On the Road Again … Talkin’ Policy with Our Friends

By NEBHE Policy & Research Team

NEBHE’s Policy & Research Team has been on the road this fall sharing current work and gathering valuable insights on these projects from our New England higher education colleagues.

Here are just a few of our stops …

Street creds? On Oct. 24, Candace Williams, director for strategic initiatives, and Stafford Peat, senior consultant, engaged a full house of online and continuing education professionals at the New England UPCEA Conference. They introduced NEBHE’s latest initiative, High Value Credentials for New England, and asked participants to evaluate what information is needed for students to make decisions regarding credential and career pathways. The aim was to give the audience a better sense of the limited transparency around credential programs, as well as a possible solution in Credential Engine’s Registry.

Alignment jobs. On Nov. 8, Williams and Kurt Heissenbuttel, vice president and head of university talent at Fidelity Investments, shared findings from the Commission on Higher Education & Employability at the annual meeting of the New England Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (NEACRAO). The conversation focused on how institutions can make in-roads with employers to offer industry-aligned programs and work-based learning opportunities.

Demographic trends and enrollment. Stephanie McGrath, policy and research analyst, and Peat attended the 2018 NEACRAO Annual Conference in Newport, R.I. on Nov. 8 to present new research to the region’s collegiate registrars and admissions officers concerning New England’s changing demographics and the demand for higher education, as well as other key indicators that drive college enrollment. The discussion focused on the future of higher education and key actions institutions can take to address the consequences of decades-long patterns in decreasing birth rates, an aging population and declining high school graduation rates in New England.

Tailoring credential searches. Williams joined Emilie Rafal, Credential Engine, and Jillian Scholten, Indiana’s Commission for Higher Education, at the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning’s 2018 Conference on Nov. 15. Together, they shared updates on how states can leverage Credential Engine’s Registry to support higher education and workforce development goals. In particular, Williams discussed potential use cases to increase adult credential attainment in New England by increasing credential transparency based on the ability to narrow down credential searches to geographic areas, key industries and occupations or delivery method.

In employability we trust? On Nov. 29, NEBHE President & CEO Michael K. Thomas joined New Hampshire Community Colleges Chancellor Ross Gittell and Berkshire Community College President Ellen Kennedy, both members of NEBHE’s Commission on Higher Education & Employability, to participate in the Governance Institute for Student Success conducted by the Association of Community College Trustees. Together they outlined for New England community college trustees the strategic role trustees play in to embedding an employability priority in student success.

Returns policy. Susan Lane, senior director, and Peat attended the annual meeting of Complete College America (CCA) on Dec. 4 and joined with an active New England delegation to support a collaborative approach to CCA’s new initiative “A Better Deal for Returning Adults.” The combination of state-specific and regional work will advance best practices and supportive pathways for New England’s returning adult students.

Transfer progress. Emily Decatur, assistant director of NEBHE’s Regional Student Program & Transfer Initiatives,and Peat presented findings from NEBHE’s brief “Student Transfer in New England: Are we making progress?” at the New England Transfer Association Professional Development session on Dec. 7 at Fitchburg State University. Professional development events are held several times a year bringing experts and transfer professionals together to explore and discuss different transfer topics and issues.

Members of the NEBHE Policy & Research Team continued their meetings with NEBHE’s state delegations to develop action steps addressing current challenges to Tradition, Transition and TransformationHow will New England higher education collectively advance its advantage to drive the region’s economic engines and provide affordable pathways to postsecondary success for all.


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