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

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! 

 

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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.

 

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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)

  

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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.

 

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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!


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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

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 10/9/20

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 10/9/20

We hope you were able to join us for our Friday 5 Live today as we examined how to support our students’ mental health needs this fall semester.  We are grateful for Dr. Aaron Hughey’s insights and recommendations.  We are now podcasting Friday 5 Live so you can more easily share this resource with colleagues! Please join us October 23 as we host a panel of students from across the United States who will update us on their fall experiences.

 

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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: Alexis, Crafton Hills College

Major: Psychology

Hometown: Rialto, CA

Share one thing you wish your faculty knew about your experience this fall:

I work full time and I go to school full time. Although I’m determined to get my degree by any means necessary, I am concerned about those students who might come to the Zoom meeting the first day and then I will never see them again or they are still enrolled in the class and they never post on the discussion board.  Faculty need to make it known to their students that they care about them and that they are willing to help them succeed.

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

Having the resources of talking to my counselor to make sure I'm on the right track.

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

That I’m able to do my work at my own pace.

 

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Inside Higher Ed this week looks at the enrollment data for the fall semester reported by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. Overall undergraduate enrollment is down 2.5%, but at community colleges that decline is 7.5%. Doug Shapiro, executive director of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, said that “the results are extremely concerning for community colleges and the many low-income students they serve.”Inside Higher Ed reports this week on furloughs being announced at institutions across the United States.  Last month, “employment in state government education dropped by 49,000 jobs and employment in private education fell by 69,000 jobs.”  These cuts are a second round of pandemic-related budget reductions.  Many institutions trimmed auxiliary spending in the spring semester so now must cut personnel.  “Personnel is the largest line item, and personnel is going to be the area where most institutions are going to have to look for additional savings as they balance their budgets,” shared Jim Hundrieser, the National Association of College and University Business Officers.

 

337,000: The estimated number of fewer workers employed by America’s private and state-controlled institutions of higher education in August compared to February

  

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iverse Issues in Higher Education shares this week a new initiative coming from Google.  Three community colleges are working with Google on its new federally accredited apprenticeship program.  There has been much discussion this fall about how Google’s credentialing programs will change and influence higher education.  The goal of the Google IT Apprenticeship Program is to train students, particularly non-traditionally aged students, for new jobs.  The online course will provide students digital, professional and technical skills leading to Google IT certification.

 

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Inside Higher Education examines tribal colleges’ responses to learning during the pandemic.  Access to technology is one of the largest hurdles for tribal colleges, many of which are in rural areas. Institutions have moved quickly to address technology needs, faculty training in online pedagogy, and online student support. Tribal college leaders are hopeful that their new embrace of online learning will strengthen their institutions.

 

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


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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has changed its guidance for colleges and universities to recommend more screening to cut down on COVID’s spread. “Testing people upon reentry, and regularly after that, ‘might prevent or reduce’ transmission of the virus in light of the ‘frequent movement’ of instructors, staff and students between the campus and surrounding area” Education Dive reports this week.  A recent study found that frequent testing coupled with social distancing measures can assist schools to control COVID outbreaks on campus.
 
 
Author: Meg Foster
October 9, 2020

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 10/2/20

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 10/2/20

We hope you will be able to join us for our Friday 5 Live on October 9 as we examine how to support our students’ mental health needs this fall semester.  Dr. Aaron Hughey, from Western Kentucky University, will share with us recommendations for how we can anticipate student mental health needs and provide support for students in person and at a distance.  We are now podcasting Friday 5 Lives so you can more easily share this resource with colleagues!  Please join us on October 9!

 

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The State of Higher Education This Week

The CDC released data this week indicating that COVID cases in people aged 18-22 increased 55% between August and September, the time in which students were moving back to college campuses.  Appalachian State University announced the death of a sophomore from complications due to COVID.  At Florida State University, police shut down a party of 1,000 plus students. Institutions are announcing measures to address budget shortfalls.  The University of Delaware will furlough all 3,500 staff and use $100 million from its endowment to resolve some of the financial gap.

