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June 20, 2018
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Higher Education & Employability: The Series ...
Digital Competencies
Welcome back to our series on the recommendations of NEBHE's Commission on Higher Education & Employability and its report Learning for Life and Work.

This week, we pick up with the Commission's recommendations on
"Digital Competencies."
Of the 13 million jobs created between 2010 and 2016, two-thirds required medium to high levels of digital skills, according to the Brookings Institution. Researchers also found that workers with superior digital skills have higher earnings and are less exposed to automation-driven displacement. More and more, jobs wed digital skills to traditional, non-technical roles. Liberal arts graduates, for example, can double the number of entry-level jobs that are available to them and command salary premiums when they add specific skill sets, including digital competencies, to their postsecondary coursework and experiences. But the U.S. lags many countries in developing digital skill frameworks to provide all postsecondary students with access to digital skills. The U.S. also trails in engaging industry to link these frameworks to all levels of education, especially postsecondary.  
The pertinent recommendations (as numbered in the Learning for Life and W ork report):
­­­ 13. New England higher education institutions should participate in a strategic Digital Competencies Initiative to expand their capacity for innovative delivery of the digital knowledge, skills and competencies required for graduates' employability in a fast-changing, technology-driven, global economy.
14. New England higher education institutions should collaborate with employer partners to implement digital competency frameworks--supported by technology-enabled curriculum, assessments, and other learning tools to aid students in digital skill acquisition across the whole of their postsecondary experience.
15. New England higher education institutions should lead in incorporating digital competencies as "essential learning outcomes" that are achieved through high-quality postsecondary learning opportunities.

Among stakeholder actions, the Commission calls on  
employers and industry associations to help higher education institutions (HEIs) identify specific, high-demand and industry-recognized credentials--to be incorporated into HEIs' digital competency provision--and for which curricula, assessments and resources exist. The Commission recommends that K-12 education systems implement rigorous requirements for technology and digital competencies, providing a solid foundation for future postsecondary learners. 
Watch NEJHE NewsBlast and www.nebhe.org for more ways to help lead in learning for life and work.  


Check out our newest commentary and analysis from New England's higher education leaders

As school systems strive to implement mandated standards to help students excel in standardized testing and gain necessary skills for future job opportunities, many creative school programs such as art and music are deemed unnecessary and cut from the curriculum. Jenny Silverstone, author of a research-driven parenting blog called Mom Loves Best explains a few of the powerful ways programs such as music education can have major positive impacts on growth and development. "Music education requires students to recognize and repeat pitch, tone or enunciation of words," writes Silverstone. Another benefit of music education, she notes, is the increased ability to process situations and find solutions mentally. Those with musical training have been found to have higher levels of grey matter volume in their brains, which are directly tied to auditory processing and comprehension. Surprisingly, one of the areas of life this is most important for is forming relationships. Musicians learn to listen to others, sense emotion, and react with greater depth and understanding.  

The high-profile suicides of chef-journalist Anthony Bourdain and fashion designer Kate Spade seemed to add an accent mark on new federal data showing that suicides rose in all but one U.S. state between 1999 and 2016. Suicide and suicidal thinking are among other manifestations of student stress on college campuses. Massachusetts attorney Lynette Paczkowski explores the recent case of Nguyen v. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, et al. The case considered the question of whether a college or university has the affirmative obligation to protect its students from all harm at all times, including suicide. Han Nguyen was a 25-year old graduate student at MIT when he took his own life in 2009. His family sued the school, alleging that the school lacked sufficient support services, did not provide adequate care for its students, and failed to intervene despite knowledge of his mental state. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court did not find MIT liable under the facts of the case, and within its decision, the Court articulated the obligations of colleges and universities when it comes to suicide prevention.
News Around NEBHEnews

See what our other programs are up to at nebhe.org
Massachusetts Approved for SARA
NEBHE approved the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for participation in SARA on June 7. Massachusetts becomes the 49th state nationally to join SARA and the final New England state to join SARA through NEBHE. SARA is an initiative that will make distance-education courses more accessible to students across state lines and make it easier for states to regulate and institutions to participate in interstate distance education. The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education will begin accepting institutional applications to join SARA on June 18, 2018. Visit www.mass.edu/sara for the latest information and updates regarding SARA membership application and procedure.  

Save on Technology!
NEBHE has joined the Midwestern Higher Education Commission's MHECTECH program, allowing significant savings on tech purchasing by public and nonprofit colleges, K-12 districts and schools, cities, counties, towns and state governments in New England. For more, please view MHEC's contract listing here or contact NEBHE CFO Genevieve Davis at gdavis@nebhe.org.   

Reports & Analysis from NEBHE's Policy & Research Team
Newslink newslink

NEBHE has published an annual directory of New England colleges and universities for a half-century as a special issue of its New England Journal of Higher Education. In 2011, NEBHE formed a partnership with Boston magazine to jointly publish the Guide based on a NEBHE survey of campuses.

NEBHE's 2018 Guide to New England Colleges & Universities lists key data for public and independent, degree-granting colleges and universities based in New England, such as: admissions application deadlines and acceptance rates; faculty-student ratio; enrollment totals and breakdowns for part-time, commuting, female, international and minority students; cost of attendance; and degrees offered.
roadsign work ahead

View constantly updated higher education job listings at Joblink, NEBHE's collaboration with New England HERC.
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. Join Our Mailing List!