Posts Categorized: Commentary

The View from Vermont Gov. Shumlin

On April 3, NEBHE convened hundreds of New England opinion leaders at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston to discuss "Locally and Regionally Engaged: New England Colleges and Universities as Drivers of Innovation, Workforce and Economic Development." NEBHE Program Coordinator (and videographer) Erica Pritchard and NEJHE Executive Editor John O. Harney caught up with keynote speaker Gov. Peter Shum...

Build the Higher Ed Agenda with Us …

 2012 is a year of interest and consequence to all of New England higher education. ...This year marks the 150th anniversary of the first Morrill Land Grant Act, named after the great Vermont senator, Justin Morrill, who was instrumental in its creation and passage. Not only is the region’s higher education community reminded of its great tradition and leadership, it is compelled by the...

The Student Experience Brought to You by … Students!

Why students should play a designer role in the creation of new (and better!) school experiences.Choosing a school is only the first step in planning an academic career. After making a selection, students must match interests and passions with an academic program and make important decisions about which courses to take and when to take them. Yet many students struggle with these choices and have l...

Grad Rates Don’t Tell Full Story of Community College Performance

Anyone who fixates on graduation rates has little understanding not only of the rich mission and value of our community colleges, but also how deeply flawed and inadequate those rates are as a principal assessment tool for the performance of community colleges.Graduation rate calculations apply to a small fraction of our entire student population (about 15%). That is because this national measure ...

New Kind of Ellis Island as Second-Generation Immigrants Land on College Campuses

Demographics in American higher education are changing dramatically. A recent study by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) reveals that 11.3 million people ages 16 to 26 (one in four) are first- and second-generation immigrants. Moreover, the report continues, between 1995 and 2010, immigrant-origin youth accounted for half of all growth in the nation’s population of young people overall. This ...

Higher Ed’s Local and Regional Economic Impact: A NEBHE Conference and Recent Evidence

Our longstanding interest in the ways colleges and universities enrich their communities and the region will be on full display at NEBHE's April 3 conference on "Locally and Regionally Engaged: New England Colleges and Universities as Drivers of Innovation, Workforce and Economic Development." It promises to be a fascinating gathering focused not only on economic impacts such as building a competi...

Will MITx Change How We Think About Higher Education?

While many colleges and universities are trying to adapt to the forces affecting higher education today, a recent move by the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology is about to cause a seismic shift.The prototype version of MITx is scheduled for launch in spring 2012. MITx is an outgrowth of MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW), which began in 2002. Building upon the inventory of nearly 2,100 MIT c...

Alignment Job: Community Colleges and Workforce Development

In Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s recent 2012 State of the Commonwealth address, he reported that 240,000 people were still looking for work in Massachusetts – and there were nearly 120,000 job openings. Business leaders have told the governor that job applicants don’t have the skills required. One of the actions Patrick called for in response was for better alignment between...

Native Tribal Scholars: Building an Academic Community

When I first started as interim director of the Institute for New England Native American Studies (INENAS) based at the University of Massachusetts Boston, I was given three studies that broadly identified specific needs and disparities of Native people in the region. These studies looked at demographic data provided by the U.S. Census, tribes and surveys of regional tribes and Native American non...

Just Like Starting Over: Advice for Faculty to Make the New Semester’s Teaching Endure

Sometimes when passing through a classroom building, I glance in at a class in session and try to gauge by students’ faces whether the instructor has them engaged or not. Through their facial expressions, you can see whether they are caught up in the class or struggling not to drift away in their thoughts or electronic devices. Faculty often think of their job as transmitting knowledge, from...