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Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 4/17/20

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 4/17/20


Believe you can and you’re halfway there.

Theodore Roosevelt

Our Next Friday 5 Live - Helping Students Finish The Semester Successfully   

Please join us April 24 for our next Friday 5 Live at 12:00 Eastern.  Dr. Denise Swett will share recommendations and advice for getting our students through the spring term successfully and crafting retention efforts. 
Register here to join us on April 24 for our next Friday 5 Live!

1

Updates on COVID-19 and Higher Education

COVID-19 and its impact on higher education continue to be the focus of higher education news sources.  This week, attention turned to the CARES Act, the continued discussion of grading policy changes, and reports that institutions like Boston University are making plans for a Fall 2020 start without students on campus.  WCET has provided additional updates this week on relevant federal policy changes.  The Chronicle continues its extensive reporting this week as well as Inside Higher Ed offering up-to-date reporting.

2

COVID-19 Stimulus Money for Higher Education

Institutions are scrambling to address demands for refunds from students forced off campus by COVID related closures, reports Inside Higher Ed this week.  Many institutions began to provide partial refund plans in the weeks after closing. Students at the University of Minnesota petitioned their Board of Regents for refunds while students in Arizona have filed a class action lawsuit demanding partial repayment of room and board and student fees. Universities are reporting losses in the millions of dollars on student refunds: Clemson estimates it will refund $15 million, and the University of Maine reports it has paid out $12.8 million to students in room and board refunds.

3

Uncertainty Regarding DACA Students’ Eligibility for Stimulus Relief

DACA students are not eligible for federal financial aid, but does that mean they are also ineligible for relief from the CARES Act? This is the question many institutions are grappling with as they look to how they can distribute CARES Act monies.  Policy experts recommend institutions think creatively about how they can provide resources to impacted students like contracting with providers to directly secure childcare or providing technology.

4

Job Training Programs Halted

The Chronicle reports this week on job training programs halted by COVID-19 closures and the impact of those closures on low-income students.  Students in high demand fields like nursing and welding have had to stop in-person training, and those in the final stages of work-based training are unsure of their future employment or the length of time it will now take them to finish their program. Many states are adjusting licensure requirements in programs like nursing by shifting clinical hours online via simulation versus direct patient care. Experts worry long delays in program completion will result in students dropping out - a result that would be damaging to the students and their local economies.

“Students who are enrolled in our career and technical programs and allied health programs are getting prepared to enter high-demand fields that pay family-sustaining wages. The delay in their ability to complete their education is keeping many of them in poverty.” Columbia Basin College’s president, Rebekah S. Woods.

5

Presidential Searches in the Midst of Pandemic

Inside Higher Ed examines how COVID-19 is influencing presidential searches and retirements.  Boards are asking presidents to postpone planned retirement rather than have leadership changes take place during this unsettled time.  Those institutions that are moving ahead with planned searches are shifting interviews to online formats. “Some colleges have informed candidates that they are the top choice for jobs, but they are waiting to present a final offer until the candidates are able to travel to campus.”

Author: Meg Foster
April 17, 2020

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 4/10/20

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 4/10/20


Nothing is impossible. The word itself says "I'm possible!

Audrey Hepburn

We’re trying something new with Friday 5 Live!  We kicked off our new live event today with a discussion about working from home with Dr. Ghazala Hashmi. If you missed it, you can still register for this event and receive the recording. Please join us on April 24 for our next Friday 5 Live. More information coming soon.

1

Updates on COVID-19 and Higher Education

COVID-19 continues to shape the semester as institutions navigate how to offer commencement virtually, consider plans for a fall semester that might start online, and develop creative approaches to the traditional spring admitted student programs.  WCET has provided additional updates this week on relevant federal policy changes.  Education Dive is continuing to update its resources on COVID-19’s impact on our field. The Chronicle continues its extensive reporting this week as well as Inside Higher Ed who offers up-to-date reporting.

