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Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - Share Your Perspective 1/18/2021

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - Share Your Perspective 1/18/2021

"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education."  ~  Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

George Hoey - A Personal Perspective:

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day serves as a reminder to  me of someone who took an unprecedented stance for good to help create change for others, and for our country. 

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 1/15/21

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 1/15/21

At Innovative Educators, we have and always will stand for non-violence, equality, education and kindness. 

 

Our Friday 5 Live podcast kicks off again on January 22 when we will discuss mental health strategies for students, faculty and staff in this new year with Dr. Jena Morrison.  We hope you will join us!!

  

1

Update
Pandemic and politics continue to dominate this week in higher education.  The CDC is recommending faculty and staff at higher education institutions be in the second phase of vaccinations.  Additional institutions announced they will push back the return of students to campus for the spring 2021 semester including the University of Pittsburgh, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Appalachian State University. Institutions are grappling with how to respond to the January 6 attack on the United States capitol: Lehigh University has rescinded an honorary degree it awarded President Trump while Harvard announced Rep. Elise Stefanik will be removed from an advisory board at the Institute of Politics because of baseless claims she made of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

 

2

The Centers for Disease Control released a study last week detailing the impacts on local communities by institutions that operated in the fall with in-person classes. In the fall semester, those counties with large colleges that had in-person instruction saw a 56 percent increase in COVID cases. The inverse was also true: those counties with large colleges that taught primarily online saw COVD cases fall by 18 percent.  The CDC is asking colleges to do more to mitigate COVID spread as the spring semester starts across the country.

 

Number 3: College and university presidents collectively ranked the mental health of faculty and staff members as their third-most-pressing concern in a recent poll conducted by the American Council on Education. Student mental health and long-term financial viability of their institutions ranked number one and two.

  

3

This week, Education Dive and Inside Higher Ed examine a new memorandum from the Department of Education’s Office of the General Counsel which states that LGBTQ students are not included in protections under Title IX.  The Department’s Office of Civil Rights is directed to “only consider certain forms of discrimination based on LGBTQ identity as discrimination under Title IX and said that ‘sex’ should only be interpreted to mean ‘biological sex, male and female’.” The memo is a direct contradiction to recent federal appeals court decisions. The new Secretary of Education is expected to overturn this interpretation of Title IX.

 

“It is clear now that football players are essential workers. The problem remains that they are not treated as employees and are not compensated. As non-employees, players’ health, safety and well-being are not very well protected.” Michael Hsu, regent at the University of Minnesota

  

4

As the football season concludes for NCAA Division I institutions, the Guardian examines COVID’s influence on the season and its impact on student athletes.  Players reported feeling isolated during COVID quarantines and forced separation from family and friends during the season. Athletes addressed injuries they received as a result of a shortened pre-season.  Students cited concerns about the long-term repercussions of having been exposed to COVID during the season.  The authors argue that continuing to proceed with the fall 2020 college football season during a pandemic highlights the exploitation of student-athletes.

 

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


5

This week the Chronicle examines the stress COVID is putting on student affairs practitioners.  Kevin Kruger, president of NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, reports that he has never witnessed this level of exhaustion amongst student-affairs professionals.  Trained to deal with crises, administrators are facing burnout as they push through ten months of supporting students through pandemic, institutional concerns about enrollment stability, and a national reckoning over racial injustice. The article voices concerns that practitioners will leave student affairs work as a result of layoffs and burnout and questions the resulting impact on student success outcomes.
 
 
Author: Meg Foster
January 15, 2021

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 1/8/21

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 1/8/21

At Innovative Educators, we have and always will stand for non-violence, equality, education and kindness. 

 

Our Friday 5 Live podcast kicks off again on January 22 when we will discuss mental health strategies for students, faculty and staff in this new year.  As a reminder, Friday 5 Live pairs nicely with a good walk or a warm beverage!

  

1

Update
Politics and pandemic dominated the headlines during the winter break.  President-Elect Biden announced that Miguel Cardona will serve as Secretary of Education. Dr. Cardona is the head of K-12 public education in Connecticut.  Penn State University will begin classes online January 19 as a response to increasing rates of COVID; in-person classes resume February 15. Syracuse University is also delaying its spring semester start. The NCAA announced this week that the men’s basketball tournament will be played exclusively in Indiana. As institutions prepare for the spring semester, the American College Health Association is recommending that colleges should test students twice a week for COVID.

 

2

Major changes are coming to the FAFSA process for the 2023-2024 academic year.  The online form will be reduced from over 100 questions to 36.  Additionally, most aid applicants will no longer have to self-report income data on the FAFSA.  The Pell Grant will expand allowing for   1.7 million more students to qualify for the maximum award each year while hundreds of thousands of more students will be eligible for a partial award. The creation of a new “lookup tool” will allow families to see if they will be eligible for Pell aid: the goal is to increase the number of households applying for aid. Incarcerated students will no longer be barred from receiving Pell Grants (more below). The streamlined form is designed to  make the process less time consuming and reduce the anxiety around FAFSA filing.

