By: Kimberly A. Piatt
Ah, the summer months. For most college campuses, it is a time of recovery and renewal; a chance to reflect on the successes and, dare I say it, failures of the year gone by. The relative quiet, and much more manageable inbox, allows student affairs professionals the chance to accomplish all the things they weren’t able to get to during semesters that never seem to have enough time. If your campus is anything like mine, there is an emphasis on using the assessment cycle to evaluate and improve programs – and summertime provides just the opportunity to spend some time “closing the loop.”
As is assuredly clear by now, any meaningful assessment doesn’t just stop once the numbers are tabulated, responses coded and results reported. The true impact of assessment is felt when it is used to generate improvements and future goals. Time spent in strategic planning takes the knowledge gleaned from the data to create a meaningful course of action. Recently, the Student Leadership Programs Knowledge Community (SLPKC) had the opportunity to engage in such a process while seeking to better meet the needs of its members.
In the early months of 2013, the SLPKC Leadership Team designed and implemented a Membership Feedback Survey, hoping to better understand if they were reaching members effectively and to assess overall satisfaction. The survey was designed through collaborative question development, with many team members contributing to specific questions and survey’s overall design, implementation, and analysis. The results not only provided information about our core audience, including position, years in the field, and forms of leadership development offered, but it offered insight into our impact as a knowledge community.
Upon reflection, the SLPKC Leadership team was able to identify areas of strength, particularly our newsletter and webinar series as professional development options. We were also able to determine that we need to do a better job of interacting with our members and promoting the wonderful things happening within the Knowledge Community. As a result, we have already begun the planning process for different initiatives that will allow us to have a direct impact on our members.
Yes, summer can be a time for rest and relaxation, but it can also be a time of revolution! So as the summer days are drifting away, take a second, or several, to reflect.
To view the full article on the SLPKC Membership Feedback Survey, be sure to check out the June issue of the SLPKC Newsletter!
The intent of this monthly blog is to provide NASPA Region-II readers with updates associated with a few current and emerging issues of public policy that are of interest to institutions of higher education, especially in regard to the NASPA Public Policy Agenda priorities for 2012-2013:
- Student success and college completion
- Issues related to undocumented students
- Cost of and funding for higher education, including related accountability efforts
- Campus Safety and Security
Links are provided to related websites and on-line articles (when available) but the reader should not assume these to be the only such resources. If you have any ideas for topics, please contact Region II Public Policy Rep Thomas Grace at email@example.com.
- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -
COST OF AND FUNDING FOR HIGHER EDUCATION:
STUDENT RIGHT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO ACT
This proposed Congressional legislation would require colleges to collect and disaggregate data related to graduates’ salaries by major and program; graduation and remediation rates; success rates for students who receive a Pell Grant or veterans’ benefits; and other benchmarks not currently collected in such detail. The bill also calls for a federal “unit record” database — a database administered by the Education Department that could track students through college and into the work force….
- See Chronicle of Higher Education at: http://chronicle.com/article/Bipartisan-Bill-Revives-Fight/139175/
COST OF AND FUNDING FOR HIGHER EDUCATION:
STUDENT LOAN INTEREST RATE BILLS
On May 16th, 2013, Senate Democrats introduced a bill that would keep the interest rate on subsidized student loans at 3.4 percent for another two years at a cost to the government of $8.6 billion. The interest rate for subsidized Stafford loans, need-based loans that don’t accumulate interest while students are enrolled in college, will double to 6.8 percent on July 1st if Congress does not act…
- See Inside Higher Ed at: http://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2013/05/16/senate-leaders-introduce-student-loan-interest-rate-bill
And other bills also have been presented to address the issue of escalating college cost and the related debt burden. Among them….( thank you to Brian A. Sponsler, Ed.D. Vice President for Research and Policy NASPA for the following information)
House Education and Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Higher Education and Workforce Subcommittee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) have introduced a bill to address the pending rate increase by moving the federal student loan system to a variable rate. H.R. 1911, the Smarter Solutions for Students Act, would move all federal student loans (except Perkins Loans) to a variable interest rate tied to the 10-year Treasury Note. Under this proposal, subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans would be calculated using the 10-year Treasury Note plus 2.5 percent. Graduate and parent PLUS loans would be an additional 2 percentage points higher than Stafford. Loans would be recalculated yearly, and rates could increase or decrease yearly throughout the life of the loan. An interest rate cap is set at 8.5 percent for Stafford and 10.5 percent for PLUS and graduate loans.
- See website at: http://edworkforce.house.gov/smartersolutions/
On the Senate side, Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) have introduced a bill aimed at a long-term solution for student loan interest rates. The Responsible Student Loan Solutions Act of 2013 sets interest rates annually based on the 91-day Treasury bill, plus a percentage determined by the Secretary of Education to cover program administration and borrower benefits. Subsidized Stafford loan interest rates are capped at 6.8 percent, and parent and unsubsidized rates are capped at 8.25 percent. It would also allow borrowers who have higher fixed-rate federal student loans to refinance.
