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Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 10/16/20

Please join us on Friday, October 23 for our next Friday 5 Live.  Our student panelists from August will share updates on their fall semester experiences.  We look forward to hearing their insights and recommendations for college staff and faculty.  We are now podcasting Friday 5 Lives so you can more easily share this resource with colleagues! 

 

1

Student Profile

We are introducing a new segment to our Friday 5 Newsletter highlighting a student experience during this strange academic year.  We value hearing and learning from our students! 

Student Name and College: Devon, West Virginia University

Major: Sport Management (major), marketing (minor), public relations (minor)

Hometown: Richmond, VA

What has been your biggest challenge this semester thus far?

Trying to navigate five classes that are completely online and completely asynchronous while also balancing marching band and being an RA in freshman dorms.

What has been the resource you’ve found the most helpful this semester?

The most helpful resource I have had this semester is getting to listen and interact with guest speakers every week that have a career in sports. These meetings are offered through the WVU Sport Management Club meetings weekly. These meetings allow students to build connections and hear about specific jobs and careers they may be interested in.

What has been the best part of your semester so far?

Being able to still have marching band (in a smaller capacity) and get to play my instrument and see my band friends.

 

2

Both the Chronicle and Education Dive report this week on the declining enrollment trend this fall.  New survey data indicates that first-time student enrollment is down 16% from 2019; even more concerning is that community colleges report a 23% reduction in first-time students this fall.  Education Dive addresses experts’ recommendations on how to increase enrollment for the spring semester.  Community colleges should focus efforts on marketing their course flexibility while four-year colleges should be welcoming to transfer students.  A new initiative at Lebanon Valley College ensures that general education courses taken at another accredited institution will count towards a degree.

 

15%:  Washington State projected budget cuts.  “Early indications from states are that coming cuts to higher education will be worse than those of the 2009 recession.”

(The Chronicle of Higher Education 10/6/2020)

  

3

Libraries are struggling to assist students to access textbooks, reports Inside Higher Ed this week.  “Libraries that have built up print reserves of textbooks aren’t able to circulate those materials as they did before the pandemic, either because materials are being quarantined or because students can’t access their libraries at all.” As a result, students who cannot afford textbooks are often going without. While publishers made content freely available in the spring, those opportunities expired this semester.  Institutions are responding to student textbook needs by ramping up OER efforts as well as looking at inclusive access programs where students are automatically billed for access to textbooks as part of their student fees.

 

4

On Friday, the U. S. Department of Education rescinded the guidelines for how colleges “should record and report certain campus crimes” to the federal government.  After 15 years of referencing a 260 plus page document, administrators are now directed to a simpler, truncated appendix found in the Federal Student Aid Handbook.  Colleges will now make their own “reasonable interpretation” of the Clery Act’s terms.  Experts are concerned that this vagueness will complicate compliance.

 

Follow our Friday 5 Live podcast available now on your favorite podcasting app!


5

The Chronicle examines how institutions are addressing students’ anxiety during COVID.  When students are required to isolate or quarantine many institutions are creating unique ways for students to still feel connected and engaged to the campus community.  At Syracuse, isolated students receive daily calls from a campus nurse while quarantined students have a case manager in the dean of students office.  The university also offers online personal training and virtual support groups for both students and their parents.  Georgia Tech’s student organization Smile puts goody bags on the doors of quarantined students with coloring sheets, poems and other small day-brighteners so students feel cared for.  Student mental health continues to be a concern for institutions who acknowledge that this is all new territory they’re navigating.
 
 
Author: Meg Foster
October 16, 2020
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