the weekly digest from NEJHE and other news from the New England Board of Higher Education
May 11, 2022

The digital revolution accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic has brought educators greater power to engage and “uplift” students, especially those from underserved communities, write Rick Dalton and Jon Reidel of the nonprofit college and career readiness group called CFES Brilliant Pathways. At the same time, however, the new paradigm has illuminated a serious risk that many of these students may be left even further behind if digital disparities that emerged during the pandemic aren’t addressed. More than half of educators say they have not received the training they need to teach remote classes, nearly a quarter of all students are still chronically absent, nearly half of all students are experiencing poor mental health and over one million businesses can’t find enough employees to run effectively, forcing thousands of them to close their doors permanently. Dalton and Reidel propose some solutions such as exposing underserved students to job shadowing and internships to helping them take advantage of available financial aid.

The UMass System Board of Trustees named Julie Chen as the next chancellor at the 18,000-student University of Massachusetts Lowell, succeeding Jacquie Moloney. ... Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) appointed Bridgewater State University Vice President for Outreach and Engagement Brenda Molife as the Boston institution’s new provost and vice president of academic affairs. ... Boston College appointed Cornell University Law School professor Odette Lienau as the inaugural Marianne D. Short Esq. Dean at Boston College Law School. ... 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: Julie Chen

U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Chair Sherrod Brown (D-OH) warned that student debt is preventing many Americans from “pursuing the American Dream,” making it difficult to purchase a home, start a business, get married or start a family. ... U.S. Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) introduced a bipartisan bill that would cut taxes for families who save for college and allow families to roll unused savings into retirement accounts. ... House Education and Labor Committee Chair Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA) and U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh visited Virginia's Thomas Nelson Community College and The Apprentice School to host a roundtable with students, higher ed professionals and local business leaders on investing in workforce development programs. ... Read the latest from NEJHE's DC Shuttle, featuring national news drawn from our friends at the New England Council.

Popular programs where RSP-eligible students enrolled in fall 2021 included homeland security, engineering technologies and health sciences ...

In its 64th year of enrollment, NEBHE's Tuition Break, the Regional Student Program (RSP), continued to enhance access and affordability for residents of the six New England states while helping to support enrollment at the region’s public colleges and universities. The 9,101 students enrolled in programs offered through the RSP in fall 2021 saved an estimated total of $64.8 million on their annual tuition bills. A full-time student saved an average of $8,600. Changes in RSP enrollment in fall 2021 compared favorably against changes in overall enrollment. Nationally, total enrollment at public and independent higher education institutions (HEIs) declined by 2.7% in fall 2021, following a 2.5% decrease in fall 2020, according to the National Student Clearinghouse’s (NSC) January 2022 report, Current Term Enrollment Estimates, Fall 2021. Total RSP enrollment in fall 2021 decreased by only 0.4%, and RSP enrollment increased at half of the participating institutions.
News Around NEBHE
NEBHE on NACAC Podcast ...
New Tuition Break Director Discusses Next Generation of Enrollment Management Pros
The most recent episode of the College Admissions Decoded podcast, produced by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), featured Jonathan Gowin, the new director of NEBHE’s Tuition Break, Regional Student Program. Gowin spoke with NACAC CEO and former NEBHE delegate (and occasional-NEJHE author) Angel Pérez. They discussed the needs of the next generation in the higher education workplace, from living their values, finding balance and pursuing self-actualization. Gowin, a former admissions counselor at Trinity College and other institutions, joined NEBHE recently to helm the Tuition Break program and develop additional enrollment management initiatives.

We seek two college students (juniors, seniors or grad students) to work and learn at NEBHE ... one as a Communications Intern and one as a Journalism Intern. Responsibilities will include drafting content posted to the NEBHE website, writing news releases, assisting with soliciting and editing commentary by staff and outside contributors to The New England Journal of Higher Education (NEJHE), creating and editing video clips and helping with social media and email communications. Students with federal work-study funds preferred.
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."
ICYMI, from The New England Journal of Higher Education ...

In 1989, Gilda A. Barabino, a biochemist and chemical engineer by training, was a new faculty member at Northeastern University and a mentor in the NEBHE Role Model Network for Underrepresented Students. Today, with Black faculty members still accounting for only 6% of all full-time faculty, Barabino is spreading her message of success as president of Olin College of Engineering. "I know from personal experience that no matter how excellent a department’s faculty and support staff may be, it is hard for students of color to imagine a future in which they can succeed without the distinct modeling and mentorship made possible from professors and counselors who look like them and who have had many of the same life experiences," she writes. She explains how we must ensure "we are moving beyond words and demonstrations and taking real action to ensure that equity, diversity and opportunity exists and benefits young people of color—not only within our quads, residence halls and classrooms—but in the larger world."

Pictured: Gilda Barabino on her first day as president of Olin College of Engineering with a student, both wearing masks to fight the spread of Covid.

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. ... Until students in Wellesley College’s “Dante’s Divine Comedy” class started working on their Wikipedia articles, little could be learned about the women Dante referenced. Now, it's a robust reference. ... 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.
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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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