- See website at: http://www.reed.senate.gov/news/release/lawmakers-unveil-long-term-fix-to-help-keep-student-loans-affordable
Additionally, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has introduced a bill, the Bank on Student Loans Fairness Act, that would provide a one-year fix to the impending interest increase by setting the rate for federal subsidized Stafford loans at the primary interest rate offered to banks through the Federal Reserve. This would set rates at 0.75 percent.
- See website at: http://business.time.com/2013/05/10/elizabeth-warren-students-should-get-the-same-rate-as-the-bankers/
STUDENT SUCCESS AND COLLEGE COMPLETION:
THE COLLEGE BOARD
This College Board website offers information about, and links to resources concerning, programs and policies that organizations and policymakers may implement to effectively address the ten recommendations of the College Completion Agenda. The policies listed here were collected in collaboration with the National Conference of State Legislatures. The programs illustrated here come from the annual CollegeKeys Compact™ compendium of best practices for addressing the needs and challenges of low-income students and helping them get ready for, get into and get through college.
- See College Board webpage at: http://completionagenda.collegeboard.org/programs-policies
STUDENT SUCCESS AND COLLEGE COMPLETION:
HISPANIC COLLEGE-GOING RATE TOPS WHITE RATE
An all-time high of 69 percent of Hispanics who graduated from high school in 2012 enrolled in college that fall, according to analysis by the Pew Research Center. This is a greater proportion than that of white graduates that year….
- See the Pew Foundation at: http://www.pewhispanic.org/2013/05/09/hispanic-high-school-graduates-pass-whites-in-rate-of-college-enrollment/
DELAYS AT THE BORDER DUE TO NEW SEVIS RELATED REGS
Universities are reporting that students arriving in the United States are experiencing delays at border checkpoints since the implementation of new procedures requiring the verification of Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) status at border checkpoints. The new procedures were put in place after it was found that an international student accused of aiding in the destruction of evidence related to the Boston Marathon bombings was allowed to reenter the country on a terminated visa…
- See Inside Higher Ed at: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/05/09/new-protocols-requiring-verification-sevis-status-cause-delays-ports-entry
CAMPUS SAFETY AND SECURITY:
U.S. FINES YALE $165,000 FOR MISREPORTING SEXUAL OFFENSES
Underscoring the importance of meeting institution’s obligation to adequately report and address sexual misconduct matters, the U.S. Education Department notified Yale University that it intends to fine the institution $165,000 for failing to include several sex offenses that occurred nearly a decade ago in Yale’s Clery report…
- See Inside Higher Ed at: http://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2013/05/16/us-fines-yale-165000-misreporting-sexual-offenses
CAMPUS SAFETY AND SECURITY:
CAMPUS SEXUAL VIOLENCE ACT (SaVE Act)
The The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (“VAWA”), which President Obama signed into law on March 7, 2013 imposes new obligations on colleges and universities under its Campus Sexual Violence Act (“SaVE Act”) provision, Section 304. Those obligations refine and clarify, and to
some extent change, existing legal requirements and government agency enforcement statements. Most importantly, as the American Council on Education notes in its summary, institutions of higher education must review their policies and practices to assure compliance with this new law…
- See ACE website at: http://www.acenet.edu/news-room/Documents/VAWA-Summary.pdf
CAMPUS SAFETY AND SECURITY:
STATES ARE DEBATING WHETHER TO ALLOW GUNS ON CAMPUS
Pennsylvania - Five of Pennsylvania’s 14 state-owned universities ended their blanket bans on concealed weapon carry under guidance from the state system, but political leaders quickly shifted gears and told PA institutions to sit tight — leaving those that already switched over stuck with new policies allowing guns on campus….
- See Daily World at: http://www.dailyworld.com/usatoday/article/2152625
Texas - The Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee voted 4-2 to send a bill to the full Senate that will allow licensed gun holders to carry their weapons into classrooms and campus buildings.
- See The Dallas News at: http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2013/05/gun-toting-students-a-step-closer-as-campus-carry-heads-to-full-senate.html/
NASPA- Several professional and student organizations have taken a position on campus safety as it pertains to the issue of the carrying of concealed weapons by students. Links to some of these statements and other resources are available on the NASPA website…
- See the NASPA Webpage at: http://www.naspa.org/divctr/concealcarry.cfm
National Conference of State Legislatures – The website of this organization has info on state and federal action on this issue…
- See NCSL webpage at: http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/educ/guns-on-campus-overview.aspx
ACCESS AND TUITION
With action stalled on the Dream Act at the federal level, public policy is now being examined – and action taken – on a state by state basis. Some recent developments are…
Minnesota – Minnesota would become one of the most generous states in the nation toward undocumented college students under a plan recently approved by the state Senate. The new measure would allow undocumented students to become eligible for state financial aid, in-state tuition and private scholarships. It would make Minnesota one of 16 states to offer in-state tuition to undocumented students and one of just four to offer them financial aid….