 

“This is a big achievement for the college-access field and something that will have very real benefits for many students.” - Carrie Warrick, director of policy and advocacy for the National College Attainment Network, on new policy impacting Federal Financial Aid

  

3

This week the Hechinger Report examines institutions who are utilizing the pandemic to innovate quickly.  Higher education is notorious for changing slowly, but COVID is providing an opportunity for some universities to quickly transform.  Unity College in Maine has adjusted its academic calendar from a semester system to “eight five-week terms, year-round, during which students can take one or two courses at a time, either in person or online.”  They’ve also lowered the cost of tuition and been able to expand academic offerings.  Other institutions have acquired smaller schools.  Metropolitan State University of Denver quickly created a skills lab to retrain people who lost jobs; the free program is so successful it will continue permanently.

 

20: The number of vending machines containing COVID-19 test kits the University of California San Diego has installed on campus

  

4

This week the Chronicle examines displaced workers and college and university roles in retraining programs.  Nearly a third of Americans believe they would need more education or training if they lost their job during the pandemic. In 2020, displaced workers did not return for training opportunities, but analysts think that 2021 may see an increase in enrollment in retraining programs.  Prior to the pandemic, one in four adults had a nondegree credential indicating the programs are popular.

 

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


5

The latest COVID stimulus bill ends a 26 year ban on prisoners being eligible for federal financial aid.  In addition, it overturns a law that barred students with drug convictions from receiving financial aid. Policy experts expect to see more colleges and universities developing courses and degree programs for incarcerated students as a result of this new legislation.  Advocates will now push for state financial aid for incarcerated students.
 
 
Author: Meg Foster
January 8, 2021

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 12/18/20

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 12/18/20

Hard to believe this is our final Friday 5 of 2020.  It’s been such a joy to bring this to your inbox each week as we examine the news of the week in higher education.  We hope that this winter break allows you time to pause, to rest and to renew.  This article on self-care during the winter months has been especially helpful to me.  Our Friday 5 Live podcast recordings pair nicely with a good walk or a warm beverage! Take care, and we look forward to connecting again in the new year!

  

1

Update
Colleges and universities are wrapping up the fall 2020 semester.  On Monday, U.S. Senators announced a COVID relief bill that allocates 20 billion to higher education institutions falling far short of the 120 billion ask by the American Council on Education.  As institutions continue to struggle financially, The George Washington University announced the elimination of 339 positions to balance its budget.  Other institutions have announced massive cuts to academic programs and positions including the College of Saint Rose, which has eliminated sixteen majors and six master’s degrees, and Marquette University, which will eliminate 225 positions this year.

 

2

Inside Higher Education reports this week on the results of a Gallup/Lumina poll examining students’ experience this fall semester.  “Eighty-five percent of students whose curriculum was ‘completely’ in person said their education quality was ‘excellent’ or ‘very good,’ while 71 percent of those learning ‘completely’ online said the same.”  Thirty percent of students reported that they had considered discontinuing their education in the last six months.  Students cited COVID, emotional stress and the cost of attendance as the top reasons they would stop their education.  Half of the survey respondents indicated that COVID will likely or very likely hinder their ability to continue through college.

 

1 million: The number of COVID tests the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has administered as of this week

  

3

We’ve reported for weeks about the significant and troubling decline in community college enrollment.  Diverse Issues in Higher Education this week examines how institutions can address the drop in enrollment.  Researchers at the Center for Community College Student Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin recommend institutions clearly communicate with students, letting students know they are supported, as well as mitigating technology issues like access to Wifi and computers.

 

“Advising is one of those key practices related to student success. It requires a lot of interpersonal sensitivity.” -  said Dr. Jillian Kinzie, a senior scholar at Indiana University School of Education

  

4

The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) this year addressed the importance of undergraduate advising.  The data underscores that advisors who “actively listen, respect identity and culture, and care about students’ well-being” are essential to first-year and fourth-year undergraduates.  NSSE’s report highlights the key elements of undergraduate advising: listening, respecting and caring (known as the LRCs). Advising is critical to retention, and researchers emphasize that it must be a priority of institutions.

 

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


5

The Chronicle of Higher Education examines academic calendars for the spring 2021 semester as many institutions are cancelling spring break out of concern of COVID spread.  Instead, institutions are offering periodic days off with the goal being to provide students days to focus on mental health. These days are scheduled mid-week in the hopes that this will discourage students from gathering unsafely or traveling. Harvard, Central Michigan and Youngstown State have announced plans for spring mental health days.
 
 
Author: Meg Foster
December 18, 2020

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 12/11/20

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 12/11/20

We hope that you were able to join us for our final Friday 5 Live of 2020! We looked back on this year with Dr. Denise Swett.  This was our final podcast for 2020. We will kick off Season 2 on January 15 as we discuss faculty and staff health for the year ahead!  If you missed our conversation, please check out our Friday 5 Live podcasts and share with colleagues!

  

1

Update
COVID infection rates continue to increase across the country, and many states are responding with curfews and stay at home orders.  Colleges continue to announce spring plans.  University of Arizona students living on campus or attending in-person classes must be tested weekly or will lose access to campus WiFi. The University of Florida plans to increase face-to-face classes this spring; students and faculty are protesting that decision. Colorado State will provide satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading options for the fall semester, but the University of Maryland, College Park has informed students it will not consider their requests for a pass/no pass grading policy.

