Winter 2008 Journal: The Coming Demographic Crisis

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BOSTON – The new Winter 2008 issue of The New England Journal of Higher Education explores how New England colleges are expected to weather the impending demographic crisis, the controversy surrounding “ranksteering” – how colleges and universities use popular college rankings systems to influence students’ college choice, reinventing adult education, the impact of social technology on the classroom and other key issues.

For more than 20 years, the New England Board of Higher Education’s journal on higher education and economic issues was known as Connection. This past summer, NEBHE “re-branded” the quarterly as The New England Journal of Higher Education.

The Winter 2008 issue of the journal features the following articles:

Differentiate or Die • Vermont Technical College President Ty J. Handy explains that New England higher education is about to experience a decade-long demographic crisis unlike any it has seen. Colleges and universities that enjoy a unique niche – or can carve one out – will be in a position to withstand the coming crisis. Those that try to be all things to all people may not make it.

Pulling Rank • Education Conservancy executive director Lloyd Thacker describes how colleges and universities are “ranksteering” – operating under the influence of popular college rankings systems like U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges. But a group of education leaders is honing a plan to end the tyranny of the ratings game.

World-Class Care • Bunker Hill Community College President Mary L. Fifield explains that New England faces a deepening shortage of nurses and especially of nurses with diverse cultural backgrounds and the sensitivity to care for new groups of New Englanders. Bunker Hill Community College’s Welcome Back Center wants to change that by putting internationally educated nurses back to work in the profession.

Problem-Based Learning • Springfield Technical Community College professor of engineering technologies Nicholas M. Massa looks at a student-centered approach to learning that is grounded in real-world situations.

Adult Education: From a Terminal Degree to Lifelong Learning • Nellie Mae Education Foundation President and CEO Nicholas C. Donohue says it is time to reinvent education. One place to start is with adult learners who have been left out of that conversation, underserved and overlooked by higher education.

Social Technology in the Classroom • Wikis, blogs and online communities are part of nearly every high school and college student’s social life. Digication co-founder Jeffrey Yan discusses how these new technologies also transform teaching and learning.

Youthful Indiscretions • It is easier than ever for students to sabotage their own futures and reputations with indiscriminate postings, illicit photographs and tell-all blogs. Boston-area attorney Dana L. Fleming explains how parents, college administrators and public officials are grappling with how to protect student users of social networking sites from others and from themselves.

Yes, a Catholic College Can Exist • In a follow-up to the journal’s previous coverage of colleges maintaining religious identity, Boston College professor of Theological Ethics James F. Keenan, S.J. explains there is more than one Catholic intellectual tradition and more than one way for Catholic colleges to address the church’s moral teachings.

A Half Century of Tuition Savings • NEBHE President Evan S. Dobelle reflects on the “Tuition Break” program’s 50 years of savings for New England residents. “Over the past 50 years the RSP has provided tuition discounts to New England regional students on more than 200,000 annual tuition bills,” writes Dobelle. “In total, the RSP has provided an estimated $740 million in tuition savings.”

A Strategy for Cooperation • “New England’s economy and quality of life depend on the quality and diversity of the region’s higher education resources – and on expanding college access and success for all its residents” writes NEBHE Chair and former four-term Maine state Sen. Mary R. Cathcart. NEBHE has identified three core functions to foster success for the region and its residents. They are: access and success, cost savings and affordability and policy leadership.

Editor’s Memo • Executive Editor John O. Harney on NEBHE President and CEO Evan Dobelle’s appointment as the 19th president of Westfield State College. Also noted, a follow-up to the Fall 2007 Editor’s Memo on education stipends for service members.

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