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Friday Afternoon Readings

September

UW issues first apology to Black 14 (Bendtsen, Laramie Boomerang). -A wonderful and historic week. Thank you to all who made it possible. Great Enrollment Crash (Conley, Chronicle of Higher Education). -“…a sharp decrease in fertility during the Great Recession will further deepen the high-school graduation trough by 2026.” Important numbers and an interesting editorial. ‘Constant Firefighting’: Greek-Life Staff Are Underpaid and Overworked. Here’s What Some Colleges Are Doing About It (Jenkins, Chronicle of Higher Education). - A common story on many college campuses. It’s important to note that our Fraternity and Sorority students are everyone’s students.
Dean of Students Office awarded Campus Innovation Grant from the Interfaith Youth Core (Virginia Tech Daily). -“In a world where divisiveness is defining today’s culture, religious diversity is no exception, and organizations are in need of interfaith leaders who are able and willing to bridge that gap.” Great project at Virginia Tech. Spirituality is an important component of community wellness. A Jury Found Iowa State U. Partially Responsible for a Student’s Suicide (Kafka, The Chronicle of Higher Education). -Many takeaways from this incident. I would note the confusion and frustration parents feel about how we involve them in their child’s behavioral health struggles. Thanks Rian Rabideau for the article suggestion! Link of the Week: UBC’s first nano-suites open at the new Exchange Residence (UBC.edu). -Take an on-line tour of a nano-suite here! Thanks Rian Rabideau for this suggestion as well.

August

Two universities targeted by hackers just before new school year (McKenzie, Inside Higher Ed). - Our colleagues down in Denver have had a very rough week. I can’t imagine losing all IT systems for a week or more, let alone at the beginning of the academic year. These attacks are becoming more common and sophisticated. My appreciation to our friends in Information Technology and VP Aylward for their good work protecting our data and systems. A Public University With Too Much Money? Surpluses Are More Complicated Than That (Bauman, Chronicle of Higher Education.) -“Financial analysts, though, say that without adequate reserves, an institution could actually end up paying more in the long term to service its debts. Sturdy reserve funds provide reassurance to bondholders that an institution can weather both the expected, like an eventual recession, and the unexpected, like an earthquake or hurricane.” Study finds generally positive impact of Common Application (Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed.) -“Joining the Common App results in a 12 percent increase in applications, on average, compared to the years before a college joins. ‘Moreover, the effect grows over time, rising to roughly 25 percent after one decade in the Common App,’ the report says. There is also a 12 percent increase in admits…. [and] a 9 percent decline in yield. Taken over all, there is a small increase in enrollment.” Interesting. Trans Students Are Found Far More Likely Than Others to Suffer From a Host of Psychological Problems (Kafka, Chronicle of Higher Education). -“Previous research has shown that this population experiences pervasive mistreatment, harassment, discrimination, and violence. The new study shows the alarming scale of the mental-health toll on trans and other gender-minority college students in particular, says the lead author, Sarah Ketchen Lipson, an assistant professor of health law, policy, and management at Boston University.” Thanks CDO Monago for the article suggestion. Bonus On-Line Story: CSU to build new facility for softball, women's soccer teams to share (Lyell, Fort Collins Coloradoan). -This is really hard to say… but… good job CSU. I would love to build a new women’s soccer and club sports facility. Thanks Director Burman for the article suggestion! You can find the article here.
Columbia, Stanford and Chicago law schools now cost more than $100,000 to attend (Anderson, Inside Higher Ed). -Talk about sticker shock. I’m not convinced the return on investment on an elite legal education is as good as some people think. University of Alaska Ends Financial Exigency (Lederman, Inside Higher Ed). -An improved situation in the frontier state. Handshake, popular career-services platform, now open to all students (Bauer-Wolf, Inside Higher Ed). -Big news on a very popular career service platform. It will be interesting to see how this impacts the 800 plus higher education institutions – including UW - who have paid for the platform. National 'nudging' campaign produced no increase in FAFSA applications, college enrollment (Anderson, Inside Higher Ed). -This current generation of college students don’t respond well “If they don’t know the messenger, and… [the message is] coming out of the blue.” Much more work is needed to improve communications with students on these important topics.
The Truth About Student Debt -7 Facts No One Is Talking About (Harris, Newsweek.com). A good article on this important subject with some important nuisances. My appreciation to Trustee David Fall for the article suggestion! Title IX Lawsuit Against Harvard Will Move Forward (Bauer-Wolf, Inside Higher Ed). -[Harvard’s]...policy, which was approved in 2016 and applied to students entering the university in fall 2017, does not allow them to hold leadership positions in groups affiliated with the university, including on athletics teams [if they belong to single-gender organizations].” Beyond the Title IX challenge, this policy has many other difficult aspects; how do you know someone belongs to an unrecognized organization for example? I also believe Harvard’s policy runs afoul of their commitment to support freedom of association. Stay tuned.
5 types of mentors every student needs (EAB Daily Briefing). -Mentors help students retain and graduate from college. How can we do more to help students find mentors? Court orders Fordham to recognize Students for Justice in Palestine group (Redden, Inside Higher Ed). -This was the predicted and reliable outcome of this case. When will we learn? “Justice Bannon found that Fordham did not in this case follow its published rules regarding the recognition of student organizations in that it seemingly imposed an additional level of review by the dean after the group was approved by the United Student Government. Further, she wrote that the dean’s discretion to veto a club proposal ‘is neither unlimited nor unfettered.’” Ruling in UMass Amherst Title IX lawsuit may lead to Supreme Court case, experts say (Bauer-Wolf, Inside Higher Ed). -More confusion in this arena. We’ll continue to monitor. Bonus Video: -Meet Kevin Pei, a senior at Virginia Tech as he talks about finding balance. FORWARD is a Virginia Tech program that encourages resilience and grit in undergraduate students. “In the moment, setbacks and failures can feel insurmountable. The good news is there are resources to help us overcome the challenges we face. Sharing our stories is one way to remind ourselves that we’re not alone. Those things we’re feeling? Someone else has felt them, too.” See the video here.
‘Why Do We Have So Many Freaking Acronyms?!’ -Some Colleges Target Jargon in the Name of Student Success (Jarvis, Chronicle of Higher Education). “…colleges and universities are beginning to question their own jargon-filled handbooks and campuses, taking steps in recent years to simplify the language they use or, at the very least, to clearly define confusing terms.” Good! E-mail me your favorite UW Acronym and win a prize! 6 moves to make immediately following a data breach (Staff, University Business). -Large data breaches are becoming all too common – even in higher ed. We covered Ellucian Banner’s security flaw on 7/19 and the Wall Street Journal covered the Pearson (British maker of educational software) hack on 7/31. This will be a bigger trend going into 2020. What the looming demographic storm means for your state (Tasneem, EAB). -“..the number of college-going students is projected to decrease by 12% over the next decade due to a sharp drop in fertility following the Great Recession. This decline in fertility, known as the “birth dearth,” was so abrupt and substantial in nature that it will lead us to fall off a demographic cliff after 2025.” It’s critical that we prepare for this change in student demographics.

