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Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 11/27/20

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 11/27/20

In this season of thanksgiving, the team at Innovative Educators is grateful for our colleagues in higher education!  We hope that you have time this holiday weekend for rest and renewal.

  

1

Update
College students are traveling home this week as the Thanksgiving holiday gets under way, and many students will remain at home until the start of the spring semester.  Institutions, like St. Lawrence University, continue to shift learning online this week in response to increases in COVID.  College athletics continues to be impacted by COVID.  The head coach of the University of Tennessee’s men’s basketball team has tested positive for COVID while New Mexico State’s team has temporarily moved to Arizona where less strict state guidelines make it easier for the team to practice. We continue to monitor how COVID will impact both the end of the fall semester and plans for the spring 2021 semester.

 

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The American Council on Education published a report this week highlighting the inequity in our nation’s educational systems.  Their research indicates that Black/African American and American Indian/Alaska Native students tend to have lower grade point averages than White or Asian peers while also being less likely to meet college readiness benchmarks on tests like the ACT and SAT.  The report indicates the importance of colleges and universities choosing to not utilize standardized tests in the admissions process.  The American Council on Education encourages colleges to document and halt patterns of discrimination while also training faculty to teach and support diverse student populations.

 

36 million: The number of U.S. adults with college credits but no degree 

  

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Education Dive this week examines efforts at institutions like the University of Maryland Baltimore County to re-enroll students who have stopped out.  “Enrollment of learners who had previously stopped-out fell 15.6% this fall, helping drive overall undergraduate declines.” Stopped-out students are often struggling with financial challenges, health challenges, and during the pandemic may be prioritizing children’s needs over their own education. Virtual courses can be an attractive method to lure stopped-out students back to complete degrees. Stackable credentials and credit for prior learning are also programs geared towards assisting adult learners and/or stopped-out students to earn degrees.

 

Community college students are cancelling their plans at more than twice the rate of four-year college students. - Community College Research Center

  

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The Community College Research Consortium published a concerning report this week highlighting the downward enrollment trend at community colleges.  Survey data indicates that more than “40% of households report that a prospective student is cancelling all plans for community college; another 15% are either taking fewer classes or switching programs.” CCRC’s research also concludes that students who cancel community college plans are those students who are the least economically stable.  This is a deeply concerning trend as the equity gap in education has grown as a result of the pandemic. Additionally worrisome is the concern that a group of students may not ever engage in higher education which could have long term economic impacts for a vulnerable portion of our population.

 

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


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The Hechinger Report examines an emerging enrollment trend: students who have bachelor’s degrees and are pursuing career and technical education programs. “One in 12 students now at community colleges — or more than 940,000 — previously earned a bachelor’s degree, according to the American Association of Community Colleges.”  The pandemic has highlighted the need for “middle skills” workers - those nurses and information systems technicians who have certificates or associate degrees.
 
 
Author: Meg Foster
November 27, 2020

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

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

We hope you were able to join us for our Friday 5 Live.  Jen Meyers Pickard and Sheila Murphy of WittKieffer provided insights into pandemic-era higher education job search.

We are now podcasting Friday 5 Lives so you can more easily share this resource with colleagues!

  

1

Update
As COVID continues to surge across the United States, the shift to online learning has accelerated this week.  Philadelphia prohibited in person instruction at its over 20 colleges and universities.  The state of Michigan has also switched college and universities to online learning for the next three weeks.  Governors in the northeast appealed to colleges and universities asking they offer COVID testing, as the SUNY system is doing, to all students before they return home for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Institutions like Duke University and Washington University are receiving praise for their comprehensive testing processes that focus on the entire student population versus only symptomatic students.

 

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According to a report by the Hope Center for College, Community and Justice, 38% of faculty and staff surveyed indicated that they had “some form of basic needs insecurity in 2019.” Those faculty and staff who are employed part-time faced higher rates of food and housing insecurity then full-time employees.  Researchers indicate that this basic needs insecurity of faculty and staff has the potential to impact student success.

 

“I think there is a moment of reckoning in America. Now is the time for us to have honest change." - Kent Devereaux, president of Maryland's Goucher College

  

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This week fifty liberal arts colleges including DePauw, Occidental, Oberlin and Pomona announced an alliance with the University of Southern California's Race and Equity Center.  This new alliance, called the Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance, will “host virtual meetings about campus equity, survey students and employees, and give workers equity-related resources.”

