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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.

 

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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

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

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!

 

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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.

 

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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


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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


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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


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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

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 8/28/20

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 8/28/20

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).  One back-to-school pic entry will win a $250 scholarship for students at your institution!

 

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The State of Higher Education This Week

The first week of classes for many schools began with a Zoom glitch serious enough to halt learning across the U.S.: not an auspicious beginning to fall 2020.  The week also brought more shifts to fall learning plans with institutions including Towson University, the University of Oregon, and Virginia State University moving all learning online.  COVID cases continued to rise at colleges and universities prompting officials in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to close bars and restaurants for two weeks.  Other schools cracked down on students’ behavior. At Ohio State University, 228 students received interim suspensions for violating new coronavirus-related safety guidelines. Central Michigan suspended all Greek-life activities in an effort to curb students socializing in large groups. But is it fair to blame students for COVID outbreaks?

 

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The Chronicle of Higher Education examined institutions’ responses this week to growing COVID cases on their campuses. While schools like Purdue and Syracuse University enforced student-conduct codes, the message being sent to students: “their behavior was jeopardizing universities’ painstaking plans to offer a safe, in-person semester.”  Critics question whether it is fair to blame college students, who have been away from friends for months, for engaging in their “normal” social college experience.  What blame should college administrators shoulder having students return to campus during a pandemic while expecting vast changes in student behavior?

“Dear administrators who are scolding students for messing up your ill-conceived plans: instead of blaming the students, perhaps we should analyze why you put them in that position in the first place.” - Michael Sorrell, President of Paul Quinn College


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American College Health Association (ACHA) released guidelines this week advising college officials on how to protect vulnerable campus populations as they respond to the pandemic. Recommendations include: educating and training providers in culturally competent care and treatment and offering on-campus housing for students whose family homes are not a safe or supportive option.

 

447: COVID cases at Georgia College - representing 6% of the student population


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Education Dive reports this week on the U.S. Department of Education’s new regulations governing distance learning.  While the definition of a credit hour remains the same, new regulations include criteria for evaluating faculty interaction with students and an allowance for the use of instructional teams versus individual instructors for classes.  While the regulations go into effect in July 2021, institutions are encouraged to begin implementing them now.

 

Innovative Educators On-Demand Training: Creating An Inclusive Campus


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Kallaco, a four month old company, has received millions of dollars from Virginia colleges and universities to provide COVID tests for incoming students.  The throat swab tests are being mailed to students for at-home testing.  According to the FDA, however, these COVID tests are not designed for personal use but rather should be administered by a professional. Students and faculty are questioning the legitimacy of the tests as well as the company providing them.
 
 
Author: Meg Foster
August 28, 2020

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 8/21/20

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 8/21/20

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).  One back-to-school pic entry will win a $250 scholarship for students at your institution!

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The State of Higher Education This Week

This week saw more students move in to their college residences across the nation.  After UNC-Chapel Hill reported 4 COVID clusters in residence halls and a fraternity house, it announced on Monday a shift to online learning for the fall.  Notre Dame also announced mid-week it would move classes online for two weeks as cases climbed.  The University of Oklahoma quarantined an entire sorority when 23 cases emerged.  Columbia and Barnard changed their reopening plans, shifting their fall semester online.  With the ever-changing nature of the semester, residential students might want to consider unpacking only the necessities.

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Education Dive this week examines the changes to Title IX which went into effect on August 14.  The new ruling “is most known for the new quasi-judicial process it sets up, which is far more intensive than a typical conduct hearing.” Advocates are concerned that new processes are vague and will bog down Title IX claims to the point that students reporting sexual assault will not want to pursue formal investigations. Adapting to the new rules has also proved challenging during the pandemic.

 

60%: The percent of all four-year schools that went test-optional for fall 2021 admissions


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The CDC issued data this week on the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of traditional college-aged students.  Twenty-five percent of Americans ages 18-24 have seriously considered suicide in the past 30 days. Inside Higher Ed also reported on this research this week and advised colleges to continue to invest in mental health resources for students whether online or in person.

 

Innovative Educators On Demand Training: Creating An Inclusive Campus

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Diverse Issues in Higher Education reported this week on increased enrollments at HBCU’s. Cheyney University, the nation’s oldest historically Black university, saw a 46% increase in first-year students who paid deposits over last year.  Some HBCUs saw an increase this summer in student enrollment numbers which administrators attribute in part to the Black Lives Matter protests.  Other HBCUs like Winston-Salem State University and Claflin University are also reporting increasing enrollment for the fall 2020 semester.

"Current undergraduate admissions tests fail to meet basic standards of being fair, accurate and useful." - Bob Schaeffer, FairTest's interim executive director


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According to Education Dive, NACAC released a report this week detailing flaws with the SAT and ACT, many of which have been highlighted by COVID-19. More than 60% of all four-year schools have announced they will be test-optional for fall 2021. The NCAA has announced that those students who plan to play Division I or II sports will not be required to take tests to meet NCAA eligibility requirements for the upcoming school year.
 
 
Author: Meg Foster
August 21, 2020

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 8/14/20

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 8/14/20

We hope you will join us on August 21 for our next Friday 5 Live!  Denise Swett will help us look at what to expect for the fall semester, predict the future of this term, and provide insights into student needs and resources.  We look forward to our discussion on August 21!

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The State of Higher Education This Week

This week saw students begin to move into residence halls and prepare for the fall semester.   Institutions like Pace are requiring students to self quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.  At Colgate University, students won’t do this alone.  Colgate’s president, Brian W. Casey, will quarantine in a residence hall room eating the same food that is delivered to students and abiding by the same rules as an act of solidarity with Colgate’s students.  His mother has promised to send him cookies during his time in self quarantine.

