The EAB Daily Briefing

When two bachelor's degrees are better than one

June 15, 2016

By Ashley Delamater

While un- and underemployment rates for liberal arts graduates have decreased in the wake of the Great Recession, their salary potential still lags behind that of students in other disciplines until mid-career. As a result, recent graduates are increasingly looking to add skills related to high-demand fields in order to expand their job prospects and earning potential.

Threshold Skills Open Many Doors
Entry-Level Jobs and Salaries, 2012-2013

Threshold skills open many doors

Source: Burning Glass Labor/InsightTM

Traditional certificate and master’s degrees programs, however, are not always the best option for liberal arts graduates: certificates are easily accessible, but often met with skepticism by employers; while master’s degrees are well recognized but often beyond the reach of graduates with little prior education in the field.

Do you have a 'modern campus'? Here's a checklist.

Checklist: Five technologies that make for a 'modern campus'

July 28, 2016

EdTech magazine highlights five technologies every college needs for a modern campus that will attract and retain students. 

1: Wireless networks

With wireless devices more prevalent on college campuses than ever before, high-performing Wi-Fi networks are necessary to keep people connected. Use network surveys to identify the spaces that need more access points or equipment upgrades. Also try implementing controller-less Wi-Fi, which allows institutions to automatically apply configuration and authentic policies to different access points.

2: Cloud computing

Cloud-based services free up space in IT departments that would normally be responsible for maintaining and troubleshooting on-campus applications and infrastructures. Cloud computing also helps colleges better manage temporary spikes in wireless usage, such as during online testing and registration. Some public cloud platforms are specifically geared toward helping students navigate the cloud. 

What provosts are worried about today—and what they need from IT

3: Interactive whiteboards

Instructors can use multi-touch interactive whiteboards to work alongside students, whether figuring out math problems or drawing diagrams. Some software allows instructors to customize demonstrations or upload students' photos taken outside of class. Students can also download content from the interactive whiteboard to save for later, making the technology especially useful for studying.  

4: Video

Video is a multifaceted tool that holds value for a range of groups on campus. Students can access lectures for on-demand viewing from the comfort of their dorm rooms, while administrators can utilize video for alumni relations and funding campaigns, among other activities. Video is particularly important for on-campus safety and surveillance. To enhance security, connect video surveillance cameras to the cloud for storage purposes or other networked devices such as campus access-control systems. 

5: Digital signage

Digital signage is essential for communicating information efficiently to members of the campus community, especially in emergency situations. The best digital signage solutions are simple to connect to campus networks and allow users to enable central control messaging. Other options can track how many people pass by, helping administrators figure out the best locations to set up digital signage (Joch, EdTech, 7/25). 

The unexpected consequences of promoting timely graduation

When students graduate faster, enrollment patterns shift

July 28, 2016

While colleges are nudging students toward on-time graduation, they must also contend with the effects on course scheduling, section sizes, and more.

In 2008, 40% of students in the United States who entered college for the first time as full-time freshmen graduated within four years. Meanwhile, the six-year graduation rate stands at about 60%.

And the longer that students stay in school, the more expensive their education becomes. A report last month from NerdWallet found that spending an extra two years in college can cost $300,000 over the course of a person's life when accounting for things such as money spent on tuition and loans, lost income, and missed retirement savings.

To keep students on track and help them save money, some colleges are changing the way that they price semesters and offer classes.

"The most effective way to lower student debt is to lessen the time toward completion," says Cleveland State University President Ron Berkman.

The university has attempted to boost its low four-year graduation rate by charging the same price for 18 credits as 12 per semester, as well as letting students register for a full year of courses to help them create a roadmap for their education.

Related: How meta-majors guide students toward on-time graduation

Colleges are also encouraging students to pay more attention to the number of credits they take each semester. More than 190 U.S. campuses have put in place or plan to implement within the next year "15-to-Finish" campaigns that push students to take 15 credits each term. Six states have launched these programs across their university systems.

Increasing on-time graduation rates is a priority for many institutions, but getting students to graduate on time creates new challenges.

The University of Texas at Austin realized it needed to increase the size of its freshman class to account for a huge targeted growth in its four-year graduation rate. Efforts such as early-warning signs and peer mentoring have had a significant effect on timely graduation.

"It certainly is a concern to manage the change in enrollment patterns," says David Laude, senior vice provost for enrollment and graduation management.

The University of Hawaii (UH) has also experienced big changes as the result of its emphasis on timely graduation. The four-year graduation rate at the Mānoa campus reached 27% for the class that entered in 2011, up from 21% two years before. That rate increased to 37% for students who took at least 15 credits in their first term.