  

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The Chronicle reports this week on community college enrollment dips, which promise to last throughout this academic year.  The latest data from National Student Clearinghouse Research Center show a 9.5 percent drop in attendance at community colleges from last year. As public two-year colleges “are most likely to enroll low-income and minority students, the equity implications of the enrollment dropoff are troubling.” First-time in college attendance by Black, Hispanic and Native American students is down this fall semester by nearly 30 percent for each group.

 

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


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Texas Monthly reports this week on Rice University’s efforts to prevent COVID outbreaks on campus.  This semester the university launched the COVID Community Court (CCC) made up of students who adjudicate public health violations on campus. Penalties include letters of apology, community service projects, completing educational research or meeting with advisers.  While a $75 penalty can be levied, no student has received that sanction. While many credit the CCC with helping prevent COVID spread at Rice, some students feel like the Community Court has created a sense of paranoia and punishment on campus.
 
 
Author: Meg Foster
November 20, 2020

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 11/13/20

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 11/13/20

We hope you were able to join us for our Friday 5 Live when Dr. Tom Tobin shared thoughts and insights about the future of online learning as we kicked off National Distance Learning Week!  His vision of what it takes to provide excellent online instruction and of how pandemic learning will shape our higher education future was fascinating. Please join us on November 20 for our next Friday 5 Live.  Jen Meyers Pickard and Sheila Murphy of WittKieffer will provide insights into pandemic-era higher education job search.

  

In celebration of National Distance Learning Week (November 9-13), please check out IE’s free workshop on How to Prepare & Support Students for Online Learning.

 

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National Distance Learning Week (November 9-13)
Happy National Distance Learning Week!  However you may be supporting online learners this fall, as an instructor, staff member, or administrator, know how grateful Innovative Educators is for your leadership in a semester unlike any other.  In this week where we celebrate online learning, we saw Syracuse University, the University at Albany, and Niagara University shift courses to remote learning.  The University of Michigan announced it will offer more classes online in the spring semester. As we anticipate the end of the fall semester, please know the team at Innovative Educators is cheering on our colleagues in universities and colleges across the nation. 

 

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Inside Higher Ed reports this week that nearly half of high school seniors have not begun the college application process according to a survey of 31,000 seniors by Niche and Tudor Collegiate Strategies.  More concerning, 56 percent of those respondents from low-income families have not started applying to college.  High school seniors reported feeling anxiety and concern about being able to afford college.  Some good news for admissions staff: students report they are attending online college recruitment events and enjoying them.

 

Higher education has shed at least a tenth of the labor force it had before the start of the pandemic. - The Chronicle of Higher Education

  

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The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) recently examined efforts by colleges and non-profits to help students graduate.  According to their research, these initiatives are hard to scale to impact a greater number of students.  NBER found that programs that effectively supported students used case management, often advisers with small caseloads, or financial support to help with tuition or to incentivize student performance. While effective, such programming is expensive costing upwards of $16,000 per student. NBER recommends institutions look to public funding to increase the scales of these efforts or seek private funding sources.

 

“Student parent work is race equity work” - Nicole Lynn Lewis, CEO and founder of Generation Hope

  

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Achieving the Dream recently coordinated a summit on supporting students who are parents.  Leaders encouraged institutions to be flexible in working with student parents.  Dr. Karen A. Stout, president and CEO of ATD reminded attendees that institutions must make supporting student parents an urgent priority.  To that end, colleges and universities can connect prospective student parents with current students so they can see their pathway to success.  Additionally, institutions can engage student parents with both on and off-campus workforce so they gain work experience, skills and benefits.

 

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


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Market Watch reports this week on concerns that COVID will spread as college students return home for Thanksgiving break.  A member of the Texas Emergency Management Advisory Group estimates that “2 in 15 students will be heading back to their town or city as asymptomatic carriers of the virus.” Schools like Colby College are educating students about how to travel home safely while students at the University of Illinois are being advised to get two negative COVD tests four days apart before returning home. Health experts continue to remind students to wear masks and socially distance.
 
 
Author: Meg Foster
November 13, 2020

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 11/6/20

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 11/6/20

We hope you were able to join us for our Friday 5 Live when Dr. Tom Tobin shared thoughts and insights about the future of online learning as we kick off National Distance Learning Week.  We are now podcasting Friday 5 Lives so you can more easily share this resource with colleagues!

  

In celebration of National Distance Learning Week (November 9-13), please check out our free workshop on How to Prepare & Support Students for Online Learning.

