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Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 3/20/20

“Every noble work is at first impossible.”

- Thomas Carlyle

Please know we are thinking of you all as you move into a space of great uncertainty -shifting classes online, supporting students who are swiftly moving out of residence halls, suddenly caring for your own children who are home from college or K-12 schools.  We are here to support you as you do an amazing job holding it all together. We hope in the midst of the uncertainty, you’re able to carve out a space to care for yourself so you can continue to do your work of caring for others.


Updates on Covid-19 and Higher Education

As the week has unfolded, we see more institutions moving their learning online and cancelling or delaying major events like graduation. The Chronicle continues its extensive reporting including institutions adopting pass/fail grades in response to Covid-19 and the financial impact to higher education. Inside Higher Ed is also providing up-to-date reporting and shares that some colleges are dropping SAT & ACT requirements in light of testing cancellations due to Covid-19.   WCET has links to all of the major federal resources regarding Covid-19 response as well as recommendations for shifting to online learning.    

“I implore each of our students to comply with this directive.  You can do your part to help de-densify the campus and make it safer.” Cornell’s President, Ms. Marsha Pollack, to students on their decision to shift to online learning and close campus.


Covid-19 Impacts on College Admissions

Much discussion this week in various news sources about how Covid-19 will impact both the undergraduate and graduate admissions processes.  Inside Higher Ed reports on an EAB survey of admissions professionals.  87% “worry that future visits to the campus by potential students will decline” with 67% reporting they will shift to virtual admissions events. One of the biggest concerns of admissions officials is the impact of travel restrictions on international enrollments.


HBCUs Respond to Coronavirus

Diverse Issues in Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed this week report on the concern that the coronavirus crisis poses a very significant threat and may impact the long-term survival of 

Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).  HBCUs – and other minority serving institutions (MSIs) – are working to keep underrepresented students safe on tight budgets. Leaders of HBCUs are strongly advocating for additional federal funding for their institutions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.


What If High School Seniors Didn’t Complete College Applications?

The Hechinger Report this week shares about an initiative in Idaho where eligible high school seniors are admitted to all four year institutions and community colleges in the state -- without completing any applications.  One goal is to have more students pursue higher education while also keeping more college-going high school graduates in Idaho. Now other states like Illinois are considering adopting similar hybrid options and South Dakota has already followed suit.


Educating the Digital Native

Faculty Focus this week examines educating with technology, particularly for our population of digital natives. The author recommends the use of gamification in learning environments and encourages faculty to consider how technology can create opportunities for interaction.  Research shows students retain information better if they develop an emotional connection to material, so for digital natives, viewing film adaptations of Shakespeare can provide a powerful means for emotionally connecting to material.

Author: Meg Foster
March 20, 2020
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