Summer 1999 Journal: Connection Explores Region’s Economy, Community, Demography

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Summer 1999
For more information, contact:
John O. Harney, Executive Editor, Connection

September 22, 1999

Connection Explores Region’s Economy, Community, Demography

What do immigration, urban sprawl and college enrollment have in common? They are among a host of demographic issues that will shape the future of New England, according to the wide-ranging observations of leading educational demographer Harold L. Hodgkinson published in the Summer 1999 issue of Connection: New England’s Journal of Higher Education and Economic Development.

Connection is the quarterly journal of the nonprofit New England Board of Higher Education (nebhe)-and America’s only regional journal on higher education and the economy.

Among other tidbits from Hodgkinson:

Forty percent of members of the U.S. Senate have immigrant grandparents.

Fully 80 percent of the people living in Pennsylvania were born there. By contrast, just 30 percent of Floridians were born in Florida.

SATs predict one thing beautifully, but it’s not the grades students will earn as freshmen; it’s the household income of the test-takers. For every $10,000 increase in household income, math and verbal scores go up a minimum of nine points.

Maine and Vermont are among the 27 states where one-fifth of the total population will be over age 65 in the year 2025. These states will feature a “mailbox economy” in which income does not come through wages, but through the mail in the form of Social Security checks, dividends from stocks and bonds and interest on savings accounts.

The new edition of Connection also features commentaries on issues ranging from New England’s position in the global economy to university-community relations.

Following is a summary of articles in the new issue of the journal:

A Conversation about Demography with Harold Hodgkinson — One of America’s leading educational demographers shares his views on issues ranging from income and SAT scores to transient legislatures. Observes Harold L. Hodgkinson: “Transient legislatures are a new phenomenon with important implications for higher education. Some lawmakers are just passing through, not interested in building a legacy for their grandchildren through higher education.”

College Enrollment: New England in a Changing Market — New England’s total college enrollment plunged steadily from 827,000 in 1992 to 795,000 in 1996. But now college admissions is rebounding in the nation’s academic heartland. Even the brightest high school students have to fight for spots in the college class of 2004. Connection Executive Editor John O. Harney reports on the newly flush admissions environment. Accompanying tables track a decade of New England college openings and closings and rank U.S. metro areas by key higher education measures.

Enrollment Management, Meet Competitive Intelligence — Competitive intelligence expert David Giguere explains how the new field is attempting to shed its cloak-and-dagger image and move into the mainstream of business-and higher education.

University-Community Relations: Doing the Tango with a Jellyfish — The economic resurgence of Lowell, Massachusetts, has bolstered recruitment and fundraising at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, while providing a vibrant laboratory for university economic development studies. Christine McKenna, UMass-Lowell’s executive director of communications and marketing, explains how the university and its industrial city host are rewriting the book on town-gown relations.

Civic Life in Gray Mountain: Sizing up the Legacy of New England’s Blue-Collar Middle Class — Do poor communities in northern New England offer residents more hope than their counterparts in Appalachia and the MississippiDelta? University of New Hampshire scholar Cynthia Mildred Duncan says they do. A history of steady work in pulp and paper mills, and later in manufacturing enterprises and recreation-related jobs-combined with community-wide commitment to education under mill leadership-laid the foundation for a broad, independent blue-collar middle class in northern New England communities. The middle class, in turn, created a rich civic culture. And while coal operators in Appalachia and plantation bosses in the Delta blocked new enterprises that might threaten their absolute control over the workforce, northern New England communities hosted small manufacturing firms and sustained citizens’ committees to foster further industrial development. But new challenges loom.

Will New England Become Global Hub or Cul de Sac? — New England is fast becoming a two-class economy of low-wage, low-skill jobs and high-wage, high-skill jobs with little in between, according to Kip Bergstrom, executive director of the Rhode Island Economic Policy Council. One reason for New England’s increasing polarization, according to Bergstrom: the region hasn’t paid attention to its transportation infrastructure. “The solution to the polarization is to hang onto and even expand the region’s middle-tier of jobs, most of which are in manufacturing and logistics services, namely transportation services and wholesale trade.”

Is Africa the Future of New England? Yes, If We’re Ready for It — Nathaniel Bowditch, director of nebhe’s New England Public Policy Collaborative, explores New England’s potential relationship with Africa. Bowditch’s compelling premise: “The Asian miracle had an extraordinary impact on the U.S. West Coast. The African miracle, quietly underway now for a decade, could have a similarly profound effect on the U.S. East Coast-especially for those states that anticipate and embrace it.”

New England and Africa: The Higher Education Connection — Just 1,800 of the 40,000 foreign students studying at New England colleges in 1997-98 were from Africa, and, in turn, only 350 New England college students studied in Africa, mostly in Kenya or South Africa. But connections between Africa and New England college campuses are growing fast. nebhe Research Analyst Laura Ghirardini takes inventory of initiatives ranging from Suffolk University’s new campus in Dakar, Senegal, to the University of Connecticut’s recent designation as the North American depository for materials related to the African National Congress.

An Economic Engine Overlooked — New England Council President Jim Brett calls for research and development tax credits and plenty of vigilance to maintain New England’s technological competitive advantage. A nebhe analysis, meanwhile, reveals that New England’s universities, businesses, government labs and faculty perform approximately $17 billion in R&D annually.

Book Reviews — nebhe Senior Fellow Melvin H. Bernstein reviews Civil Society: The Underpinnings of American Democracy, the new book by Tufts University professor Brian O’Connell, former CEO of Independent Sector, the Washington, D.C.-based national association of nonprofit organizations. Writer Alan R. Earls reviews Thy Honored Name: A History of the College of the Holy Cross: 1843-1994 authored by Anthony J. Kuzniewski, a history professor and rector of the Jesuit community at Holy Cross.


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