Spring 1997 Journal: New England’s Knowledge Economy

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Spring 1997

For more information, contact:
John O. Harney, Executive Editor, The New England Journal of Higher Education
jharney [at] nebhe [dot] org

June 14, 1997
Journal Explores New England’s Knowledge Economy

BOSTON — Federal and state education, training and research policies will have a profound impact on New England, as the region continues to build a “knowledge economy” marked by a highly skilled and specialized workforce, an infrastructure of world-class education and research institutions, and ongoing technology transfer, according to articles to be published next week in Connection: New England’s Journal of Higher Education and Economic Development.
Connection is the quarterly journal of the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) — and America’s only regional journal on higher education and the economy. Articles in the new spring edition of Connection link New England workforce and economic development issues with looming changes in federal higher education policy.

“New England’s knowledge-intensive economy has evolved over the past half century in no small measure as a beneficiary of federal initiatives focused on higher education and scientific research,” observes NEBHE President John C. Hoy.

Hoy traces the federal commitment to education and research from passage of the G.I. Bill through the current debate over President Clinton’s education-related tax proposals and the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965.

But the postwar federal largesse that created the G.I. Bill and the National Science Foundation has eroded. Writes Terry W. Hartle, vice president of the American Council on Education: “The overarching goal of balancing the budget means that cutting spending will remain the central policy goal of the federal government. Expansions in one federal policy arena will mean cuts somewhere else.”
“When one program is expanded, another will be reduced. Such tradeoffs can create unexpected problems,” warns Hartle. “Would New England’s colleges trade an increase in student aid if it meant less federal money for research and development?”

A summary of Connection articles follows:

Washington Gets into the Higher Education Act • Without an educated workforce, there can be no knowledge economy. Terry W. Hartle, vice president of the American Council on Education and former education staff director of the U.S. Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources, examines how proposed changes in federal higher education policies present the nation’s most higher-education-intensive region with benefits — and risks.

People and Places: Geography of Workforce Development in New England • Workforce training programs alone offer no guarantee that New England’s inner-city and rural populations will have access to the education and job opportunities of the new economy. University of Southern Maine Professor Charles S. Colgan explores the balance between “people prosperity” and “place prosperity.”

Salem’s New Lot: A Former Teachers College Looks to Boost Technology on Boston’s North Shore • The knowledge economy is thriving in “edge cities” and along “connective corridors.” Salem State College President Nancy D. Harrington describes how one state college is building technological capacity on Boston’s North Shore — and laying the groundwork for corridor growth between Boston and southern New Hampshire.

Retraining and the New England Labor Market • The knowledge economy demands innovative training policies to move New Englanders from declining industries like defense to growing industries such as software — but retraining won’t guarantee workers higher starting pay. Yolanda K. Kodrzycki, senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, analyzes the impact of retraining on the New England labor market.

Can Business Really Make a Difference in Education? • New England’s knowledge businesses need topnotch schools. But business people with the school reform bug sometimes get stung. Susan K. Moulton, vice president of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Research Institute, reflects on the search for collaboration among businesses and schools.

New England’s Workforce Future Has Arrived • The demographic profile of college students has changed dramatically. And so has the job market they will enter upon graduation. University of Massachusetts at Boston Chancellor Sherry H. Penney explains why higher education had better change too.

Border Crossing: A Regional Future for New England and Atlantic Canada? • A lack of regional identity in Canada has made it difficult to reach agreement on the merits of integration among the Atlantic provinces, let alone among the provinces and the New England states. But change is coming, reports Canadian political scientist Stephen G. Tomblin. The Memorial University of Newfoundland professor predicts that provinces and states will create new north-south partnerships to search for common solutions to transborder problems such as pollution and the challenges of the global economy.

Talent Flows: Student Migration in New England • Higher education is a significant New England export industry, bringing money — and talent — into the region from outside. But interest from out-of-state students varies from state to state. Joseph Zikmund II and Thomas D. Ringenberg of the Connecticut Department of Higher Education, trace the interstate migration patterns of New England freshmen. Tables detail migration patterns and list New England and non-New England institutions ranked by enrollment of out-of-state freshmen.

Institutional Independence and Public Oversight: The New Jersey and Maine Experiments • Brown University Distinguished Professor Eleanor M. McMahon examines how two states are striking a balance between freedom for higher education institutions and accountability. “The challenge is to provide sufficient autonomy to sustain academic vitality and creativity while ensuring that this energy is directed efficiently and purposefully toward the broad public interest,” writes the NEBHE chair and former Rhode Island commissioner of higher education.

New England College Endowments Top $26 Billion • The total market value of endowments held by New England colleges and universities exceeded $26 billion in 1996, according to a NEBHE study. But just five of New England’s approximately 260 colleges and universities control nearly 70 percent of all the region’s endowment funds. Connection Executive Editor John O. Harney tries to put the region’s enormous endowment wealth in perspective. Tables show New England’s fastest-growing and largest endowments. (See sample table below.)

Power Play: Energy Deregulation Promises Savings • Robert J. Ciolek, executive director of the Massachusetts Health and Educational Facilities Authority, explains how dozens of Massachusetts campuses are banding together to bargain for the best electric rates, as the energy deregulation juggernaut moves through New England.


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