Now UH must grapple with a swell in students who want to take larger course loads. One campus did not have enough space for students who wanted to take extra classes in a given term, says Risa Dickson, vice president of academic planning and policy.

How one institution identified where to focus their advising efforts—and retained 400 additional students

The university system is adjusting to what it hopes will be the "new normal" of improved graduation rates, Dickson says. It is adding online classes and reassessing the way it schedules introductory and advanced sections so that students can take the right classes to graduate. Between the spring of 2012 and this spring, UH's four-year institutions saw a 9.2% drop in enrollment because the system did not enroll enough freshmen to account for the surge in graduating seniors.

"It's quite frightening," Dickson says. "When students take six years, you do have two more years of revenue from them. But we have to remember this is a good thing" (Korn [1], Wall Street Journal, 7/25; Korn [2], Wall Street Journal, 7/25).

What international students want out of higher ed

Survey reveals why people study abroad

July 28, 2016

What do international students hope to get out of their time studying in the U.S.?

The Global Citizen Index, based on a survey conducted by Flywire, identified the top reasons people attend U.S. colleges and universities. To conduct the survey, built an online, confidential survey and sent it to current and former students from Indian, China, and South Korea who left their home countries to study. The about 620 respondents were asked why they traveled internationally to study, which degrees they sought, what their family backgrounds were like, how they financed school, and what influenced their decisions. Researchers also interviewed "representative global citizens" from China and India to get a more nuanced understanding of the survey results.

Researchers found that 93% of Indian respondents said they left their country to pursue a graduate degree, while 72% of South Korean and 61% of Chinese students reported seeking a bachelor's. Individuals from these three countries make up the largest shares of foreign students studying in the United States.

They also found that 91% of Indian students and 51% of Chinese students enrolled in study abroad programs to earn a degree in a specific field—mostly centered in STEM and business.

While 68% of Chinese respondents said receiving a better education was the most, or a very, important factor in studying abroad, 54% of Indian students said the most, or a very, important factor in studying abroad was the ability to experience a new culture.

Researchers also found improved career opportunities heavily played into students' decisions. Sixty-four percent of Indian respondents said pursuing a career they otherwise wouldn't have had access to was a very, or the most important factor in their decisions. 

How to expand international enrollment

Additionally, nearly half of Indian students worked while attending school to cover the costs. On average, household income is just $31,000 in India. Meanwhile, students from South Korea, where the average household income is about $96,000, are in a better position to fund their international educations.

Jarrett Carter of Education Dive writes that U.S. schools should market their professional degree programs and tracks graduate degrees when targeting potential international students. Offering financial aid, depending on which nation the students are coming from, may also increase enrollment, he writes. 

International student career development

Additionally, institution leaders should consider forging relationships with Chinese, Indian, and South Korean corporations to build internship opportunities and career pipelines for international students (Global Citizen Index, 2016; Carter, Education Dive, 7/26). 

33 presidents issue national call to reduce gun violence

'America's HBCUs were the birthplace of the idea that Black lives matter to our country'

July 28, 2016

A group of historically black colleges and university presidents has issued an open letter calling for peace in the midst growing gun violence, Jarrett Carter reports for HBCU Digest.

The letter, signed by 33 sitting presidents, marks the first and largest coordinated effort by higher education leaders to address gun violence since a slate of high-profile shootings in Falcon Heights, Minnesota; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Dallas. The letter also comes after six HBCUs experienced incidents of gun violence on or near campus last fall.

The HBCU leaders emphasize the continued importance of their institutions to black people in the U.S., noting that "America's HBCUs were the birthplace of the idea that Black lives matter to our country."

In seeking to uplift the black community, the presidents ask all Americans to take part in efforts "that are intended to help propel our country forward to become a more perfect union." They call for the creation of the first-ever HBCU National Symposium on Gun Violence and a commitment to raising awareness about the impact of gun violence on the loved ones of victims.

Black UVA student arrest, injuries spark police brutality discussions

"We know that none of these activities will bring back the lives that have been lost," the presidents write, but "our hope... is that these efforts will foster dialogues that help to accelerate the creation of an environment where all human lives are valued equally and ...  discrimination based on one's skin color, gender, and economic standing will become a relic of the past" (Carter, HBCU Digest, 7/20).

Prevent state brain drain with college, business partnerships

'Internships separate potential job candidates'

July 28, 2016

It's imperative that colleges and businesses work together to provide students with internship experiences, two experts argue in a USA Today op-ed. 

Ray Allen, Wisconsin's secretary for the Department of Workforce Development (DWD), and Ray Cross, the president of the University of Wisconsin (UW) system, took to the national publication to lobby for more industry-higher education collaboration.

Internships both narrow the skills gap and prevent brain drain, they say. 