 

1

National Distance Learning Week (November 9-13)
Supporting student success is at the heart of higher education, but never has it been more of a focus than during this time of pandemic.  As we celebrate National Distance Learning week, it’s important to reflect on the number of students who have become online learners this year: whether it’s their preferred way of learning or not.  From expanded online office hours, to sharing tips for success, to creative virtual student programming, institutions have responded in inventive and astounding ways to support their students.  As we anticipate the end of the fall semester, please know the team at Innovative Educators is cheering on our colleagues in universities and colleges across the nation.

 

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Research from the National Bureau of Economic Research published about student learning this spring semester demonstrates the power of active learning in online classes.  Researchers examined the use of polling software and explicit peer or group interaction including think-pair-share exercises and small group activities.  Online learning experts conclude that the strategies faculty have learned in shifting rapidly online will continue to shape class experiences, online and in person, in the future.

 

Among those community college students who work for pay, 85% have one job and 15% hold at least two jobs. - The Center for Community College Student Engagement (CCCSE)

  

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The Center for Community College Student Engagement (CCCSE) published research this week documenting that the “majority of students who attend community college also work simultaneously.”  Important research outcomes: part-time students are more likely to work more than 40 hours per week and 20% of working students are employed in their field of study. 62% of students indicated that work dictated their class schedule.  Administrators can collaborate with students to find ideal times to offer classes to maximize student participation.

 

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Inside Higher Ed reports this week on students’ mental health during the pandemic.  While nearly 60% of students indicated in a recent poll that they are anxious about COVID, the majority of those students have not used campus mental health support services. Only half of students surveyed felt their institution cared about them. Students are concerned about remaining engaged during online learning and maintaining friendships.

 

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


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Small colleges are finding that they’re able to respond more rapidly to COVID, reports NPR this week.  The shared sense of purpose found in smaller institutions, often founded on a set of moral principles, may make it easier to get students to comply with policies like mask usage and social distancing. Small colleges may also be more flexible in their ability to create safer and more controlled spaces for social distanced gatherings in classrooms and public areas.
 
 
Author: Meg Foster
November 6, 2020

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 10/30/20

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 10/30/20

We hope you were able to join us for our Friday 5 Live last week when our student panelists shared their fall semester experiences.  We look forward to November 6 when Dr. Tom Tobin will talk with us about the future of online learning as we kick off National Distance Learning Week.  We are now podcasting Friday 5 Lives so you can more easily share this resource with colleagues!

 

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The State of Higher Education This Week
COVID continues to dominate the higher education headlines this week.  The University of Wisconsin and the University of Nebraska will not play football this weekend as 12 members of the Wisconsin team have COVID.  The SUNY system announced this week that all of its students will have to test negative for COVID before returning home for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Bethune-Cookman shifted to online learning for the remainder of the semester this week; in the same week the school announced it was canceling all sports for the 2020-2021 year.  Administrators are encouraging residential students to maintain social distancing this Halloween weekend to prevent spread of COVID as infection rates rise across the country.

 

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The New York Times this week reports on continued cuts to budgets in higher education: one estimate totals the cost to colleges caused by the pandemic at $120 billion.  The pandemic accelerated a financial crisis that was fueled by years of cuts to state support, declining enrollments and student concerns with tuition increases.  Institutions have responded to shrinking budgets by “abolishing athletic programs, deferring campus construction and laying off administrative staff and cafeteria workers.”

 

“We have been in aggressive recession management for 12 years — probably more than 12 years.” Daniel Greenstein, chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education

  

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Faculty and advisers this fall semester are reporting higher numbers of students participating in online office hours.  At Florida Atlantic University, students are attending virtual advising appointments in higher than anticipated numbers.  Pre-pandemic, 16% of appointments were missed by students, but that rate has dropped to 8% since the institution shifted to online appointments.  Students value the flexibility of timing as many faculty and advising offices are offering evening office hours.  Expanding online opportunities for students to engage with faculty and support staff will likely be a trend that continues post pandemic.

 

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Several colleges have lowered tuition costs for the fall 2021 semester reports Education Dive this week. Private colleges are the most likely to decrease tuition prices because they can do so without losing much revenue. Seattle Pacific University reduced tuition by 25% and Gordon College did so by 33%.  The goal for many institutions cutting tuition is to incentivize student enrollment for new students and encourage current students to remain at colleges that may be predominantly online for fall 2020.  If institutions remain online for spring, industry experts say tuition cuts may continue.

