the weekly digest from NEJHE and other news from the New England Board of Higher Education
June 23, 2021

Last year, after the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and many others, people seemed to be opening their eyes to the everyday reality and fears of Black America. But just one year later, pundits and some state lawmakers have delared war on so-called Critical Race Theory, even proposing bans on teaching history as it is commonly accepted and known to be true. Many have used the term “divisive teaching” to disparage teaching from a culturally relevant and historically accurate account of race and racism in the U.S. in favor of the inherently white-centric teachings that have been established as the common educational standard. "We cannot deny that woven into the narrative of U.S history is the history of systemic racism and other oppressions," writes Sara Jean-Francois, assistant director of NEBHE’s Tuition Break program, who has researched race-conscious campuses and recently earned her master’s degree from Brandeis University's Heller School for Social Policy and Management. "If states are allowed to ban an entire body of research, theories and the models and pedagogy that come from this work (already left out of everyday teachings), how," she asks, "can the U.S. claim we learned anything about 'antiracism' in the past year?"

Goddard College, the Vermont institution known for progressive education, named licensed clinical psychologist Dan Hocoy as its next president. ... Maine Maritime Academy President William J. Brennan announced he will retire in May 2022, after 12 years of service to the public institution in Castine, Maine. ... Sacred Heart University named Karen Daley to be the new dean of its College of Nursing. ... 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: Dan Hocoy

A group of Democratic lawmakers introduced legislation that would double the Pell Grant over the next five years and extend eligibility to undocumented students. Among other developments on Capitol Hill, a bill authorizing the Energy Department’s Office of Science would provide funding for fighting climate change, including research on energy storage, bioenergy technologies, fusion and carbon removal. The bill also provides for research in nanoscience, quantum computing and artificial intelligence. ... And Joe Manchin (D-WV) could have another decisive vote on President Biden’s proposal to increase federal education funding by 40%. ... Read the latest from NEJHE's DC Shuttle, featuring national news drawn from our friends at the New England Council.

From time to time, NEJHE revives the presentation of facts and figures called Data Connection that we had published quarterly for nearly 20 years in the print editions of The New England Journal of Higher Education, formerly known as Connection. Among the recent data points: Women surged from 24% of medical students nationwide in 1978 to 51% in 2019. But in the same period, the Black male share of medical students shrank from 3.1% to 2.9%.
Our Webinars
News Around NEBHE

Peter Smith, the Orkand Chair and Professor of Innovative Practices in Higher Education at the University of Maryland Global Campus, will keynote the upcoming convening of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement's (NC-SARA) first institutional conference, "In The Field" series. The event will also feature expert panels about quality in distance education.

For those that are new to SARA, an "In The Field" pre-conference session on Monday, July 19 will provide an overview of state authorization, information about how SARA works, institutional requirements for maintaining SARA participation, and resources available to institutions.

To subscribe to The Monthly Policy Dispatch, click here or contact NEBHE Associate Director of Policy Research and Analysis Stephanie Murphy at
Tracking Coronavirus: A Deep Dive
NEBHE has been deep-diving on topics related to New England institutions' response to COVID-19 (see our updated COVID-19 response page here). We will publish periodic briefs on topics including: plans for spring 2021, federal actions that affect higher education, vaccination distribution, mental health and planning for fall 2021. Interested in a topic we haven't covered? Reach out to Charlotte Peyser at
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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