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Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 9/4/20

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 (meg@ieinfo.org) by the end of the day September 4.  One back-to-school pic entry will win a $250 scholarship for students at your institution (winner drawn at random!

 

1

The State of Higher Education This Week

Iowa State will not play football this weekend in front of 25,000 fans.  Ames, Iowa, has the highest per-capita rate of Covid-19 cases in the country. Institutions that have opened and moved students on campus continue to shift online after COVID breakouts including Colorado College and James Madison University which announced the move less than a week after class began.  Alabama State University announced that it has used CARES Act funding to purchase machines to scan students for COVID symptoms in popular gathering locations as well as technology that can assess students who are not distanced and encourage them to keep six feet apart.  We continue to watch the impact COVID-19 is having on higher education.

 

2

Faculty and staff around the U.S. are planning to pause their normal teaching and administrative duties on September 8 and 9 in an effort to focus efforts on addressing racial justice.  Faculty have proposed a teach-in on police brutality, racism, white supremacy and other issues over social media channels. Institutions like the University of Rochester have committed to lectures, workshops, and learning opportunities for students, staff, and faculty.  

 

"If the success of your [reopening] plan relies on 18- to 24-year-olds being responsible, then maybe it's not a very good plan." - Anna Pogarcic, editor-in-chief of the UNC student newspaper


3

NPR this week examined how institutions might cut back on college students partying which is linked to increasing COVID rates.  Students across the country from Iowa State to Syracuse University have engaged in normal college social behavior, most often at off campus parties or in bars, and frequently in direct violation of university policies put into place as a result of COVID.  Rather than punish students for not following distancing protocols, experts recommend schools offer alternative options.  At Furman University, administrators have reached out to students to plan events like outdoor movies.  David Paltiel, a professor at Yale who studies public health policy, recommends schools provide the socially distanced outdoor space to party: tent, heaters, masks, money for a keg. Other experts recommend that peers will have the greatest impression on students complying with social distancing and mask-wearing behavior.

 

18.5%: the positivity rate at Iowa State University, in Ames, which reports 503 COVID positive students, staff and faculty since August 1


4

Diverse Issues in Higher Education reports this week regarding summer enrollment trends. There was a surprising drop in community colleges which faced an almost 6% decrease in enrollment. Public non-profit four-year colleges experienced a 3% enrollment growth while private nonprofit schools saw a 4% increase. The report also found enrollment of Black students declined 8% within undergraduate programs and 11% at community colleges. The researchers recommend institutions offer support and provide clear information about types of credential and degree options.

 

Innovative Educators On Demand Training: Creating An Inclusive Campus


5

This week the Chronicle of Higher Education examines enrollment trends among student athletes.  One fifth of NCAA Division III students are athletes, and at some small institutions like Tabor College, thirty percent of the male population plays football.  Administrators are weighing the cost of not playing fall sports.  Even schools not participating in athletic play this semester are finding that scheduling team practices and supervised workouts helped attract students back to campus this fall.
 
 
Author: Meg Foster
September 11, 2020
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