Summer 2007 Journal: Inaugural Issue Re-Branded at NEJHE

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BOSTON—The New England Board of Higher Education has unveiled The New England Journal Of Higher Education, the interstate board’s “re-branded” quarterly journal of commentary and analysis from America’s higher education heartland.

“New England’s historical leadership in higher education—as well as the new challenges it faces—makes the region the ideal home for a world-class magazine that illuminates education and economic issues for policymakers, business leaders and academics alike,” said NEBHE President and CEO Evan S. Dobelle.

The New England Journal of Higher Education will continue to feature the kinds of best practices pieces, trend analyses and gadfly authors that made its predecessor Connection must-reading for New England decision-makers since its launch in 1986.

“Our goal is to build on Connection’s 20 years of hard-hitting commentary and analysis with a brand whose serious look and feel matches its content,” said John O. Harney, who has been executive editor of the journal for 17 years. “We plan to earn the authority our new name implies, while we build on the relevance and accessibility our old name came to stand for.”

The inaugural Summer 2007 issue of The New England Journal of Higher Education features the following articles:

Learning While Black • Community activists and educators in Boston are talking together about academic achievement and persistence. But they’re also asking questions that are foreign to white suburban discussions of school success and college readiness. How is it that gangs do a better job “retaining” members than schools and colleges do? How can immigrant parents collaborate with their children’s teachers when a visit to the school might prompt a visit from ICE agents? Is it fair to expect a non-English-speaking student arriving in Boston Public Schools in ninth-grade to attain government-defined “proficiency” in four years? University of Massachusetts Boston Professor Denise Patmon relates the range of concerns raised at a lively roundtable discussion on educating black youth in Boston.

Reinvention, Not Reforms • Rather than trying to improve our existing education “systems,” we need to fundamentally rethink how we organize to educate citizens, according to Nellie Mae Education Foundation President and CEO Nicholas Donohue. That means maximizing technology, personalizing student engagement, promoting applied learning and moving beyond the bounds of the “school day.”

The Big Picture College • The Providence-based Big Picture Company has transformed the American high school experience for low-income, urban students. Now it’s ready to take on a new challenge: redesigning the American college. Jamie E. Scurry and Dennis Littky of the Big Picture Company explain how the Big Picture College will build a curriculum that emphasizes students’ interests, integrates coursework with internships and groups students in teams that work together on real-life, collaborative projects.

Demographic Demise • Young adults provide New England with a critical labor pool and fresh ideas. Their contributions to cultural, intellectual and social life make the region a vibrant and interesting place to live. Too bad they’re disappearing. University of New Hampshire economist Ross Gittell explains.

Pushing Plastic • As they send their teenagers off to college in the fall, parents will counsel them on the dangers of accepting credit card offers and the risks inherent in credit card debt. Meanwhile, most colleges will be sending another message: Charge! John H. Humphrey, a journal editor and father, asks why colleges can’t just say no to credit card companies.

FORUM: Science and Technology Education and the New England Economy
New England’s innovation-based economy depends on a supply of people with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills. But a poorly flowing STEM pipeline is challenging the region’s high-tech leadership. In this special Forum feature, The New England Journal of Higher Education asks five experts to reflect on education issues related to New England’s science and technology economy.

  • Red Flags in High-Tech • Bentley College economist Patricia M. Flynn explains why U.S. leadership in education, innovation, high-tech employment and research and development is in jeopardy—with particularly significant implications for technology-oriented New England.
  • STEM Sell • Wentworth Institute of Technology President Zorica Pantic offers prescriptions for colleges to work with local high schools, businesses and other interested organizations to build a STEM pipeline.
  • Closing the Gender Gap in Engineering: Viewers Like You • Brigid Sullivan, vice president of children’s educational and interactive programming at Boston’s WGBH public television, explains why public broadcasting is uniquely positioned to get young students engaged in STEM fields.
  • Engineering Education Must Get Real • Analogic Corp. founder Bernard M. Gordon warns that today’s college engineering programs are producing graduates with plenty of theory but too little practical engineering experience. Gordon notes that all students who complete civil engineering programs in Canada receive a ring made in part from the Quebec Bridge, which collapsed in 1907, killing dozens of people. “The message is clear,” writes Gordon. “Welcome to the world of engineering, but don’t ever forget that the lives of others depend on your judgment and correctness. Failure is not an option.”
  • Toward a Federal STEM Policy • While state governments and the private sector have roles to play in improving STEM education, a significant federal initiative is needed to encourage and promote STEM education nationally, writes New England Council President James T. Brett. Brett says Congress should increase investment in STEM teachers, school technology and college STEM programs. The head of the region’s oldest business organization also calls for an increase in federal research and development funding, which has grown by only 1.5 percent since 2004, compared with 37 percent between 2000 and 2004, and for immigration reforms to expedite permanent residence for foreign students who receive advanced degrees in STEM.

Ed in ’08: New England’s Favorite Son • NEBHE President Evan S. Dobelle casts a vote for “Ed in ’08,” the foundation-supported national campaign to get 2008 presidential candidates talking about how to improve education. Dobelle urges candidates to pay attention to some specific New England planks, including helping property tax-poor school districts experiment with new teaching and learning methods, reaching out to English-language learners and other new populations, directing student aid resources to the students who need them most and promoting New England and U.S. higher education as key industries.

Sparking an Interest in STEM Fields • NEBHE Chair and former four-term Maine state Sen. Mary R. Cathcart warns that more must be done to get teachers and students interested in STEM fields. For starters, Cathcart urges funding for National Science Foundation programs that spark a passion for science, stepped-up dialogue between state education departments and educators about improving STEM achievement in schools, and a regional effort to help New England institutions share best practices for getting children excited about science and math.

Editor’s Memo • Executive Editor John O. Harney offers thoughts on the “re-branding” of Connection as The New England Journal of Higher Education. “There’ll be no slick media campaign or chichi launch party,” writes Harney of the journal’s evolution, “just a pledge: to earn the authority that our new name implies, while we build on the relevance and accessibility that our old name came to stand for.”

Past Issues of Connection (now The New England Journal of Higher Education) Are Available on the Web

PDFs of past issues of Connection going back to Summer 1998 may be downloaded free on the NEBHE web site at:


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