the weekly digest from NEJHE and other news from the New England Board of Higher Education
June 22, 2022

All students deserve unfettered access to high-quality learning materials on the first day of class. Join NEBHE in this exciting, one-day leadership summit, focused on highlighting the value of investing in open educational resources (OER) in postsecondary education. The summit will provide attendees with the opportunity to hear from a regional student panel on how OER has had a positive impact on their academic success and also from regional practitioners about what support is necessary to develop a sustainable Open Education program. Attendees will walk away with an action plan tailored to their specific institutional, system or legislative roles and goals. Open Education isn't just about affordability. It's also about rectifying the inequities historically woven into the fabric of postsecondary learning materials. Come learn how you can support more equitable learning opportunities for all students. Most portions of this summit will be available via Zoom or fully in person at the MIT Endicott House, 80 Haven St., Dedham, Mass. This event is intended for individuals in roles of leadership, including faculty department chairs.
ICYMI from The New England Journal of Higher Education ... Some Practitioner Perspectives on Open Educational Resources (OER) ...

NEJHE's Practitioner Perspectives series on OER features Robin DeRosa on how a post-Covid-19 university could incorporate food security and other basic needs as integral to a learner’s academic success. When Covid-19 thrust many students "from chronic precarity to immediate emergency," writes DeRosa, the director of the Open Learning & Teaching Collaborative at New Hampshire's Plymouth State University, "faculty might have worried about how students would fare with complicated content delivered over Zoom, but students were worried that they would starve, become homeless or have to witness their families fall into even more dire poverty."

NEJHE's Practitioner Perspectives series on OER features NEBHE Fellow Lindsey Gumb's interview with adjunct professor Heather Miceli on how OER not only saves students money but also improves hands-on learning. Among other things, Miceli notes that replacing exams with topic reflections allowed her students to investigate their personal connections to each topic discussed in her course. Moreover, Miceli's students created websites that can be continuously updated and expanded by students enrolled in subsequent semesters. "My students are very receptive to the idea that they design content for their websites for future students just like them—that this work is meaningful outside their learning and beyond our classroom walls."

Pictured: Heather Miceli
Tidbits from the NEJHE Beat ...

Brief items from the "NEJHE Beat"—that unique constellation of issues connected to higher education and also to social justice, economic and workforce development, regional cooperation, quality of life, academic research, workplaces and other topics that together say "NEJHE."

President Joe Biden appointed Lynn Malerba, chief of the Mohegan Tribe, as treasurer of the United States, the first Native American to hold the position. Malerba earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Connecticut’s University of Saint Joseph (USJ) in 1983 (then called Saint Joseph College), received USJ’s Distinguished Alumni Nightingale Health Science Award in 2017 and served on USJ’s Board of Trustees from 2010 to 2013 and from 2015 to 2017. As U.S. treasurer, Malerba's signature will appear on the nation's currency. ... Greenfield Community College selected Michelle Schutt, currently vice president of community and learner services at the College of Southern Idaho (that state’s first Hispanic serving institution) to be the next president of the western Massachusetts community college. ... See more on these and other changes in NEJHE's Comings and Goings tally of new appointments in New England higher ed and beyond.

Pictured: Lynn Malerba,

U.S. Sen. Angus King (I-ME) announced he is cosponsoring the Civics Democracy Act that would authorize federal grants for educators, nonprofits and others to “improve [and] strengthen civics education from early childhood to higher education” while diversifying the “civics education workforce.” ... Republican members of Congress sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona questioning the Department of Education’s legal authority to cancel student loans and to request an “explanation of the authorities used to extend student loan repayment freezes.” ... Read the latest from NEJHE's DC Shuttle, featuring national news drawn from our friends at the New England Council.
Our Webinars

Earlier this month, NEBHE convened a webinar on the changing world of learning and credentials. For centuries, colleges and universities sat atop the hierarchy of credentialing systems.Traditional degrees were the “coin of the realm.” But the world of learning and credentials is being transformed, accelerated by the global pandemic. Non-institutional providers are rapidly expanding. Learners and employers seek knowledge, skills and credentials aligned with the economy and workforce. Flexible, short-term, skills-focused and technology-supported learning alternatives continue to expand. And learners are voting with their feet. What does all this mean for traditional postsecondary degree providers? To learn more, view the video of the June 8 webinar.
News Around NEBHE

Higher education leaders and institutions must use the present window of opportunities to re-envision the future of postsecondary learning enterprises, given multiple forces accelerated by the pandemic, including: digital transformation, hybrid work and learning, growth of educational technologies and the expansion of non-degree credentials and non-institutional providers, according to a new brief by NEBHE President and CEO Michael K. Thomas published by the TIAA Institute. The brief, NGDLI and strategic governance: An action framework for boards and senior higher education leaders, is the latest part of the Next-Gen Digital Learning Infrastructure (NGDLI) project, undertaken by NEBHE with the support of the TIAA Institute. The NGDLI project aims to build understanding of the digital future of the postsecondary learning enterprise and strengthen strategic governance by institutional executives, governing boards and policy leaders. Among strategies, Thomas urges that actions be driven by a commitment to keeping students’ needs first, building resilience in anticipation of future disruptions and a compelling institutional vision for the future of learning.

Pictured: Michael K. Thomas
NEJHE NewsBlast is a summary of NEJHE content and other news around NEBHE prepared weekly by NEJHE Executive Editor John O. Harney and emailed every Wednesday to opinion leaders and practitioners. When responding to NEJHE content, please make sure that your remarks are relevant, courteous and engaging. Individuals are responsible for their comments, which do not represent the opinions of the New England Board of Higher Education. We urge commenters to briefly note their occupational or other interest in the topic at hand. Please refrain from offensive language, personal attacks and distasteful comments or they may be deleted. Comments may not appear immediately. Thank you for staying engaged.
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