2

Institutions Developing Refund Plans

Institutions are scrambling to address demands for refunds from students forced off campus by COVID related closures, reports Inside Higher Ed this week.  Many institutions began to provide partial refund plans in the weeks after closing. Students at the University of Minnesota petitioned their Board of Regents for refunds while students in Arizona have filed a class action lawsuit demanding partial repayment of room and board and student fees. Universities are reporting losses in the millions of dollars on student refunds: Clemson estimates it will refund $15 million, and the University of Maine reports it has paid out $12.8 million to students in room and board refunds.

3

Addressing Online Learning for Students & Institutions With Limited Resources

The Chronicle of Higher Education examines how institutions and students with limited resources are making the abrupt transition to online learning.  “While few colleges have the resources to effectively handle the large-scale shift to remote learning forced by COVID-19, rural, small, and cash-strapped institutions are getting by on a shoestring.” The Chronicle reports on institutions which have one or two instructional designers with  campus populations of over 9,000 students and other institutions that are mailing students coursework who do not have computers or access to wifi.

4

Institutions Examining Grading Policies in Light of COVID-19 Closures

The Hechinger Report examines shifts in institutions’ grading policies following the move to online learning.    Schools are moving cautiously as considerations must be taken for transfer credit (courses with grades of “pass” often do not transfer) and competitive professional or graduate programs which look for letter grades in completed courses.  Many institutions and entire systems (the Virginia Community College, for example) are setting grades to pass/fail for the spring semester with the option for students to receive a letter grade. Columbia, Stanford, Dartmouth and MIT, have opted to only award grades of pass or fail.  With 4 out of 10 students transferring each year, and often unable to transfer 40% of their completed coursework, the students with the most to lose in the shift to pass/fail grades will be transfer students.

5

Supporting Online Learners

Inside Higher Ed this week examines what student affairs and academic support look like “ when most students are no longer on campuses.” The article recommends seven actions institutions might consider in the coming weeks to support student learners including: using LMS data as an early alert, implementing a coaching program, creating opportunities for staff-initiated student conversations, asking questions like what technologies “exist that help student affairs and academic support staff to gather students together to talk about how they are doing.” Additional recommendations include focusing efforts on those students most at risk and connecting with students outside of traditional business hours.

Author: Meg Foster
April 10, 2020

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 4/3/20

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 4/3/20


Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

– Arthur Ashe

We invite you to join us Friday, April 10 for our first ever Live Friday 5!  Dr. Ghazala Hashmi will share her insights and advice on working from home. Please join us from 12:00-12:30PM (Eastern) by registering here. We look forward to having you join us live next week.

1

Updates on Covid-19 and Higher Education

As the week has unfolded, we see the continued impact of Covid-19 on institutions of higher education as schools look to shift online for summer and potentially fall semesters, and consider the financial ramifications.  WCET has an updated website which includes relevant policy changes.  Education Dive is continuing to update its resources on Covid-19’s impact on our field. The Chronicle continues its extensive reporting this week as well as Inside Higher Ed who is providing up-to-date reporting.

2

Covid-19 Impacting State Funding of Colleges & Universities

This week Education Dive examines the abrupt impact of Covid-19 on state funding of higher education.  At the beginning of March, experts anticipated modest increases to budgets and potentially new efforts to make tuition free for more students.  However, as the nation shifts towards a potential recession and state tax revenues decline, states will have fewer dollars to fund higher education programming.  Experts caution that it is too soon to fully understand the impact to college budgets.

3

Looking Towards Fall Semester

Inside Higher Ed reports this week on the question on many minds: will the fall semester be online, too, or will life have returned to “normal” by then?  Multiple universities shared the concerns and considerations as they ponder plans for the fall 2020 semester. “Colleges may not end up teaching virtually this fall.  But one way or the other, they need to prepare for a future "where we need at the drop of a hat to switch modalities," be it from another pandemic (or one that recurs) or something else” shared Flower Darby of Northern Arizona University.

4

Zoombombing Impacting Online Courses

Faculty and students are reporting cases of Zoombombing: live classes being held in the web conferencing platform Zoom being hacked.  Classes are being disrupted by disturbing images or crude submissions to the chat. The "bombs" typically “take the form of racist vitriol or pornographic content shared with the group by an unwelcome user.”  Insider Higher Ed reports this week on this disturbing trend. Teaching or hosting student meetings in Zoom? Refer to these helpful directions to better secure your Zoom sessions.

