Progress at new colleges: Sattler College, an innovative Christian startup in Boston, announces its inaugural class of 2022, while Portland’s Wayfinding Academy will host its first graduation ceremony on July 21.
Reflecting the increased attention towards doing whatever it takes to keep students enrolled to the point of graduation, a partnership between the University of Virginia and some nonprofit organizations offers resources for educators to help them “nudge” students along. Described as “behavioral science meets college student success,” the group provides ideas on how various interventions (“a little push” here or there) can help attract and enroll students and shepherd them through to completion. The organization’s website includes a link to “Contact the Nudge Hotline,” in case any deans out there have an urgent crisis.
Nashville’s Meharry Medical College, one of the largest and oldest historically black medical schools in the country, has laid off 55 non-faculty staff, citing limited resources.
All over but the subpoenaing: An oversight committee from the Massachusetts state senate released a report finding much fault in the events leading up to the absorption of Mount Ida college into the UMass system. The report claims Mount Ida would have been better served by merging with Lassell College and questions the fiduciary diligence of Mount Ida’s leaders. The tone of the report shows a lot of resentment that Mount Ida did not publicize its decision-making process, saying “notification to the Department of Higher Education is critical when public and private educational institutions know they are in financial peril.” According to the Boston Herald, legislators have more questions for Mount Ida administrators and may resort to subpoenas and hearings to get answers.
US News and World Report has compiled a helpful list of the least expensive private college in each state.
A column in The American Spectator reminds us that “College isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay.” Paige Lambermont writes, “A refocusing of our ideals is in order. Parents, educators, and employers need to stop encouraging degrees for degree’s sake.”
A report by a nonprofit strategy firm recommends that West Virginia merge the governing boards of four of its state colleges. According to the report, Bluefield State College, Concord University, Glenville State College, and West Virginia State University are all at “medium to high risk” in sustainability, and “all the regional institutions are at risk of failure” over the long term. Presumably such a merger would only be a first step towards further consolidation and/or closure of these struggling schools.
For what it’s worth, the United States dominates the ranking of world universities compiled by QS, a British marketing company. The US takes the top four spots on the list, with MIT ranked first. The scoring is mostly based on measurements of reputation among academic peers and employers.
Honors ain’t what they used to be: The Wall Street Journal identifies massive inflation in the granting of honors, saying, “You graduated cum laude? So did everyone else.” The article offers the example of several well-known schools (including Harvard and Johns Hopkins) where more students graduated with honors than didn’t.