- See StarTribune at: http://www.startribune.com/politics/205638851.html?refer=y
Indiana – A bill passed by the Indiana Senate and headed to the Governor’s desk will restore in-state tuition to about 200 undocumented college students, some of whom are speaking out about the issue…
- See Channel 59 News at: http://fox59.com/2013/04/23/undocumented-hoosier-college-students-speak-out-after-bill-passes-senate/#axzz2TZ6sfKk6
Colorado – House of Representatives , working with the Governor’s office, passed a measure to allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition…
- See La Plaza at: http://www.latinovations.com/2013/03/11/undocumented-college-students-to-pay-lower-in-state-tuition-in-colorado/
Pennsylvania – bill in the state Senate Education Committee to allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition…
- See Channel 69 News: http://www.wfmz.com/news/Pennsylvania-considers-its-own-Dream-Act/-/121458/20168024/-/ihmeow/-/index.html
New York – Rally in Albany to support the passage of the New York State Dream Act…
- See NY Daily News at: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/bronx/kids-roll-donut-support-dream-article-1.1344633
Educators for Fair Consideration and The College Board – both agencies published a manual for parents of undocumented students seeking to attend college….
- See EFFC PDF at: http://e4fc.org/images/E4FC_ParentGuide.pdf
- See College Board at: http://professionals.collegeboard.com/guidance/financial-aid/undocumented-students
Associate Dean of Student
Frostburg State University
Athletics are often an integral part of the college experience and can serve as a source of pride for students, faculty, and alumni. According to the NCAA, there are more than 450,000 student-athletes participating at 1,066 member institutions. Retention rates and graduation rates for student-athletes tend to be higher than non-athletes, and athletics often play a major role in the enrollment management strategies for institutions of higher education. Depending on the division, approximately ten percent of freshmen students matriculating each Fall can be attributed to participating in intercollegiate athletics.
In October 2011, NASPA and the NCAA entered into a partnership for Drug and Alcohol Education. Specifically, NASPA’s AOD Knowledge Community committed to work collaboratively with over 450 Division III institutions in developing customized alcohol and drug prevention programs. Student-athletes tend to have higher binge drinking rates than non-athletes (Bracken, 2012) and also tend to experience more alcohol-related harms (Geisner, Grossbard, Kilmer, Larimer, & Neighbors, 2007). Subsequently, through a mutual relationship, NASPA agreed to provide expertise in working with athletic departments, coaches, and student-athletes by identifying research-informed best practices. The NCAA provides financial support via funding research pilot projects and alcohol prevention initiatives through CHOICES grants to member institutions.
At the 2012 Winter Meeting, NASPA fortified the commitment to highlight the importance student-athletes by approving the establishment of a Student-Athlete Knowledge Community. Mary Anne Nagy of Monmouth University and Robert Gatti of Otterbein University serve as co-chairs for the new SAKC, which held its inaugural meeting at the 2013 NASPA Annual Conference in March. Leah Kareti is the leadership representative from the NCAA and will be facilitating monthly conference calls for SAKC members beginning next week. SAKC has the following purpose: “create and advance knowledge in higher education specific to how partnerships among athletics, student affairs and other campus entities could enhance the well-being of all students, including student-athletes.”
Regardless of one’s views on intercollegiate athletics, for many students, participating in athletic endeavors in college provides personal enrichment, promotes a healthy lifestyle, and creates experiences that can enhance opportunities for future success. The Student-Athlete Knowledge Community plans to advocate for issues related to health and wellness of student-athletes, promote student development theories when considering policy implications, and work collaboratively with the NCAA in managing resources related to AOD prevention and education. Please feel free to contact the SAKC leadership team or me for additional information. Best wishes,
Bracken, N. (2012). National Study of Substance Use Trends Among NCAA College Student Athletes. Indianapolis, IN: National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Geisner, I., Grossbard, J., Kilmer, J., Larimer, M., & Neighbors, C. (2007). Are drinking games sports? College athlete participation in drinking games and alcohol-related problems. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. 68(1), 97-105.
The year 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the first call made on a “modern” cellular handset by Dr. Martin Cooper who at the time was working for Motorola. It is incredible to think about the speed that things have changed, and while I am still young and was not alive before this technology was released to the public, I can appreciate the changes that have come in my short lifetime. Such anniversaries should drive reflection on how far we have come and what positive and negative results have transpired. It is appropriate then, that on this anniversary debate is in full swing around the issue of exactly how technology is affecting higher education.
