the weekly digest from NEJHE and other news from the New England Board of Higher Education
Oct. 14, 2020

Students who use "open textbooks" instead of commercial textbooks save money. But adopting such texts and other so-called OER (open educational resources) does much more than save money. It also can help address nagging challenges in the areas of equity and pedagogy. In this latest installment of NEJHE's OER Practitioner Perspectives series, NEBHE’s Fellow for Open Education Lindsey Gumb takes the pulse of open education in Rhode Island with her Q&A with two key leaders in the field: Dragan Gill, a Rhode Island College reference librarian and co-chair of the Rhode Island Open Textbook Initiative, and Daniela Fairchild, director of the Rhode Island Office of Innovation.

Pictured: Dragan Gill (top), Daniela Fairchild (bottom)
More from The New England Journal of Higher Education

Takeaways from NEBHE's Legislative Advisory Committee ...

What can New England state governments do to stimulate job creation and make the region's economy more resilient? Economists meeting recently via Zoom with NEBHE’s Legislative Advisory Committee shared a few key suggestions. Among them: identify and support the region’s most vulnerable workers, incentivize partnerships that value job quality, increase state support for childcare, and ensure equity in higher education and work, in part, by granting credit to adult learners for their validated life and work experiences.

If you want to help higher education, help arts education programs in the schools. That's the message from child development researcher Neve Spicer. Her We the Parents group has published "51 Benefits of Art Education for Kids," ranging from raising academic achievement to increasing college degree attainment. While many benefits of arts education are intuitive, skeptics complain there's little scientific evidence. Here, Spicer cites a report from the National Endowment for the Arts showing participation in arts education narrows the gap in college attendance for underserved populations and a study from Florida State University showing the role of arts in dropout prevention.
News Around NEBHE

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. The Fellow will assist in developing an inclusive, long-term action plan to address societal, institutional and structural impediments to faculty diversity as a core premise for equity and inclusion in postsecondary education.
Newslink

New England higher education lost another giant last week with the passing of Joseph M. Cronin. The former president of Bentley College (now University) and first Massachusetts secretary of education, Cronin was a longtime friend of NEBHE and a frequent contributor to NEJHE. "Many of his articles for the journal focused on equity," reflects NEJHE Executive Editor John O. Harney. "His book reviews read like smart histories of higher education."

Eight Connecticut four-year independent institutions and all 12 of the state's community colleges signed onto NEBHE's Connecticut Independent College Transfer Guarantee. The so-called Connecticut Guarantee ensures acceptance at a participating Guarantee institution for associate-degree-holding students who have met a designated GPA requirement.

From time to time, NEJHE revives the presentation of facts and figures called “Data Connection” that we had published quarterly for nearly 20 years in the print editions of The New England Journal of Higher Education, formerly known as Connection.
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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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