days of COVID.  Schools have scrambled with plans hoping to contain the spread so students can remain on campus until Thanksgiving.



Education Dive examines the concept of guided pathways this week and reports on the efforts community colleges are making to create clear roadmaps for students’ success.  Guided pathways practices generally, “include grouping similar programs into academic pathways, such as health and business, as well as advising incoming students on their educational goals and monitoring that they're taking the classes needed to graduate on time.”  Research from Community College Student Engagement surveys indicate that colleges have increased advising opportunities but need to continue to work on career advising and engaging faculty in their guided pathways work.


Check out our upcoming webinars on critical topics like supporting students’ mental health and planning engaging online classes.


The Chronicle reported this week on the relationship between state funding in Florida and the U.S. News’ Rankings system. Driven by a desire to see the University of Florida break into the top ten public colleges and universities, the state shifted its funding rubric to reward those institutions that were meeting U.S. News’ metrics. While this funding scheme has not received state allocations for two years, critics maintain that this policy has created an even bigger divide between four-year public institutions in Florida.
Author: Meg Foster
September 18, 2020
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