the weekly digest from NEJHE and other news from the New England Board of Higher Education
Nov. 30, 2022

It would not be the least bit unusual to feel pessimistic about education in general and higher education in particular, writes former college president and frequent NEJHE contributor Karen Gross. Enrollments have been declining at many institutions and budgets are tight, she notes, adding: "Shootings on campuses or unexpected deaths of students are far too frequent. So too are hazing and harassment. Discrimination is on the rise. The equity gap is widening. Faculty and staff are disenchanted and stressed; so are students. Mental wellness is a challenge for many. In short, the future doesn’t look bright." Yet, Gross has hope in the future of higher ed. Among other things, the pandemic forced educators to engage with students and connect them to one another, while the absence of “normal” engagement approaches allowed new avenues of connection, prompting more project-based learning, pod learning and interactive activities—all educational positives, writes Gross.

NEBHE this week released its inaugural New England Transfer Guarantee Enrollment Report. Among key findings: Guarantee students tend to enroll full-time upon transfer to participating institutions; they are consistently awarded significant institutional scholarships ... and they are diverse. The authors note that despite the image of independent institutions in New England being very white, 44% of the studied group of Guarantee students were identified as BIPOC in the data participating institutions submitted to NEBHE for the spring 2021 to spring 2022 terms.
Tidbits from the NEJHE Beat
ICYMI from The New England Journal of Higher Education ...

In October, I wrote NEBHE colleagues letting them know I would be retiring from the organization and the editorship of The New England Journal of Higher Education (NEJHE) in early January 2023. I joined NEBHE in 1988 and, in 1990, became editor of NEJHE (then called Connection: New England’s Journal of Higher Education and Economic Development). I noted in my letter to colleagues that I strongly believe the regional journal is a key strength of NEBHE that should continue to be appreciated and bolstered. We often characterized Connection and NEJHE as America's only regional journal on higher education and its impact on the economy and quality of life. In addition, the topics we've covered are just too important to cast our gaze elsewhere. New England's challenging demography—where some states now see more deaths than births—means there are fewer of us to nourish a creative workforce and exercise clout in Congress. This makes our historical strength in attracting foreign students and immigrants to build our communities and industries all the more important. Growing chasms in income and wealth between chief executives and employees, meanwhile, agitate antidemocratic and racist forces. While too many critics dis snowflakes, dangerous trauma grows among students and staff. The killer pandemic exposed our fault lines, but also showed the promise of joining together behind scientific breakthroughs ... and behind one another. See a few more parting thoughts here. And as always, thanks for reading. —John O. Harney

From 1990 to 2010, I wrote quarterly columns on angles in higher education and New England for The New England Journal of Higher Education and its predecessor Connection: The Journal of the New England Board of Higher Education. Readers will find that in some ways, very little has changed since then. Here are links to these “Editor’s Memos”
News Around NEBHE

The Commission on the Future of Higher Education in Prison held its first meeting last Friday at the Hacker Reactor in MIT's Innovation Center. Convened by NEBHE and The Educational Justice Institute at MIT (TEJI)—and funded with a $250,000 grant from the Ascendium Group—the Commission will formally assemble more than 80 individuals throughout New England who represent key stakeholders, including postsecondary and corrections leaders, current and previously incarcerated individuals, employers, legislators and governors. The Commission will develop an action agenda, policy recommendations, strategies and next steps to align institutions, policymakers, prisons, and industry to increase the life and career readiness of formerly incarcerated people—and facilitate their successful transitions to work and sustained contributions to the wellbeing and competitiveness of the region and nation. Visit here for more on the New England Commission on the Future of Higher Education in Prison.

NEBHE published its 2022 Annual Report, providing an overview of the interstate compact's programs, including Tuition Break, Policy & Research, The New England Journal of Higher Education (NEJHE) and the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) as well as NEBHE initiatives on Open Educational Resources (OER), college transfer, the North Star Collective Faculty Fellowship aimed at uplifting BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) faculty on college campuses, and the future of postsecondary education for people in prison.
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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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