Is it time to replace teaching centers?

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that existing teaching centers at institutions of higher education aren’t enough to meet the demands of today’s education, according to Steven Mintz at the University of Texas at Austin. While teaching centers were created with the respectable goal to help faculty with course design, inclusive teaching, classroom technology and more, the reality of education today requires centers better capable of driving academic transformation more at the university level. According to Mintz:

“The current crises offer an opportunity to put into place the educational infrastructure designed for the 21st rather than the 20th century — one that will address systemic inequalities; facilitate data-driven, anytime, anywhere support services; and better equip students for the future of work. A center for educational innovation would assume responsibility for implementing and overseeing the strategies that campuses adopt.”

These centers, which Mintz calls “Centers for Education, Innovation, and Research”, would replace teaching centers with units charged with four responsibilities: educational enhancement, strategy, infrastructure, and evaluation and research.

With the pandemic challenging existing models of higher education, these centers are well-positions to help institutions adapt to the post-pandemic future by identifying new opportunities and challenges, driving innovation, and assessing program performance, among other benefits.

Read more about Centers for Education, Innovation and Research here.

Campus closures likely to hit low-income college students harder

As classes at colleges and universities across the United States are moved online, and as some students are being told to move out of their residence halls, the COVID-19 coronavirus is creating more uncertainty.

A commentary from CNN argues that forcing students to leave campus is likely to have a disparate effect on low-income students who may not the resources to return home or connect to online classes.

Many schools do not yet have a clear public plan for how to handle students who can’t go home: those whose homes are in affected countries, those who are low-income and rely on financial aid for their housing, those whose homes don’t offer space conducive to learning (not every home has the fast WiFi connection necessary for online classes), those who may not have a bed or place to stay in their childhood homes, and those who support themselves and don’t have homes to go back to.

Many low-income students rely on their schools for housing, food, and income—including work-study income (the only income many international students can legally make).

Some first-generation college students also support family members back home by paying bills, sending cash and otherwise sharing their resources with a network of people who all rely on one another. An unexpected change can have dire consequences for a family.

Read more at American School and University

For some colleges, missing the fall semester may be just the tip of the iceberg

“All of our formerly reliable sources of revenue — tuition, research grants, clinical revenue, private philanthropy and income from our investments and endowment — will almost certainly be significantly and adversely affected.”

With this dire pronouncement, Duke University, the wealthy private school in North Carolina, announced a total hiring, building and salary freeze for the coming year.
Dozens of other universities have done likewise, shaken not only by the current costs associated with shutting down campuses and refunding student fees, but trying to prepare for an uncertain future. Yale University has already frozen hiring until June 2021 — more than a year away — predicting that things are only going to get worse.

Covid-19 Will Lower College Enrollment, Then Boost It

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to upend American life, colleges and universities are bracing for a significant drop in student enrollment. The American Council on Education, a higher education lobby group, projects that on-campus college enrollment will fall by 15% in the fall semester, costing institutions about $23 billion in foregone revenue. That’s enough of a hit to the sector to force many college campuses to close. But schools that can remain open through the pandemic are poised to capture a surge in enrollment, once it’s safe for students to return to the classroom.

It’s almost certain that college enrollment in the coming academic year will drop. Even if the pandemic is under control to an extent that campuses can reopen by the fall, students may be reluctant to sit in crowded lecture halls while the virus remains at large. If the pandemic is still too dangerous to allow in-person learning to resume, most colleges will move instruction online. Many students will balk at the prospect of paying full tuition to learn from their computers, especially those at expensive private colleges. Either scenario promises a short-term fall in the number of students enrolled.

Read the full commentary from The Manhattan Institute – a think tank focused on the major challenges facing today’s universities, including rising costs, the lack of intellectual pluralism, and the failure to provide students with a substantive education.

How COVID-19 Could Shift The College Business Model: ‘It’s Hard To Go Back’

Could A Virus Accelerate Disruption Of The Four-Year Degree?

The price tag of a four-year degree has increased almost eight times faster than wages. But what will happen as we hit an unemployment rate that is the highest since the Great Depression?

It took just a few tumultuous weeks to completely change the entire U.S. higher education system. Campuses sit empty as millions of students are back in households that already fighting to pay the cost of college, and are now closing businesses, losing jobs, and struggling to pay even basic expenses.

Those students with internet access have been thrust overnight into hastily prepared digital substitutes of the campus experience. Could this abrupt and far-reaching shift put enough pressure on the college business model to trigger lasting change?

Read the whole post on Forbes.

Distance Learning Ramp-up: A Strategic View

Excellent article and interview with Arizona State University’s EdPlus CEO Phil Regier, discussing how ASU has shifted the whole student body to online learning during its COVID-19 campus closure.

In this article, Regier discusses lessons learned by EdPlus and ASU Online over the last ten years, including both the pains and promise of online learning.

Read the full article from Campus Technology.