 

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


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Inside Higher Ed reports this week on survey results indicating that students with disabilities are, “more likely to experience financial hardships, mental health challenges and food and housing insecurity as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.” In a survey conducted by the Student Experience in the Research University, or SERU, Consortium, students with disabilities reported feeling less supported by their institutions than students without disabilities.  Students who self-reported disabilities indicated they were two times as likely to have lost their off-campus employment than students without disabilities.  As institutions grapple with supporting students during COVID, such data can help direct response and support programming for at-risk students.
 
 
Author: Meg Foster
October 30, 2020

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 10/23/20

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 10/23/20

We hope you were able to join us for our Friday 5 Live when our student panelists from August updated us on their fall semester experiences.  We look forward to November 6 when Dr. Tom Tobin will talk with us about the future of online learning as we kick off National Distance Learning Week.  We are now podcasting Friday 5 Lives so you can more easily share this resource with colleagues! 

 

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Student Profile

Student Name and College: Ersa, Pace University

Major: Political Science & Economics Double Major - Class of 2022

Hometown: St. Louis, MO

What has been your biggest challenge this semester thus far?

For me, the largest challenge this semester has been staying motivated throughout the semester. It can be so difficult to keep myself motivated and make sure I get up everyday and join my zoom classes, especially when my “office space” is 2 feet away from my bed. It can sometimes feel very difficult to separate my work space from my “relaxing” space, which is why I try my best to go to different spaces around campus to study or do my classes! It helps get me motivated to get ready in the mornings, and gives me the opportunity to even see some new faces around campus!

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

Professors need to know that students are not working from home, students are wherever they can be to do the best that they can do during a global pandemic, international recession, and time of uncertainty. I just wish professors were more mindful of the language that they use regarding online schooling and the outside work that students have. Just because we are not physically in the classroom does not mean that students do not have just as much or even more work to do, including watching children, cooking dinner, or other responsibilities that might not be present during more traditional semesters. Avoid using language such as “since we don’t have anything better to do” or “because I know we are all bored at home” especially in relation to assigning more “busy work” or work not on the syllabus.

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

With a lot of resources at Pace only being offered online this semester, I have found that the most helpful resource has been my personal support system of peers. Being online can be an extremely  lonely experience, and I have found that having a close circle of people that are always available, even if it's just for a quick laugh on the days that my laptop doesn’t really want to work, can make all the difference. I could never imagine transitioning to virtual learning without my friends by my side — both virtually and in person. This access to a group of individuals with shared experiences, successes and frustrations helps keep me motivated, caffeinated, and always on my toes. Oh, and of course the local ice cream shop helps too!

 

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Colleges, major businesses and industry groups are challenging new rules announced two weeks ago that would “narrow the eligibility requirements for H-1B skilled worker visas” while increasing the wages employers would have to pay H-1B visa holders. Lawsuits have been filed in both the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by multiple universities.  Ken Cuccinelli, with the Department for Homeland Security, said he expects these new rules will cut petitions for H-1B visas by one-third.  There is great concern that these restrictions “will cause hospitals, universities, and employers of all shapes to lose their enormous investments in this skilled-workforce.”

 

$120 billion:  Amount of new federal support higher education leaders are requesting of top congressional leaders

  

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This week Education Dive examines the growing importance of online program managers (OPMs) to colleges and universities who are looking to expand online offerings and capture new enrollments. Schools signed 51 new contracts with OPMs in the last six months. Most OPM contracts involve revenue-sharing.  However, federal legislators are questioning whether these contracts are lawful.  Critics of OPMs attest they are increasing the price of education. Industry experts maintain that OPMs offer an attractive option for colleges needing to move online quickly.

 

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Institutions like the University of Virginia, University of North Carolina, and Georgetown University have announced pass/fail grade options for the fall semester. The Ohio State University is allowing pass/fail grades for general education courses this semester. Nationwide students are demanding institutions provide grading policies that mirror those established in the spring semester.  Students maintain that they face the same challenges this semester during pandemic learning: lack of technology, access to reliable Wi-Fi, and the demands of caring for younger siblings or children who are learning from home.

 

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


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EdSurge examines the undergraduate experience this fall semester amid increasing concerns about enrollment dips as well as students who are simply not participating in online learning experiences.  Trillia Hargrove, a student at City College of San Francisco, expressed the concerns she has for her classmates: “I worry that people are going to increasingly give up, not because of their own abilities or lack of motivation even. It’s the fact that they have all of these responsibilities [like watching kids who are at home with remote school] that are taking priority over their education.” Students report being exhausted from the experience of online learning while also being unsure of the future.  These trends are concerning for college administrators and faculty.
 
 
Author: Meg Foster
October 23, 2020