“Unlike professional sports, college sports cannot operate in a bubble. Our athletic programs are a part of broader campuses in communities where in many cases the prevalence of Covid-19 is significant.”  - Larry Scott, the PAC-12 conference’s commissioner

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The PAC-12 and Big 10 Conferences announced this week that they would not participate in NCAA sports this fall, including football.  The Power 5 conferences also met to discuss fall football.  The NCAA has issued new guidance for the fall semester which includes that student athletes who opt not to play due to health concerns cannot be penalized for that decision. As of late last week, 11 of 23 Division II conferences have announced they will not play fall sports; Division III did not report the number of conferences that have suspended fall play. The NCAA called off fall championships for Division II and III sports.

 

500: The number of colleges that expect to function in person, at least in part, for the fall


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Inside Higher Ed reports this week on the BioButton which will roll out at Oakland University this fall.  The half-dollar sized button adheres to the skin and collects data like temperature and respiratory rate so university officials can follow up with individuals who might be exhibiting early signs of COVID.  While the initial plan made it mandatory for students living on campus to wear the buttons, the university is now encouraging faculty, staff and students to wear the buttons.  There has been pushback from privacy experts on mandatory data collection and tracking.

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Students returning to campus are finding major differences in their dining hall experiences as a result of COVID. At institutions like St. Norbert and Cornell, large dining hall capacity has been cut in half.  Rather than all you can eat buffets, students can expect to have set times to collect to-go meals and alternative eating locations like outdoor tents.  Students will be asked to eat quickly to allow for sanitizing between dining sessions.  Many institutions have also adopted OpenTable for students to use to make reservations for food pick up or to space out dining-in options.  Overall, students should expect to see menus that cater to grab-and-go options or take and reheat and constant reminders to stay distanced from fellow students.

 

Innovative Educators On Demand Training: Creating An Inclusive Campus


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The Chronicle of Higher Education reports this week on a new movement to abolish “predominantly white fraternities and sororities that has gained traction at more than a dozen campuses this summer, driven by the national reckoning over racial injustice.” Many students of color are frustrated by Greek life’s inaction on diversity and inclusion. Fraternities and sororities are disbanding on campuses like Swarthmore and American University, and at Vanderbilt, students are pushing campus-wide discussions about the role of Greek life in today’s higher education settings.
 
 
Author: Meg Foster
August 14, 2020

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 8/7/20

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 8/7/20

We hope you were able to join us for our Friday 5 Live today.  We were grateful to have Andrea G. Harris, Senior Director, Student Administrative Service at Pepperdine University, join us again! We continued our discussion about well-being as we work from home, and we talked through how to handle virtual fatigue which will be critical for all of us for this fall.  Please join us on August 21 as we ask Denise Swett to look into the future of the fall semester!

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The State of Higher Education This Week

This week we saw continued changes to academic plans for the fall semester.  Smith College announced that it will shift all classes online for the fall.  The University of Virginia pushed back its fall move-in date and shifted classes online; local residents have been critical of the university bringing students back to campus.  In contrast, Ames, Iowa residents are eager for students to return to Iowa State and support the town’s economy.  As some institutions push forward with full residence halls, there is increased speculation of Private-Public Partnerships between universities and companies, like Corvias.  The concern is that institutions are being forced to fill residence halls or make up the difference financially to the companies managing them.  We continue to watch the constantly shifting environment of higher education as we edge closer and closer to the start of the fall semester.

“The coronavirus has put a spotlight on a lot of the injustices in college athletics” - Valentino Daltoso, an offensive lineman at the University of California Berkeley

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Hundreds of PAC-12 Conference football players announced this week that they would not participate in training camps or games this fall unless the conference met certain demands including health and safety procedures, created protections for other sports and addressed racial injustice. The athletes spent more than a month organizing, and their hope is that the threat of a boycott will lead to a formal negotiation process.  “There is a significant overlap between college sports and issues of racial justice, especially in football programs” report Vox.  College football is disproportionately fueled by Black athletes: half of all Division 1 football players are Black.

 

10: the number of players on Colorado State University’s football team who reported being  urged not to report COVID-19 symptoms by coaching staff.


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Institutions have published clear plans for bringing students back to campus, but they have been less clear on what metrics they would use to decide to close campus should COVID-19 spread.  Industry analysts explain that colleges will be criticized for publishing any clear measures for closing as the ever-changing situation may mean those plans become quickly outdated.  Institutions like Duke University have announced they are monitoring a “range of indicators” to determine closure while Syracuse University has developed a framework that includes “five ‘levels’ of operation that lead up to a complete campus closure.” At 100 or more COVID-19 cases, the campus would pause and shift learning online.  K-12 institutions have begun to return to in-person instruction, and those experiences may offer additional models/guidelines for higher ed institutions who find they need to close.

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Multiple publications this week highlighted the growing anxiety regarding  institutions’ financial health. The Hechinger Report examined financial decisions made pre-COVID-19 that have negatively impacted institutions while Education Dive reported on the continuation of layoffs and furloughs.  An interactive tool shared by Inside Higher Ed gives campus communities a snapshot of their institution’s financial situation.  The bottom line: the financial future of many colleges and universities is very bleak.

 

Innovative Educators On Demand Training: Creating An Inclusive Campus


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The Chronicle reports this week on the impact academic advising can have on degree completion and career attainment. The article spotlights Florida Atlantic University’s success with appreciative advising which has helped to increase the four-year graduation rate by nearly 20%. “Black and Hispanic students’ graduation rates have outpaced those of the overall population.”  The report focuses on the work of Ned Laff who envisions academic advising as guiding students to find their strengths, get them the education and experience they need, and help them find successful careers.
 
 
Author: Meg Foster
August 7, 2020