Administering funded internship programs

"Demonstrating professionalism in a work environment provides a potential employer with a glimpse of how an intern can benefit their business long-term and gives them confidence to invest in a young adult's future," Allen and Cross write. "Internships separate potential job candidates."

In March of this year, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed into law a requirement that the Department of Workforce Development ensure two full-time positions exclusively work on connecting students with area businesses—boosting the number of graduates with real-world experience in their field of study.

"This is a win-win for the student, for the employer, for our education and talent development systems, and for Wisconsin's economy," Allen and Cross write.

" /> Preparing students for the workforce

But the process must involve more than just the DWD and UW, they say. They must also educate private universities, technical colleges, and state businesses on the importance of internships.

In Wisconsin, this involves a series of regional workforce alignment workshops involving the UW system, DWD, the Wisconsin Technical College system, the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and others.

"Students who participate in internships develop important skills employers are seeking, demonstrate their professionalism to a potential employer, expand their network and acquire experience to add to their resume after graduation," Allen and Cross write. "Employers have the opportunity to see potential employees in action, provide mentorship to help students thrive after graduation, and play an active role in retaining home-grown talent" (Allen/Cross, USA Today, 7/22). 

Market demand for career pathways programs

Around the industry: Pepperdine University drops Title IX exemption

Bite-sized college and higher education industry news

July 28, 2016

  • California: Pepperdine University has informed the Education Department that it no longer seeks to be exempt from Title IX. For the past two years, Pepperdine has argued that because the law bars discrimination against LGBT students, it violates the university's Christian values. In a statement, Pepperdine said, "Early this year, the university withdrew from the previously granted exemption because it does not fully reflect Pepperdine's values today. We believe that Pepperdine's mission and the goals of Title IX are aligned, and we are committed to complying with Title IX in its entirety" (Inside Higher Ed, 7/26).
  • New York: Bard College's Center for Civic Engagement has been granted two one-year cooperative agreements totaling $520,000 with the State Department to support two initiatives from the Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI). The grants will go toward the SUSI for Student Leaders on Civic Engagement and the SUSI for Scholars on U.S. Foreign Policy. The awards could be renewed for two more years (Botelho, University Business, 7/26).
  • Pennsylvania: Waynesburg University is using a grant from Chevron Appalachia to offer an academic camp in STEM subjects to high school students. Earlier this month the university hosted 16 high school students to learn about subjects such as field biology, forensic science, and microscopy. "We want to get them excited, that if you're interested in science and technology, there's a future out there, and it's probably a lot bigger than you realize," says Waynesburg chemistry professor Evonne Baldauff (Morris, Herald-Standard, 7/23).

Follow-up report: How Pokémon Go is playing out on campuses

Catching 'pocket monsters' can be a dangerous pursuit

July 27, 2016

In the weeks since its launch, the Pokémon Go app continues to take college campuses by storm, for better and for worse.

The augmented reality game has grown incredibly popular on campuses, with students venturing out to collect as many "pocket monsters" as possible. Many colleges are pleased to see students exploring campus, getting exercise, and interacting with one another. Some institutions are even encouraging students to take advantage of all the opportunities to hunt for Pokémon on campus with special events and activities. Some schools like American University have created maps highlighting important landmarks for players. Saint Leo University offered prospective students a tour of campus, complete with 17 "PokéStops" where players can load up on virtual supplies.

Pokémon take over college campuses

While Pokémon Go has been a fun break from reality for college students, the game doesn't come without its risks. Administrators have been warning students about the dangers of collecting Pokémon in light of several incidents. Some students have been so engrossed in the game that they have suffered from health issues or found themselves in hazardous situations.

Two weeks ago, three students at the University of Maryland, College Park had their phones stolen while playing Pokémon Go. One Texas A&M University student playing the game injured himself after becoming dehydrated and having a seizure.

Also at Texas A&M, a person driving while playing the game parked in a bike lane to catch a Pokémon. Another motorist playing the game crashed into the parked car. Both drivers received citations.

Meanwhile, an alumnus of the University of Oklahoma got stuck inside the school's football stadium while hunting for a Pokémon before being freed by a school employee.

Student safety and crime prevention programs within student affairs

Besides safety concerns, some universities have also advised students to be more conscientious about hunting Pokémon near hallowed places. The College of the Ozarks, home to the Missouri Vietnam Veterans Memorial, has asked the public to stop playing the game on campus so that visitors may "have a moment of quiet reflection in those spaces to honor the fallen and show respect to those veterans who have served our country," says spokesperson Valorie Coleman. Students are permitted to play Pokémon Go in their dorms and common areas (Svrluga, "Grade Point," Washington Post, 7/21; Sandoval, Chronicle of Higher Education, 7/22; Riley, Springfield News-Leader, 7/19).