8.4 million: Total number of Zoom-meeting minutes the University of Texas at Austin hosted on March 31. 252,720: Number of unique participants. (Source: Chronicle of Higher Education)

5

Students Eager to Return to Brick and Mortar Classrooms

The Chronicle reports this week on the potential impacts of Covid-19 related closures on Title IX hearings.  Officials must now figure out, “what to do about their open sexual-assault investigations.” There are concerns that shifting hearings online and school closings will delay the process and thus prolong trauma for students who have already been through traumatic experiences .  In addition, Title IX officers are advised that they might see an increase in virtual harassment issues.

Author: Meg Foster
April 3, 2020

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 3/27/20

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 3/27/20


“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”

– Jimmy Dean

Please know we are thinking of you as you continue to adjust to working, helping students, and living during the Covid-19 pandemic. We are focused on providing resources to support our faculty, staff and students during this time.

1

Updates on Covid-19 and Higher Education

As the week has unfolded, we see the continued shifts as institutions examine pass/fail grading for the spring semester and consider partial reimbursement for room and board.  Education Dive is continuing to update its resources on Covid-19’s impact on our field. The Chronicle continues its extensive reporting this week as well as Inside Higher Ed who is providing up-to-date reporting.

2

How Our Students Are Coping

The Hechinger Report discusses this week the impact of school closings on college students across the nation.  In addition to handling the rapid transition to learning online, students are grappling with the uncertainty of what the future will bring.  Research projects have been interrupted, job fairs and internships as well as other critical job networking activities have been called off.

3

Privacy Concerns Amid Online Pivot

Inside Higher Ed reports this week on privacy-related concerns as institutions rapidly transition to online learning. A first point of concern for privacy experts is ensuring technology platforms do not violate the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Metadata is another area of concern. If institutions are using new technology resources to address the shift online, they need to make sure new contracts are compliant and protect student privacy under the law.

4

Covid-19 and College Admissions

There was much coverage this week across news sources about Covid-19’s impact on college admissions. The Chronicle reports this week on a survey by  Art & Science Group. The survey of prospective college students found that “one in six high-school seniors who expected to attend a four-year college full time now think that they will choose a different path this fall.” The majority of students surveyed cited concerns about the ability to attend a first-choice college and reported that a campus “closer to home” was now a more realistic option for them.  Education Dive shares that more institutions are considering test-optional admissions processes alleviating the burden of SAT and ACT testing during the coronavirus pandemic .


“While we know there is always flux this time of year as students are getting their admissions notifications, it surprised us that more weren’t expecting to enroll at their first choice.” - Craig Goebel, principle in the Art & Science Group

5

Implications for Title IX Hearings

The Chronicle reports this week on the potential impacts of Covid-19 related closures on Title IX hearings.  Officials must now figure out, “what to do about their open sexual-assault investigations.” There are concerns that shifting hearings online and school closings will delay the process and thus prolong trauma for students who have already been through traumatic experiences .  In addition, Title IX officers are advised that they might see an increase in virtual harassment issues.

Author: Meg Foster
March 27, 2020

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 3/20/20

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 3/20/20


“Every noble work is at first impossible.”

- Thomas Carlyle

Please know we are thinking of you all as you move into a space of great uncertainty -shifting classes online, supporting students who are swiftly moving out of residence halls, suddenly caring for your own children who are home from college or K-12 schools.  We are here to support you as you do an amazing job holding it all together. We hope in the midst of the uncertainty, you’re able to carve out a space to care for yourself so you can continue to do your work of caring for others.

1

Updates on Covid-19 and Higher Education

As the week has unfolded, we see more institutions moving their learning online and cancelling or delaying major events like graduation. The Chronicle continues its extensive reporting including institutions adopting pass/fail grades in response to Covid-19 and the financial impact to higher education. Inside Higher Ed is also providing up-to-date reporting and shares that some colleges are dropping SAT & ACT requirements in light of testing cancellations due to Covid-19.   WCET has links to all of the major federal resources regarding Covid-19 response as well as recommendations for shifting to online learning.    


