the weekly digest from NEJHE and other news from the New England Board of Higher Education
Have a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving!
Nov. 25, 2020
If this were a normal year, the Thanksgiving holiday would mean family gatherings, big high school football games and spirited homecomings among college students. But this is not a normal year, and many worry these get-togethers could become superspreader events. Part of the reason students disobey COVID-19 rules is that their real needs for in-person connectivity aren't being met during the pandemic, writes education consultant and former Southern Vermont College President Karen Gross. Many students gather and party in ways that violate the COVID-19 protective measures (mask wearing, social distancing, avoiding large indoor congregations). Whether on or off campus, these gatherings have led to: quarantines; stoppage of athletic events; elimination of on-campus in-person learning; changes in scheduling to eradicate vacations or campus departures; and students contracting COVID.
More 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.

“Don’t attend virtual classes in bed! Try working at a table or desk for effective productivity. Working in your bed allows you to be too comfortable and can cause you to fall asleep or lose focus.” Those were among the pieces of advice from college students who were forced into remote learning this past spring by COVID-19. Persistence Plus, the Cambridge, Mass.-based outfit known for "nudges" and other behavioral methods to overcome the psychological barriers to student success, asked 25,000 students from both two- and four-year institutions about their experiences with remote learning. Ross E. O’Hara, director of behavioral science and education at Persistence Plus, explains.

The total number of enrolled international students at New England colleges and universities increased by 2% at all academic levels in academic year 2019-20, according to the 2020 Open Doors Report on International Education Exchange. But preliminary data for AY 2020-21 suggests the total number of international students studying at U.S. universities—whether from within the U.S. or online from abroad—will decrease by 16%, while new international students plunge by 43% over the previous academic year.

NEJHE's Comings and Goings highlights key appointments and job changes in New England higher education and beyond.

Pictured: Jane McBride Gates

As they form their administrations, new U.S. presidents tend to mine New England’s universities for talent. Think Larry Summers and Elena Kagan of Harvard in the Obama years. Joe Biden may also harvest in the region, already tapping Tufts graduate Jennifer O'Malley Dillon as White House deputy chief of staff and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith of Yale for his COVID-19 taskforce.
Our Webinars

Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, 12 noon to 1 p.m. EST

After the COVID-19 pandemic forced an urgent shift to online learning this past spring, colleges and universities have made their way through a challenging fall semester. NEBHE is proud to partner with Packback to explore some of the questions brought on by this “new normal.” Among them: Is it possible to foster student engagement in an online setting? How can students, faculty and staff stay motivated with limited face-to-face interaction?

Panelists include:
Michael Graves, Associate Chair and Associate Professor of Biology, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Kathleen Ives, Director of Higher Education at the National Laboratory for Education Transformation (NLET) and Former CEO at the Online Learning Consortium
Maris A. Lown, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Union County College in New Jersey


Thursday, December 3, 2020, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST

NEBHE and the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) invite higher education trustees, senior executives and faculty to a collaborative virtual workshop addressing critical questions about enrollments, financial sustainability and post-pandemic plans. Although many institutional financial models are under duress, opportunities remain for institutions to transform themselves while preserving and strengthening their mission.

Panelists include:
Ken Knueven, Managing Director, AGB Consulting (moderator)
Michele D. Perkins, President, New England College
Rick Beyer, Senior Fellow and Practice Area Leader for Higher Education Long-Term Strategic Alternatives, AGB Consulting
Michael K. Thomas, President and CEO, New England Board of Higher Education

News Around NEBHE

Despite the American ideal of education as a "great equalizer," a new NEBHE report finds chronic opportunity gaps in nearly every indicator of equity, diversity and inclusion between New England's Black and Hispanic populations and their white peers. Read NEBHE's report here.

NEBHE released “Published Tuition and Fees at Public Colleges and Universities in New England, 2019-20," a report written by summer 2020 policy & research intern Daniel Brennan, featuring data on the 2019-20 tuition and fees at New England colleges and universities as announced prior to COVID-19. The report provides pre-COVID details on the published tuition and required fees (not reflecting costs such as room and board) as well as the average price of tuition before and after student aid, historical Pell Grant trends, disaggregated enrollment and tuition data and recent legislative actions to address higher ed costs in New England.

Under the direction of the NEBHE president and board, the Fellow for Faculty Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) will provide vision, leadership and planning in the development and implementation of a new regional strategy to expand faculty diversity at postsecondary institutions throughout New England.
Tracking Coronavirus
NEBHE's Tracking Coronavirus web resource features an easy-to-use display showing institutions' plans for the fall in light of COVID-19. It also details institutions' healthcare capacities and their proximity to external healthcare resources. Also find links to: COVID-19 News; Governmental Responses, Guidance & Advocacy; Distance Education Resources & Compliance; Institutional Finance Information; and Admissions and Enrollment Information. Please share updates from your institution 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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