weekly digest and other news from the New England Board of Higher Education
May 20, 2020
The desire to reopen colleges, shared across the country, is fraught with risks, writes education consultant, author and former Southern Vermont College President Karen Gross. "For colleges that have decided they are reopening in fall 2020 with in-person classes and residential life, risk management is a task that moves front and center," she notes. The overwhelming risk, in addition to students not enrolling and faculty and staff not appearing due to concerns of risk, is death. Who wants to be the "Reopener" in which there is an on-campus death? "That is not a risk I would take were I a president," writes Gross. "But," she adds, "if the risk is undertaken, risk management must be implemented in full force."
"There needs to be a plan in the event of a virus outbreak during the semester that puts students, faculty, staff and administrations at risk of developing illnesses."
Following up on their earlier NEJHE analysis of the most disastrous job loss in U.S. history, which is still unfolding, Drexel University economists Neeta Fogg and Paul Harrington write that Americans with lower levels of education have borne a disproportionate share of the costs of COVID-19-related shutdowns.The April 2020 unemployment rate of adults without a high school diploma was over 21%; 2.5 times higher than the 8.3% unemployment rate among their counterparts with a bachelor’s or higher college degree, write the former Northeastern University economists. The COVID-19 shutdowns have also had outsized impacts on youth. Over the mid-March to mid-April period, employment fell by 31% among teens (ages 16-19) and 25% among young adults between 20- and 24-years-old, compared with 13% among those 25 and older.
"These shutdowns have further reduced living standards among those who were already at the bottom of the economic strata; crushing the livelihoods of those among us who are most in need of jobs and incomes."
More from The New England Journal of Higher Education
Drexel University economists Neeta Fogg and Paul Harrington document the worst monthly job report in American history. Industries with large shares of employment in "college labor market" occupations lost about 3.7 million jobs between mid-March and mid-April, representing 6% of their pre-lockdown employment level, compared with 16.4 million jobs or 21% of pre-lockdown employment in production, clerical and service occupations, and 7.7 million jobs, or 47% in leisure and hospitality.
Which books being written right now with COVID-19 as a backdrop will one day be classics? Keisha Venson Sheedy, an innovation analyst at Southern New Hampshire University who is pursuing a Certificate in Creative Placemaking at the Institute of Art and Design at New England College, explores contemporary ways to frame and illustrate the humanities beyond distant classics in literature, philosophy and art.
NEJHE is featuring practitioner perspectives on Open Educational Resources (OER) in pursuit of NEBHE's priority focus on cost-saving collaborations. This perspective features NEBHE Fellow for Open Education 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.
News Around NEBHE
New England is home to a large number of fast-growing, high-skill industries with jobs that require a postsecondary credential. Effective models of education and training need to be created to meet labor market demands, overcome employer-reported skills shortages and satisfy workers’ desire for additional training. Consequently, the region’s businesses need to make upskilling programs available to employees to improve skills matching, retention and work productivity. The successful implementation of upskilling programs will require greater collaboration and alignment between New England’s educators and employers.
In a webinar sponsored by NEBHE, two college admissions officers give school counselors, parents and prospective students insight into what’s happening on their campuses, and why it’s taking some time to provide answers in this year of COVID-19.
Total enrollment in the RSP in 2019-20 was 9,257, up 14% over 2018-19. Of the 81 participating public colleges and universities, 46% reported enrollment increases. About 64% of students were enrolled in four-year undergraduate programs, 28% in community college programs and 7% in graduate programs.
NEJHE's Comings and Goings highlights key appointments and job changes in New England higher education and beyond.
David Levinson
Tracking Coronavirus
NEBHE's Tracking Coronavirus web resource features an easy-to-use visual showing institutions' COVID-19 responses including current status of campus closures and shifts to online operations, as well as i nfo on refund strategies for students' room and board charges and commencement statuses. The page also features: COVID-19 News; Governmental Responses, Guidance & Advocacy; Distance Education Resources & Compliance; Institutional Finance Information; and Admissions and Enrollment Information. Please s hare updates from your institution at: cpeyser@nebhe.org .
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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