 

2

This week, the Chronicle of Higher Education examines the reasons behind the bleak community college enrollment numbers.  At times of economic downturn, historically community colleges see increased enrollment.  Across the nation enrollment is down 9% at community colleges. The article highlights the remoteness of online learning as a barrier to enrollment.  In addition, students lack technology and childcare and in this downturn must prioritize work over school.  There is grave concern that  minority, refugee, undocumented, and low income populations have not been able to enroll this fall in community colleges across the U.S., and as a result, equity gaps will only continue to increase.  The article highlights Guided Pathways programs as having a positive impact on enrollment and student success.

 

“We are already on the brink of taking several steps back in terms of supporting low-income communities and communities of color.” - Eloy O. Oakley, chancellor of the California Community Colleges system

  

3

A federal judge has reinstated DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.  Over 200,000 current college students potentially would have seen their education put in jeopardy had the restrictions imposed by the current administration been allowed to stand.  The Homeland Security Department is now accepting new DACA applications, and has extended one-year requests to two years.

 

500,000: Number of workers colleges lost from February to October (12% of its workforce) according to The Chronicle of Higher Education

  

4

This week Education Dive considers how higher education will recover from COVID.  Moody's Investors Service predicts that colleges will not rebound quickly from financial setbacks. Higher education operations will continue to be challenged through at least the first half of the year. Uncertainty about spring plans, uncertainty about enrollment numbers and uncertainty about international student enrollment paints a bleak picture for 2021.  “Moody's predicts net tuition revenue will decline at around 75% of private schools and 60% of publics.”  College budgets will remain strained as they face lower auxiliary income and decreases in state funding for public institutions.

 

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


5

NPR reports this week on fall plans at colleges and universities where sports, particularly football, continued to be played but opportunities like graduation were canceled. Students have started petitions across the country “in hopes of getting their institutions to reconsider hosting in-person graduation ceremonies.” At the University of Missouri, students are questioning why 20,000 can attend a football game in person, but a graduation ceremony is considered a health concern.  Students at Florida State University also petitioned for a graduation ceremony for the 3,000 fall graduates and recommended using the football stadium which has a capacity of 79,000.
 
 
Author: Meg Foster
December 11, 2020

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 12/4/20

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 12/4/20

We hope that you were able to join us for our Friday 5 Live with Dr. Denise Swett.  We examined 2020 and where we can go and grow in the new year.  As always, I left our conversation feeling renewed and excited for the work ahead.  If you missed our conversation, please check out our Friday 5 Live podcasts and share with colleagues!

  

1

Update
This week in higher education, institutions began publishing plans for the spring 2021 semester.  Harvard and Princeton will bring back more students in the spring.  Walsh University will use learning communities next semester to ease student isolation.  Faculty at the University of North Carolina are demanding the university continue with remote learning for the spring semester.  The state of Nevada will allow college students to select pass/fail grading options for the fall semester.  Students at Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia filed a lawsuit seeking tuition refunds from the spring 2020 semester; students at Columbia are making a similar demand.

 

2

Inside Higher Ed reports this week on outcomes from Florida’s redesign of developmental education.  According to research published in Educational Researcher, the number of students taking and passing general education requirements in math and English has increased since 2013 when legislation altered developmental education.  The study also found that Black and Hispanic students had greater gains in passing rates than their white peers. Researchers hope that COVID will accelerate additional developmental education reform.

 

"Developmental education reforms that increase student access to and enrollment in college-level courses are among the most promising avenues for improving student success.” - Elizabeth Kopko, senior research associate at the Community College Research Center at Teachers College at Columbia University

  

3

Federal lawmakers appear to be renewing conversations about a new coronavirus aid bill.  A proposal by Mitch Romney, Susan Collins and Joe Manchin provides $4 billion to student loan relief. Republican Senators have created a separate plan which sets aside $105 billion for an "Education Stabilization Fund” and grants legal liability protections for colleges.  This week the American Council on Education reiterated its message to lawmakers that colleges and universities need “at least $120 billion to address the pandemic's financial fallout.”

 

12,000: The number of jobs international student enrollment at community colleges supports

  

4

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports this week that “the amount international students contributed to the U.S. economy in 2019-20 fell $1.8 billion from the year before, to $38.7 billion.”  These economic disruptions are a result of the 43% decline in international enrollment this academic year.  Jobs created by international students declined in the last year by 9 percent. The future of international student enrollment in the United States has the potential to have lasting economic impacts.

 

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


5

While undergraduate programs across the U.S. are suffering from low enrollments, law schools and medical schools are seeing increased application numbers for the upcoming school year.  Medical schools are experiencing an 18% increase in applicants which some are labeling the “Fauci Effect.”  Witnessing the pandemic has inspired many students to pursue a career in medicine.  Others are attributing the increase to students having the time to commit to the extensive medical school application process.
 
 
Author: Meg Foster
December 4, 2020