 

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Inside Higher Ed this week looks at the enrollment data for the fall semester reported by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. Overall undergraduate enrollment is down 2.5%, but at community colleges that decline is 7.5%. Doug Shapiro, executive director of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, said that “the results are extremely concerning for community colleges and the many low-income students they serve.”

 

130,000: The number of COVID-19 cases American institutions of higher education have logged since the pandemic began

  

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Earlier this month, President Trump issued an executive order which bars federal grant recipients from using training that "inculcates in its employees any form of race or sex stereotyping or any form of race or sex scapegoating." According to legal experts and college administrators like the president of the University of Michigan, such a directive could seriously erode efforts designed to combat racism and sexism on college campuses while violating free speech rights. Given the language of the order, colleges and universities may have trouble determining if they are in compliance.

 

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The Trump administration is proposing tighter restrictions on international student visas reports Education Dive.  International students account for around 6% of enrollment at U.S. colleges and universities.  The new proposed regulations limit visa durations to four years and provide more specific parameters around permissible extension requests. Higher ed experts say the rule change could deter international students from coming to the U.S. as many degrees, particularly those at the graduate level, take more than four years to complete.  U.S. universities worry this new restriction will drive international enrollment to countries like Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.

 

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


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Utah State University announced a new program this week aimed at increasing enrollment among students who lack the test scores or grades for traditional admission. “The Earned Admission program will guarantee first-year applicants a spot at the university if they pass three self-paced courses in English, math and study skills.”  The goal is to give students an alternative means for admission while providing them an academic boost prior to enrolling.  Students complete the courses through StraigherLine at a cost of $125 per month.  StraigherLine is supporting similar guaranteed admissions pathways at the Community College of Denver and Indiana Tech.
 
 
Author: Meg Foster
October 1, 2020

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 9/25/20

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 9/25/20

We hope you were able to join us for our Friday 5 Live when we discussed working and teaching from home while we also support children of all ages learning at home in all manner of ways.  We were fortunate to have Andrea, Sarah and Kristen join us to reflect on their experiences and also share valuable insights they’ve gained!  Please join us on October 9 as we examine how to support our students’ mental health needs this fall semester.

 

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The State of Higher Education This Week

COVID cases continue to increase on college campuses around the country this week.  On Monday, the University of Colorado at Boulder announced it was shifting all classes online for two weeks following an outbreak on campus.  Northeastern University suspended 11 students for not following campus health guidelines; the university announced that it will apply a portion of their fall tuition to the spring semester versus taking the entire tuition this semester.  At the University of Michigan, faculty has voted “no confidence” in the university’s President Mark S. Schlissel in part as a response to the institution’s handling of the fall return experience.  James Madison University will have students return to campus after sending them home abruptly the week after classes began.

 

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Education Dive reports this week on institutions’ efforts to address student mental health needs.  “In a recent survey of more than 45,000 students attending public research universities, roughly one-third screened positive for major depressive disorder and 39% screened positive for generalized anxiety disorder.” In a separate survey, 60% of students indicated that it was harder to find mental health care due to COVID.  The College of Charleston is offering virtual mental health services through a relationship with the Medical University of South Carolina.  InsideTrack is offering coaching services to support students in crisis at ten different institutions.

 

57%: The percentage of college students who responded they had seen a party since arriving on their campus according to a recent survey by College Reaction

  

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Colleges are concerned about the status of their Latinx students as Education Dive reports this week.  Latinx students are more likely than their White peers to have lost jobs; more likely to have had insufficient access to food and housing, and less likely to have the technology that makes remote learning possible. The pandemic is causing some Latinx students to postpone college this fall.  Institutions are continuing response efforts.  El Paso Community College is responding by giving students additional opportunities to apply for federal financial aid.  At Long Beach College, officials have taken laptop distribution out to the community in an effort to get Chromebooks into the hands of their students.

 

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Resident Assistants at institutions from the University of Michigan to Louisiana State University to Cornell are pushing for additional resources given their additional responsibilities in supervising students during pandemic.  At the University of Virginia, Resident Assistants complained that the two hour Zoom call on COVID preparation was not adequate.  Institutions like the University of North Carolina-Wilmington are seeing Resident Assistants quit over concerns about their safety as well as the mental toll caring for residents during pandemic is taking.

