Posts Categorized: Commentary

This New Age

Every reader of this journal is being affected by the highly exceptional historical phenomenon we are all experiencing: an age of total transformation, of paradigm-shifts in virtually every field of human endeavor. Our own field—postsecondary education and training—is just one among all the others. Younger colleagues, though they may not like it, are experiencing this as a given and generally ...

Clean Campus: Tackling Accessibility, Deferred Maintenance and Carbon Neutrality Through Renovations

Over the past decades, universities have been at the forefront of establishing ambitious goals for decarbonizing campuses. While there are many variables in how to advance energy efficiency in the campus-built environment, some universities have taken the strategic approach of combining energy efforts with the heavy maintenance and upkeep needs of the buildings. Universities must identify a...

The Long Road to Educational Equality for Boston Students

Boston has had an extraordinarily long and tumultuous history as a fulcrum of the fight for the equal education of Black people. Black Bostonians began petitioning the Massachusetts Legislature for greater access to the public school system in 1787, when our country was young. In 1835, the Abiel Smith School opened—the first building erected for the sole purpose of housing a Black public ...

Why I Have Hope for the Future of Higher Ed

It would not be the least bit unusual to feel pessimistic about education in general and higher education in particular. Enrollments have been declining at many institutions across the education landscape. Budgets are tight at many. 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 widenin...

My Fond Farewell to NEBHE and NEJHE

In October, I wrote to NEBHE colleagues to let 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. While NEBHE has been my job, NEJHE has been my passion. I joined NEBHE in 1988 and, in 1990, became editor of NEJHE (then called Connection: New England’s Journal of Higher Education and Economic Dev...

Lessons in College Presidential Appointments: Dartmouth College to the University of Florida

In April 1981, David McLaughlin was named the 14th president of Dartmouth College. Though separated by four decades, there are striking similarities between Dartmouth’s appointment of McLaughlin and the University of Florida’s selection last week of its next president, Ben Sasse. If the past is prologue, Sasse and Florida are in for a rough ride. McLaughlin was an alumnus of Dartmouth, both...

Reaching the 39 Million: Rethinking What It Means to Be a College for Adults

We all received the “good” news recently that students are gradually returning to college, slowing the loss of 1 million students in postsecondary classrooms over the past two years to a trickle. But just as Covid has exposed many of the cracks in our social framework, so too has it laid bare what an outspoken few have known for years: Higher education isn’t working. Or, to speak more plainl...

For New England Higher Ed, Cybersecurity Signals New Threats … and New Opportunities

Some of the most common cybersecurity threats are malware, ransomware, phishing and spam. For their victims, including higher education institutions (HEIs), cybercrimes range from inconveniences to data breaches to grand heists like the one that struck Cape Cod Community College (CCCC) four years ago. In 2018, CCCC experienced a cybersecurity attack resulting in $800,000 stolen from school bank...

Proposed Changes to Trump Administration Title IX Regs … Going Backward or Forward?

On the 50th anniversary of the enactment of Title IX, the U.S. Department of Education released proposed new regulations for Title IX policies. For the most part, these new regulations reverse regulatory changes made during the Trump administration. The Biden administration insists the new regs will “restore crucial protections” that had been “weakened.” Commenters have their own opinio...

Summertime Snippets: Some Observations from the NEJHE Beat

Choosing economic development? Could the antichoice, forced-birth culture of the U.S. Supreme Court and many U.S. states present an advantage for New England economic boosters? Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker told reporters that he had heard from a lot of companies that the recent Supreme Court decision banning abortion may offer a big opportunity for Massachusetts to attract some employers wh...