Massive Open Online Courses, commonly referred to by their acronym of MOOC has seen rapid development in the past two years, developing from a fringe idea into credit bearing courses. Companies such as EdX and Coursera are striving to change the world of higher education. Coursera lists on their website that the goal of the company is to help shape a future where “…everyone has access to a world-class education that has so far been available to a select few.” These companies and others are pushing the boundaries of educational delivery and pedagogy, raising interesting questions and as of recently, passionate debate.
Much of 2012 and the start of 2013 was marked by a sharp growth in the use and acceptance of MOOCs. Articles were being written every week discussing the new agreements that were in the works and the development of credentials. Major institutions were seen jumping on board and making MOOCs part of their traditional programs in order to keep up with the growing trend and to deal with greater attention towards issues of access. All in all it looked like a banner year and things could only get better.
Recently there has been a growing clamor against the way that MOOCs and other large learning platforms are being introduced into higher education. Professors at San Jose State University rejected the idea of bringing in MOOCs to cover some credit courses for philosophy. From the point of view of the professors the danger is that the movement is driven by financial goals of the administration to cut back on teaching faculty by simply repackaging previously aired classes.
So what are we to do with these MOOCs? How are we to feel about online education? How should we feel about the impact of technology on education? There are a lot of zealots in the world from both sides of the issue. On May 8, 2013, The Chronicle of Higher Education published two countervailing stories: one on a recent gathering of scholars to talk about the “dark side” of technology developments, and one discussing how a partnership was allowing students to access high cost textbooks on a low cost MOOC budget. This dichotomy, while it may seem troubling, is actually the most desirable outcome.
The core value of education, and the goal for higher education, is the development of critical thought; the blending of various view points in the creation of one’s own stance. The loud noise currently projecting from both sides of technology question serve the important purpose of presenting opposing views.
The goal for everyone now is to start to ask the hard questions and work towards creating answers. Should classes go totally online? Do prepackaged courses undermine the diverse nature of education? To what degree should higher education be standardized and what role does technology play in that? How should technology impact classroom pedagogy? Most important, how does technology affect learning and how should we leverage or limit it to provide the most vibrant learning environment possible? This debate, if done right, will not take away from education, it will not even delay the implementation of advancements, it will simply help to produce well thought out and planned changes. After all, our students deserve it.
By: Justin Dandoy, Sustainability KC
In the last Sustainability KC blog entry, we tried to get a preliminary definition of “sustainability,” especially how it relates to higher education (http://naspa2.wordpress.com/2012/05/10/kc-wednesday-oh-great-sustainability/) .
In the NASPA Spring 2013 KC Publication (http://www.naspa.org/kc/Spring-2013-KC-Publication-FINAL.pdf), we took that definition a little further. We began to talk about action, and addressed utilizing a social change approach to tackling the sustainability conversation at our own individual institutions. In the article, we talked about how that process gets started, which, of course, included assessment.
As we all know, assessment is key in our efforts in higher education. I can give my colleagues in the NASPA Assessment, Evaluation and Research Knowledge Community a shout out at this point, and hope that you utilize the resources available to you: http://naspa.org/kc/saaer/. But, if we are still having trouble defining sustainability, how can we assess it?
As we assess sustainability efforts in higher education, there are some wonderful resources out there. In 2010, the NASPA Sustainability KC took a survey of our members, and in the report, we found that a number of our members where from institutions who were also members of the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). AASHE has continued to be a great resource and partnership in our NASPA sustainability efforts. (www.aashe.org)
AASHE has served as a great source of information, not to mention a place for sustainability officers and advocates who are a part of NASPA to network (NASPA members have met regularly at AASHE conferences). But, in this case, AASHE can also serve as a place to take our sustainability assessment to the next level. AASHE has a program called the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS), which is a, “transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance” (https://stars.aashe.org/).
If your institution has defined sustainability in a way that suits your college or university, and the appropriate people have been brought together to start the discussion about sustainability at your school, STARS can be an efficient and organized way to move your institution forward with a particular plan. It provides a framework for assessment, not to mention provides a way to report the data collected. If your institution is ready to move forward in the sustainability discussion, this can be a wonderful tool to get you on your way.
Once you define it, start the conversation, and then assess your current efforts, you can set new goals and take the next steps. And that’s where your friendly neighborhood NASPA Region II Sustainability KC can come in. Once you’re ready to take those next steps, we have a network of schools at your disposal to connect with, not to mention all the information and resources that come along with them, to help you reach your next sustainability goal.
The highest rating an institution has received so far through STARS is a “Gold” rating. There are institutions right in Region II that are both Gold STARS rated as well as NASPA member institutions, including Carnegie Mellon, Ithaca College, University of Massachusetts Amherst and St. John’s University! Our hopes are that through our shared network and resources, we can all reach our goals in sustainability, and bring about the social change we need!