the weekly digest from NEJHE and other news from the New England Board of Higher Education
June 29, 2022
Have a Safe and Happy Independence Day!
Beyond Sensational Anecdotes, Public Needs to Understand Student Debt and Forgiveness Proposals

Even forgiving all $1.5 trillion of outstanding student debt will not lower the cost to attend college, improve access or build a stronger pipeline of graduates for the workforce the way an increase in Pell Grants would, writes Todd J. Leach, the chancellor emeritus of the University System of New Hampshire and former chair of NEBHE. Regardless of the ultimate decisions on debt forgiveness, he writes, we should look for ways to minimize student debt to begin with, not only increasing Pell Grant awards, but also developing more low-cost delivery options (including online, community college transfer pathways and early college options), encouraging institutions to continuously work to find efficiencies and increasing accountability for institutions that use deceptive practices to target vulnerable students.

Emmanuel College selected chemist Mary K. Boyd, who is currently provost of Georgia's Berry College, to be the 13th president of the Catholic college in Boston's Fenway section. ... Bates College President Clayton Spencer announced she will leave the Maine liberal arts college in June 2023, after 11 years in charge. ... Western Connecticut State University President tapped Paul Beran, former CEO of the South Dakota Board of Regents for Public Universities, to serve as interim president of Western, where President John Clark announced he is stepping down after claims of financial mismanagement. ... Maria Ivanova, director of the Center for Governance and Sustainability at the University of Massachusetts Boston's John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, was named the next director of Northeastern University's School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs. ... 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: Mary K. Boyd

U.S. House appropriators released a draft fiscal year 2023 Labor-HHS-Education spending bill that would allocate $242.1 billion in discretionary funding, including a $500 Pell Grant increase to a maximum of $7,395. ... Read the latest from NEJHE's DC Shuttle, featuring national news drawn from our friends at the New England Council.
Some Perspectives from NEJHE and Others on Title IX Changes ...
Last week marked the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the U.S. law prohibiting sex discrimination in education programs that receive federal money. The U.S. Department of Education used the anniversary to propose new regulations to replace rules issued during the Trump administration that were seen to protect students accused of sexual misconduct at the expense of victims.

Some NEJHE coverage of Title IX before the latest Ed Dept proposals ...

News Around NEBHE

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.

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
ICYMI from The New England Journal of Higher Education ...

As the public’s interest in vaccines and therapeutics skyrocketed, a Boston University student in Benjamin Wolozin’s Systems Pharmacology class worked to overhaul an article on reverse pharmacology, moving it from what’s known on Wikipedia as a "stub"—a short, incomplete article—to a comprehensive description of hypothesis-driven drug discovery. ... Student editors in Mary Mahoney’s History of Medicine class at Trinity College improved a number of medical articles, including those on pediatrics, telehealth, pregnancy and Mary Mallon (better known as Typhoid Mary). In the handful of months since students improved these articles, they’ve been viewed more than 932,000 times. ... LiAnna Davis, chief programs officer at Wiki Education, offers these and other New England examples of how the small nonprofit's Wikipedia Student Program supports college and university faculty who want to assign their students to write Wikipedia articles as part of their coursework. It not only improves Wikipedia’s coverage of their disciplines, but also provides digital media literacy skills at a time when misinformation and disinformation cast doubt on the reliability of news sources.

NEJHE Executive Editor John O. Harney asks talent guru Michelle Weise about her insights on connecting postsecondary education to the world of work. Weise, now vice chancellor of strategy and innovation at National University System, notes that "real-world human problem-solving is transdisciplinary by nature, tapping into varied skills and knowledge—and yet, our postsecondary system remains stubbornly stovepiped." She says students must be taught to connect one domain of knowledge to another through what is known as "far transfer." She adds that "the world will need more agile and resilient thinkers with a serious handle on various technologies and digital literacies. Those workers will need both human and technical skills. With stronger problem-based models, it'll be easier for education providers to stay ahead of the curve and build in new and emerging skill sets in data analytics, blockchain, web development or digital marketing that students will need in order to be successful in the job market."

Pictured: Michelle Weise
Tidbits from the NEJHE Beat ...

Vermont Law School Plans to Expand Its Offerings, Change Name to Vermont Law & Graduate School

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."
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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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