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John O. Harney, Executive Editor, Connection
New England Board of Higher Education’s CONNECTION Explores Impacts of New England’s Changing Demography
BOSTON–New England is the slowest-growing region in America, thanks to an aging white population and the out-migration of educated young people. But New England is also adding new populations whose educational attainment will help determine the six-state region’s economic well-being, according to the Fall 2002 issue of CONNECTION: THE JOURNAL OF THE NEW ENGLAND BOARD OF HIGHER EDUCATION.
Fall 2002 Connection “Cover Stories” focus on “The New New Englanders: The Region’s Changing Demography.” Other Fall 2002 articles explore the impact of design-related fields on the New England economy and innovative ways that the region’s colleges are dealing with shifting markets. Connection is America’s only regional journal on higher education and the economy.
Following is a summary of articles in the Fall 2002 issue of Connection:
Please Come to New England — Peter Francese, founder of American Demographics magazine, explains why New England’s slow growth spells trouble for local schools and the educated workforce. “During the next decade, the age group 55 to 64 in New England is expected to grow by 4 percent to 5 percent per year, compared with overall growth of less than half of 1 percent,” warns Francese. “One consequence of such a rapidly aging population is that in most communities, an ever-larger majority of households have no children and, thus, no personal connection to their local public schools.”
Higher Education Advantage: Economic Reality or Wishful Thinking? — During the 1990s, New England saw a sizeable flight of its population to other parts of the country. A large majority of the out-migrants from the region were young and well-educated. Worse yet, New England colleges are not producing sufficient numbers of workers to make up for the brain drain, according to Northeastern University economists Neeta P. Fogg and Paul E. Harrington. Though the nation’s supply of college graduates expanded by nearly 63 percent since the mid-1980s, the number of graduates in Massachusetts grew by just 38 percent. Among New England states, only New Hampshire saw very significant growth in college graduates during the period-95 percent.
Changing Faces — Economists Mary Huff Stevenson of the University of Massachusetts Boston and Barry Bluestone of Northeastern University reveal how workplace obstacles facing Boston-area workers vary by group. For Hispanics, the main challenge is to increase education levels so young people can find work outside the shrinking manufacturing sector. For black women, the chief problem is lack of access to affordable quality child care. Black men, meanwhile, continue to suffer the most from discrimination and stereotyping.
Does the Cafe Serve Rice and Beans? — While the total number of new high school graduates will grow more slowly in New England than elsewhere, the region’s young African-American, Asian-American and Latino populations are growing fast. Former Bentley College President Joseph M. Cronin offers college officials prescriptions for reaching new groups of students, from revamping boards of trustees to diversifying the menu in the dining halls.
Why So Few Minority Faculty and What to Do? — Nearly 80 percent of full professors are male, and nearly 90 percent are white. White males are also more likely to be tenured than women and faculty of color. Cathy A. Trower, principal investigator with the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Study of New Scholars, explores efforts to diversify the region’s professoriate.
Economic Development by Design — Design-related firms employ 30,996 New Englanders from designers to administrative assistants. At the same time, thousands of other designers work outside the design industry. New England Council President James T. Brett explains how the regional business group is working with the Rhode Island School of Design, the Massachusetts College of Art and others to support the design industries and promote New England talent and resources nationally.
Learning Organizations — One reason colleges fail is that they have no mechanisms in place to encourage and reward learning at the organizational level, according to James JF Forest, assistant dean for academic assessment at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Forest urges colleges to implement special organizational learning plans, appoint full-time learning guides and reward members of the organization for demonstrating and sharing what they have learned.
A New Route for Public Higher Education — Frank Newman, president of the Futures Project at Brown University and former president of the Education Commission of the States, and Future Project research associate Jamie E. Scurry warn that market pressures have encouraged institutions to compete for star students, star faculty and corporate dollars and carried colleges and universities far from their public purpose. Newman and Scurry argue that fewer state controls and more room for entrepreneurial management could bring them back.
Course Change: Reinventing Champlain — By the recession of 1990, New England’s two-year, private colleges were buckling under the pressure of dwindling student interest, disappearing student aid funds and lack of wealthy, dedicated alumni. Officials at Champlain College in Burlington, Vt., began to wonder if the college would live to see its 125 anniversary next year. Champlain President Roger H. Perry explains the sometimes controversial changes-from recruiting more non-Vermonters to scrapping intercollegiate sports-that have helped turn Champlain around.
Survival and Success: The Saint Joseph’s Experience — Seven years ago, when David B. House addressed the Portland, Maine, Rotary Club, as the new president of Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, there was one key question: Would Saint Joseph’s survive? House explains how the small Catholic college in Standish spruced up its image, bolstered enrollment and improved student retention rates.
Book Reviews — Former Connecticut Higher Education Commissioner Andrew G. De Rocco reviews Crisis on Campus. Journalist and author Peter Sacks reviews Fair Game? Regis College Chair Sylvia Simmons reviews Catholic Women’s Colleges in America.