“I implore each of our students to comply with this directive.  You can do your part to help de-densify the campus and make it safer.” Cornell’s President, Ms. Marsha Pollack, to students on their decision to shift to online learning and close campus.

2

Covid-19 Impacts on College Admissions

Much discussion this week in various news sources about how Covid-19 will impact both the undergraduate and graduate admissions processes.  Inside Higher Ed reports on an EAB survey of admissions professionals.  87% “worry that future visits to the campus by potential students will decline” with 67% reporting they will shift to virtual admissions events. One of the biggest concerns of admissions officials is the impact of travel restrictions on international enrollments.

3

HBCUs Respond to Coronavirus

Diverse Issues in Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed this week report on the concern that the coronavirus crisis poses a very significant threat and may impact the long-term survival of 

Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).  HBCUs – and other minority serving institutions (MSIs) – are working to keep underrepresented students safe on tight budgets. Leaders of HBCUs are strongly advocating for additional federal funding for their institutions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

4

What If High School Seniors Didn’t Complete College Applications?

The Hechinger Report this week shares about an initiative in Idaho where eligible high school seniors are admitted to all four year institutions and community colleges in the state -- without completing any applications.  One goal is to have more students pursue higher education while also keeping more college-going high school graduates in Idaho. Now other states like Illinois are considering adopting similar hybrid options and South Dakota has already followed suit.

5

Educating the Digital Native

Faculty Focus this week examines educating with technology, particularly for our population of digital natives. The author recommends the use of gamification in learning environments and encourages faculty to consider how technology can create opportunities for interaction.  Research shows students retain information better if they develop an emotional connection to material, so for digital natives, viewing film adaptations of Shakespeare can provide a powerful means for emotionally connecting to material.

Author: Meg Foster
March 20, 2020

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 3/13/20

Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 3/13/20


As long as you give it a little bit of time, soap will do its job.

The Palli Thoradarson

1

Updates on Covid-19 and Higher Education

Covid-19 responses and updates continue to fill our news feeds this week as institutions address study abroad programs, and colleges and universities begin shifting classes online.  The Chronicle offers guidance on quickly moving classes online and continues to update on Covid-19’s impact on colleges and universities.  WCET also provides resources for addressing Covid-19.  NPR reports this week on 6 ways universities are responding to Covid-19 including supporting international students.

2

Department of Education Releases Covid-19 Guidance

The Department of Education offers guidance regarding Federal Financial Aid compliance.  Specifically, recommendations cover students who are unable to finish or start a scheduled study abroad due to coronavirus and students who cannot attend class due to quarantine or illness.  Additional guidance addresses students who fall below 12 credit hour minimum due to internship or class cancellation as a result of Covid-19. The Department of Education provides options and flexibility with regards to moving education online including: approval to offer distance education on a temporary basis, permitting accrediting agencies to wave distance education review requirements andre-examining residential requirements.

3

Tips and Recommendations from NYU-Shanghai

NYU-Shanghai’s campus was one of the first world-wide to shift classes online in response to Covid-19.  Faculty are sharing resources they have found particularly helpful and also challenges they’re facing. Recommendations include investigating using Slack for asynchronous discussions and OBS to record lectures.

4

NCAA and the Coronavirus

As the Ivy League announced this week it has cancelled its basketball tournament, much attention is being focused on the NCAA and its response to the coronavirus. With March Madness beginning, teams competing in the NCAA Division III men’s first and second round games played with no fans present as Johns Hopkins prohibited fan attendance and opted to refund tickets.  Tournament play occurs at multiple venues across the nation creating a complicated situation for the NCAA to address. It has responded by creating a six member coronavirus advisory panel which will provide recommendations based on public health.

5

Conference Cancellations Due to Coronavirus

Inside Higher Ed this week takes a look at the growing number of conferences cancelled due to concern about the spread of coronavirus.  In the last week, the American Council on Education, the American Association of Community Colleges, and the American Educational Research Association have all announced conference cancellations.  Inside Higher Ed and The Chronicle have shared opinion pieces about the implications of cancelling conferences and whether virtual options, moving conferences online and the like, create a comparable professional development opportunity.

Author: Meg Foster
March 13, 2020