July

It’s not you: Adult student populations are smaller than you think (Ciminello, Education Advisory Board). -Recruiting and supporting adult learners is more complicated than people think. Former Louisiana State University student convicted in fraternity hazing death (Grinberg, CNN). -“Gruver was one of several pledges who died in 2017, including Timothy Piazza at Penn State University, Andrew Coffey at Florida State University and Matthew Ellis at Texas State University.” Hazing and these deaths are unacceptable and must be stopped. University of Alaska Regents Vote to Declare Financial Exigency (Mangan, Chronicle of Higher Education). -Downgraded credit ratings, closed programs, terminated faculty and staff; tough times for our colleagues in Alaska. Like Wyoming, they struggle to educate a vastly distributed population, “some of which is inaccessible by land.” Thanks Laurie Smith for the article suggestion.
Ellucian Banner security flaw highlighted by Education Department (McKenzie, Inside Higher Ed) -Cyber security is a big issue for all industries right now including Higher Education. One of many reasons to regularly take software updates and have a change oriented campus. A Textbook Giant Is Going ‘Digital First.’That Might Not Be Good for Affordability (Jarvis, Chronicle of Higher Education). -A lot to think about and many changes coming to the textbook industry. Will they benefit students? Brigham Young University announces changes to its honor code after protests (Radnofsky, NBC News). -BYU is attempting to balance its mission and character as a university while addressing student demands for a more modern conduct system.
Bonus Video: Engineering professor shares experience of living on campus with family of 6 (Coleman, Virginia Tech). -“We wanted to be part of students’ lives.” What does a faculty in residence look like? Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Pablo Tarazaga, his wife, Vanessa, and their four children, live in the Honors Residential Commons (HRC) at Virginia Tech. Watch it here. Survey shows nearly half of students distracted by technology (Hazelrigg, Inside Higher Ed). -Not surprising to many of us but worth reiterating and sharing with students. Remember, there was also research that found “a causal link between lower test scores and the uses of cellphones and laptops. The study suggested students were wrong to believe they could divide their attention between technology and class lectures, as technology impairs their ability to retain information from the class.” Calls for expulsion for a Texas A&M student who used racial slurs in viral video (Bauer-Wolf, Inside Higher Ed). -A troubling incident at Texas A&M. We have to do better. U of Alaska's accreditor warns that funding cuts could threaten system's status (Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed). -Unusual intervention by an accreditation agency. Tough times in the Last Frontier State. Update: Legislators did not override Alaska Governor’s budget veto this past Wednesday making the $130 million system-wide cuts a reality.
Campuses Are Short on Mental-Health Counselors. But They’ve Got Plenty of Antidepressants (Jackson, The Chronicle of Higher Education). -Important information about the increasing demand for counseling resources and a warning that more and more students will turn to prescriptions if they cannot get good care. Parents of Murdered Student Sue U. of Utah for $56 Million, Claiming Gender Discrimination (Pettit, The Chronicle of Higher Education). -A very sad incident. This case highlights the value of our multi-disciplinary approach to student care at UW. Our hearts go out this U. of Utah family and our Salt Lake City colleagues. Audio Bonus: University Of Alaska Readies For Budget Slash: 'We May Likely Never Recover’ (Axelrod, NPR’s All Things Considered). - A very difficult situation that may sound a bit familiar. Thank you Laurie Smith for the suggested audio Bonus. You may listen or read this article here.

