2014 Higher Ed Seminar
When prospective students want to know how much money they’ll make if they major in a particular field at Montgomery College, it goes to great lengths to give them an answer.
The Maryland community college used a private company to painstakingly cross-check 22,000 graduates’ names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and other identifying information against professional licensing records from state agencies, online career sites such as LinkedIn and CareerBuilder, and other sources to get as close as it could to a true idea of future earnings.
More knowledge. More skill. More potential. No matter what reason a student enrolls in college, the ultimate goal is usually the same: a degree that will expand opportunities. But for many students, earning a degree and finding work in their chosen field may pose stark and unanticipated challenges. And for many of their communities, turning colleges and universities into reliable places to find qualified candidates for the jobs that are available may prove easier said than done.
Star athletes accused of sexual assault. Student athletes forming their own labor unions and winning judgments that say they are eligible to profit from their popularity. Academic fraud. While stories such as these typically have been the turf of sports reporters, it’s becoming more important for education reporters to stay ahead of these issues. Two experts on the interplay between athletics and academics offer their insights.
Since 2011, when the U.S. Department of Education made clear that schools’ failure to address incidents of sexual assault adequately could trigger Title IX penalties, this problem—which has long been a taboo topic in higher education—has become the flashpoint issue on campuses across the nation. Each new incident showcases conflicting perspectives, ranging from those of advocates who say colleges are failing victims to men who think the new policy guidelines are stacked against them. Some question whether institutions should even be involved or are these matters better left to police?
Academics are just part of the story for many students entering college – a whole new culture of learning awaits them. But if they are first-generation college students, those cultural challenges can derail a promising postsecondary career. New research is exploring the effects mentoring programs and brief psychological interventions can have on low-income, minority and first-generation students. What can colleges do to promote resiliency and support student well-being for all students? Are such efforts merely too much “coddling” of students by campuses?
Is keeping students on track to earn a degree as simple as just sending them text messages reminding them to register for classes and renew financial aid? That’s one element of “predictive analytics,” which is the use of detailed student data—from demographic background to grades on recent homework assignments—to guide students toward academic success. With as many as 150 colleges and universities already using some form of analytics, what do journalists need to know about the pros and cons of how these systems work?
While high schools across the nation have increasingly turned their attention toward making their graduates “college and career ready,” many community colleges are pondering the best way to educate those adults who enroll underprepared. One approach that appears to be gaining momentum—in Connecticut, Florida and Texas, for example— is to eliminate developmental or remedial education offerings altogether, arguing that these costly courses deter students from earning degrees.
Can the United States continue to sustain financially the notion of residential college experience? What are parents and students expecting when they choose a college? How has the rise of the “value consumer” altered the landscape of the 21st Century college campus? How will the changing demographics (e.g., increased calls for accountability in higher education, MOOCs, and other models for delivering education) affect the traditional residential experience?
As the higher ed community eagerly awaits the details of President Obama’s plan to rate colleges and universities and perhaps tie their access to federal funding to their performance, third-party rankings and ratings of colleges and universities continue to proliferate. What effects do these reports have on the priorities of these institutions and how should journalists interpret each new list of “bests”?
California became the first state in the country to describe what is meant by “yes means yes” during sexual encounters when Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law on Monday.
And it also puts the onus on California higher education institutions to reshape their sexual assault policies and reporting practices, as The Associated Press reported.
Our annual Higher Education Seminar took place in Dallas earlier this month — Southern Methodist University was our gracious host — and there have been some first-rate stories produced by EWA members who joined us for the event.
Stephanie Dupaul of Southern Methodist University put the theme of EWA’s 2014 Higher Education seminar, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Covering the College Student Experience,” to effective use during a session exploring the use of data by colleges:
Scott Jaschik of Inside Higher Ed talks to reporters at EWA’s 2014 Higher Education Seminar.
Recorded Sept. 6, 2014, at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
A new rating system backed by the White House aims to evaluate nearly all of the nation’s colleges and universities. Roughly 6,000 schools that educate around 22 million students are about to endure an unprecedented amount of federal scrutiny.
And though a version of the Postsecondary Institution Ratings System is scheduled to be unveiled in the fall, policy watchers are still unsure of what’s in store.
When Mark Milliron met with an advertising team to promote a new type of college in Texas, he wasn’t expecting fireworks. Still, the pitch floored him.
“The Texas Two-Step: Sign Up. Succeed.”
It was the sentence that would appear on billboards and in radio advertisements, enticing thousands of working adults to enroll in an online college – Western Governors University Texas. And it totally missed the point.
The Education Writers Association will host a seminar on Thursday, Sept. 4, in Dallas entitled “From Preescholar to Postsecundaria: Covering Latino Education.”
The seminar targets Spanish-language reporters and editors, and other journalists interested in covering Latino issues, though sessions will be held primarily in English.
Friday, Sept. 5
11 a.m. Tour of Southern Methodist University (optional)Laura Lee Blanton Building, Southern Methodist University
12-1 p.m. Lunch & Welcome