 

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


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Prior to the pandemic, sixteen states had initiated free college programs with other states offering extensive scholarships.  State budgets have been decimated by the pandemic.  In August, “Oregon lawmakers stripped $3.6 million from its promise program, which allows high school graduates or adults who complete their GED to attend community college tuition-free.” New York may be cutting resources to its Excelsior Scholarship.  Other states like Washington and New Mexico are working to continue to fund free college initiatives.
 
 
Author: Meg Foster
September 25, 2020

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

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.

 

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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.

 

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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

  

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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.

 

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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.


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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

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 9/11/20

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 9/11/20

Congratulations to New England College whose image of the Library Unicorn welcoming students to campus won our first Back to School Picture contest!  Check it out below!  Join us next Friday, September 18, for our next Friday 5 Live when Eric Salahub shares with us tips and tricks for engaging students online, recommendations we can use in the classroom and in student services.  We hope you will join us to get some practical ways we can create an active learning environment for our students!

Library Unicorn welcoming students

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The State of Higher Education This Week

COVID responses continue to dominate the headlines in higher education this week.  Bradley University announced on Tuesday that all students would be required to quarantine in their residences for two weeks as a result of COVID cases.  West Virginia University shifted classes online in response to an increase in cases at the Morgantown campus.  Baylor University and Louisiana Tech’s football game was postponed when 38 Louisiana Tech players tested positive for COVID-19. Some institutions like the University of Connecticut and Penn State University are already announcing spring plans which are consistent with fall plans of hybrid learning formats.

 

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Education Dive reports this week on strikes and collective action taking place at colleges across the country.  At the University of Michigan, graduate student instructors and staff assistants are striking this week demanding: increased coronavirus testing, allowing graduate employees to switch to remote work, and “cutting ties with the local police and federal immigration authorities.” Another strike at the University of Iowa is demanding a shift to online learning.  Experts recommend that college leadership consult faculty before making decisions.  Institutions like the University of Florida have worked with employee unions to reach agreements.  


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The New York Times this week examined students’ experiences of being quarantined on campus. Experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci recommend institutions quarantine students who are ill with COVID.  Unfortunately, students are sharing that the practice of quarantining at college is putting them and others at risk.  A student at UNC reported that ill with COVID, she had to move herself into the quarantine dorm where no one from staff checked on her during her illness. UNC has subsequently shifted online for the fall.  Students at the University of Alabama have turned in classmates they have seen flouting quarantine.  “Some public health experts say the spotty oversight of quarantine dorms raises questions about whether universities have made more fundamental changes that might have helped them limit outbreaks in the first place — changes like significantly reducing dorm occupancy and repeatedly testing all students for the virus.” As institutions, like James Madison University, shift online, there is growing concern that students will spread COVID to their home communities and vulnerable populations there as they move home.

 

2,000: The number of students in quarantine at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville


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Institutions at all levels, K-12 and higher education, are using technology for contact tracing purposes.  Colleges, like the University of Alabama, are using apps to help trace and track students’ exposure to COVID. However, there is concern that such use of technology may lead institutions into questionable privacy territory for schools. Colleges and universities must still conform to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and other laws governing student privacy.  Experts are concerned that ongoing location tracking could lead to the appropriation and misuse of data by law enforcement and immigration.

 

Follow Our Podcast! Share Friday 5 Live with your colleagues.  Listen to our last episode: 

5 Students Share Their Perspectives On The Fall 2020 Semester


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The Chronicle this week examined public-private partnerships (known as P3s) which are becoming an increasingly common way for institutions to pay for revenue-generating structures like residence halls.  COVID is highlighting vulnerabilities in these public-private partnerships.  A simplified explanation of how a P3 might work: “In a residence-hall project, for example, an outside entity puts up money, draws up plans, or offers services in the building, then reaps repayment and profit from the room and board fees associated with the project. Often the college is responsible for maintaining a healthy enrollment to keep the residence hall filled.”  We reported last month on P3s potential influence in campus reopening decisions in Georgia.  In Maryland where many public residence halls were built using P3s, parents and students are demanding to have leases cancelled or housing refunded at institutions like Towson University which are online for the fall semester.
 
 
Author: Meg Foster
September 11, 2020