June

Forget Tanning Beds. College Students Today Want Uber Parking (Prevost, The New York Times). -“Shared study rooms, a pickup spot for Uber and GrubHub, Amazon lockers — this is the ‘everything at your fingertips’ generation,” said Carl Whitaker, the manager of data analytics at RealPage, a provider of software and data to the real estate industry.” Interesting read with a national perspective. Thank you Dean Pishko for sharing this article! Marketing Authenticity in Higher Education (Willers, Inside Higher Ed). -“One of the defining characteristics of Generation Z is their ability to detect what's real and what's contrived. This practice of misrepresenting diversity and failing to display authenticity is not lost on students who are enrolling at higher education institutions.” Study shows how different types of college dormitories can affect grades (Bauer-Wolf, Inside Higher Ed). -“Over the four years, the researchers studied 5,537 first-year students, about 800 of whom were black. The black first-year students who lived in the corridor-style dormitories – those with more opportunities to socialize among similar peers ended up having higher GPAs than those who were housed in the apartments, with an average 2.3 GPA compared to a 1.9. The differences were less pronounced among white students, but those who lived in the traditional residence halls had higher GPAs an average 2.9 versus 2.8 for the apartment dwellers.” Stress in America – Generation Z (American Psychological Association). -Good read both on Generation Z and their perspectives on seeking behavior health support. “Our 2018 survey results show that high-profile issues, such as sexual harassment and gun violence, are significant stressors for Gen Z. America’s youngest adults are most likely of all generations to report poor mental health, and Gen Z is also significantly more likely to seek professional help for mental health issues.” Thank you Libby Thorson for sharing this article!
After Campus Protests Against a Local Bakery, Here’s Why a Jury Said Oberlin Must Pay $44 Million (Patel, The Chronicle of Higher Education). -“Academic freedom is not blanket freedom from libel. Just because you work at a college doesn’t mean you have special privileges that other media defendants don’t.” Big news, but much more legal wrangling before the full impact is known. Stay tuned. The University Run Amok! (Daniel & Wellmomn, The Chronicle of Higher Education). -Has American Higher Education wandered too far from its mission? “What we are calling for is a university whose democratic responsibilities are revivified by its animating purpose: what Daniel Coit Gilman, founding president of the Johns Hopkins University, described as the "acquisition, conservation, refinement, and distribution of knowledge." Interesting.
Who's doing the heavy lifting in terms of diversity and inclusion work? (Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed). -While this study is about the fields of ecology and evolutionary biology, I see no reason that this isn’t consistent across academia. Much work to do. Authors argue being outdoors improves college students' mental health (Bauer-Wolf, Inside Higher Ed). -Get outdoors! Of course “communing with nature can help alleviate students' troubles.” Satirical Tweet Causes Epic #SAchat Reaction (Stoller, Inside Higher Ed). -A lot of hurt feelings over this one. We can both love our students and celebrate a change of pace. We all need breaks! Thanks Jeremy Davis for the suggested reading. CAUTION: If you are over the age of 35, this might be a tough read as much of it is in twitter posts. You’ve been warned!

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