the weekly digest from NEJHE and other news from the New England Board of Higher Education
Sept. 23, 2020

The shift to online learning prompted by fear of coronavirus has challenged instructors to create courses that are as engaging online as they are in person. "As many faculty prepare for online learning again this fall, open educational resources (OER) can be part of the solution to help students stay safe and be successful," writes NEBHE's Open Education Fellow Lindsey Gumb. Moreover, because of financial barriers, many students borrow textbooks and other learning materials from classmates and campus libraries instead of buying them, Gumb notes. But, she adds, some experts believe that borrowing is no longer a safe option, as the coronavirus can live on surfaces for up to nine days.
More from The New England Journal of Higher Education

Amid the college admissions scandals revealed by the federal "Varsity Blues" investigation, enrollment management pioneer Jack Maguire reflects on challenges to the "integrity" of the enrollment process. "At the highest levels of American leadership, there are now documented examples of secret payments to stand-in SAT test-takers to gain undeserved university admissions and to assist with writing assignments to cover up laziness and corruption—and nonstop braggadocio about fraudulent academic achievements," writes the former Boston College admissions dean and founder of Maguire Associates. He also weighs in on the legal actions of "entitled well-to-do” students who are accusing Harvard and Yale of law-violating affirmative action, and concludes that those elite institutions should be doing more—not less—to support affirmative action.

Along the back wall of University of Vermont President Suresh Garimella's office is the 150-plus-years-old desk of Vermont Sen. Justin Morrill, the author of the Morrill Act of 1862 establishing the country’s first land-grant universities. It's a handsome piece of 19th century craftsmanship, but more importantly, a vivid reminder of UVM’s status as one of the earliest land grants. What comes with that designation: bright students, enterprising faculty and intellectual firepower to fuel state businesses and help local and state policymakers address socioeconomic challenges the state is facing, not the least of which, recovering from the ravages of COVID-19.
News Around NEBHE

NEBHE has published its 2020 Annual Report, providing an overview of the interstate compact's programs, including Tuition Break, the Policy & Research team, The New England Journal of Higher Education, the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) and newer NEBHE initiatives on Open Educational Resources (OER), transfer and upskilling. The report notes how NEBHE's work in service of higher education and policymaking has been colored this past year by the COVID-19 pandemic and economic uncertainties.

NEBHE joined other regional higher education compacts and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) in a letter to leaders of the U.S. Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee calling for the simplification of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). "During the unprecedented COVID-19 emergency, students and families are reevaluating their plans to attend college and some are less likely to consider attending," notes the letter. "We have already seen dramatic reductions in enrollment and concerning declines in FAFSA completion rates, particularly among students who are underrepresented in higher education."

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

Read the latest from NEJHE's DC Shuttle, featuring national news drawn from our friends at the New England Council.

NEJHE's Comings and Goings highlights key appointments and job changes in New England higher education and beyond.
Susan Dynarski
Our Webinars
Join us on Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 1 p.m. for Upskilling Massachusetts, and Tuesday, Sept. 29 at 1 p.m. for Upskilling Connecticut. These webinars, based on NEBHE's recent white paper, will focus on real-time labor-market data and consumer insights data from Strada Education Network to highlight successes, challenges and opportunities for upskilling in each state. Additionally, a robust panel discussion will illuminate effective upskilling programs in Massachusetts and Connecticut. 

This afternoon!
Panelists include:
Kathy ManningDean of the Center for Workforce Development and Continuing Education at Quinsigamond Community College
Kathy RentchAssociate Vice President for Strategic Academic & Workforce Initiatives at Quinsigamond Community College
Theresa RowlandVice President of Sector Strategies, Commonwealth Corporation

Panelists include:
Vicki Bozzuto, Director of Career and Transfer Readiness, Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System
Sonia Cardenas, Acting Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Trinity College
Mark Scheinberg, President of Goodwin University
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: 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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