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In the News (April-May 2020)

  • 1.  In the News (April-May 2020)

    Posted 05-02-2020 11:22:00 AM
    Edited by Blake Ives 06-09-2020 11:13:02 AM

    In the News (April-May 2020)
    [News Archive]

    International Students

    Over 1 million international students are usually enrolled in U.S. higher education institutions.  They typically pay higher tuition than in country students.  In  full-time MBA programs, over one-third of the seats are typically filled with international students.  Those numbers, however, had already been declining prior to the pandemic, with a ten percent drop in new admissions from 2015-2016 tis 2018-2019.  But in 2020-2021, the falloff looks to be far more substantial and threatening to the financial well being of many colleges and universities.  The following four articles flesh out the details for U.S. schools.  We suspect universities in other countries who attract international students are facing similar challenges.

    Foreign student enrollment at U.S. universities may plummet this fall

     [June 1, 2020]  The Trump administration is preparing to restrict a program that allows international students at U.S. universities to work in the country after they graduate, according to press reports.”

    International student enrollments had already been  forecast  by the American Council on Education to decline by up to 25%. For U.S  four year public universities, foreign students on average bring in almost three times as much revenue ($22,048)  than an in-state student ($8,182).  


    International students wonder if U.S. business school worth it in coronavirus era

    [May 28, 2020]  The United States has been hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak, with more than 1.7 million cases and over 100,000 deaths. Higher education has been upended with most schools sending students home in the spring and moving classes online.”



    6 ways having fewer international students on college campuses hurts the U.S.

     [May 27, 2020]  While the number of international students who newly enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities during the 2015-2016 school year stood at more than 300,000, by the 2018-2019 school year, that number had fallen by about 10% to less than 270,000.”


    Losing international students because of the pandemic will damage colleges financially

     [May 26, 2020]  About 88 percent of colleges and universities surveyed expect international student enrollment to decline in the 2020-2021 school year and 30 percent expect a “substantial” decline.”



    Cambridge Vice Chancellor: Crisis could lead to job cuts in ‘worst-case scenario’

     [May 26, 2020] "Leader of UK’s richest institution says impact of coronavirus crisis means university will need to take substantial cost-saving measures."

    Well, the headline is a bit over dramatized, but even a University with £11.8 billion in assets (2018) is feeling the pinch.


    The Future of College is Online

     [May 26, 2020] Students apparently think that online education is either cheaper or worth less or both.  Is either one true?  Or not? Does the answer depend on other characteristics of the institution? The author of this NYT article (paywall) argues that online courses are highly scalable (true? false?), but will the degrees they make up then offer the same value? And what is the true cost of the digital transformation the university would need to undergo?  Were universities right or wrong to eschew online learing in the past? And, finally, why isn’t anyone talking about online PhD programs? Oh, right, Pepperdine has one.

    by Hans Taparia Clinical , Associate Professor at NYU Stern. Hans  teaches courses on entrepreneurship and innovation.)

    ----- Thanks to Cynthia Beath for the link and description


    Zoomers, zeros and Gen Z

     [May 21, 2020]  "The pandemic has widened two divides in the labour market."

    Zoomers are working from home and many are professionals continuing to make good money with some inconvenience but little risk.  The zero care those who have lost their jobs or who are forced to work, perhaps because their jobs are essential or because they must feed their families.  They were poorer to begin with and often come from minority populations.  Mortality rates from the zeros is higher as well.  The consequence is that 
    income inequality is growing worse.

    Those coming out of college are also described as being at a decided disadvantage with massive declines in available internships and sharp declines in entry level jobs.

    https://www.economist.com/business/2020/05/23/zoomers-zeros-and-gen-z [paywall]


    Partying Like It's 2019

     [May 21, 2020]  "Colleges are considering additions to their conduct codes to enforce social distancing measures next fall, but their reach only goes so far off-campus."

    The article describes several college's frustrations with, and inability to control, students (and parents who have defied social distancing requirements.

    Is Higher Ed Asking the Wrong Questions?

     [May 19, 2020]  "During a time of crisis, people are prone to focus on the tactical, but what we know already suggests we should be thinking longer term and for greater disruption."

    This thoughtful article pushes us to think beyond the tactical issue of "will we open in the fall, and towards trying to use the disruption to change university strategy. He proposes six questions including these two: " 
    How might we realign our products, budgets and delivery for a radically different world where people’s behavior is changed -- perhaps forever?" and "How might we pivot to more local students and issues (since local areas will be more easily isolated and adaptable in geographically shifting infection waves)?"

    IP Problems

     [May 19, 2020]  "Copyright ownership concerns abound in the rapid shift to remote instruction"

    Who owns that online course you created and put online - you or your university.  For now, you 
    probably do, but this article suggests this more about "convention" than the law.  Conventions could change.  Still, the AAUP has weighed in on the circumstances surrounding the great Covid-19 course migration.  The author quotes the following: "AAUP said that institutions 'should not take this opportunity to appropriate intellectual property to which they would not otherwise have had access' and Teaching materials moved online because of the 'one-time emergency created by COVID-19 are not the property of the institution for future use.'”


    Exigency Outlook Uncertain

     [May 19, 2020]  "Exigency declarations could help institutions stressed by the pandemic save money, but they also come with their own costs. Faculty advocates worry processes are being bypassed."

    Exigency declarations are 
    about laying off tenured faculty.  According to this article, this is a big "hammer," and one usual employed only in dire circumstances as it may signal that a university is in serious trouble.  Where it is resorted to, the article suggests, administrators may no longer follow the procedures in the faculty handbook.

    Another pandemic-related threat to universities: falling numbers of graduate students


    [May 13, 2020] "The biggest question is whether students from abroad will risk coming to the United States. While that’s a problem at all levels of higher education, it has much more of an impact on graduate programs, where international students make up 13 percent of the enrollment, compared to less than 3 percent of undergrads."

    "Even before the pandemic, new international student enrollment was already falling, according to the Institute for International Education, dropping more than 10 percent since the 2015-2016 academic year."


    Admissions expert on reopening colleges: What will schools do if kids break social distancing rules? Call the campus police?


    [May 13, 2020]  "Colleges that open are betting that these young and healthy students will not get sick or die of the disease or can be isolated to prevent a major outbreak. But we have not yet experienced such a large group of individuals who will be exposed to the virus, and we don’t know what will happen."

    "Those advocating for schools to reopen appear to assume students will always stick to social distancing rules. How realistic is that? Who thinks students will not engage in social activities at close quarters (have you met college students?), including having parties and sex. Young people are already aware that covid-19 does not seem to affect young people as much as older people."


    https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2020/05/13/longtime-educator-worries-that-colleges-are-moving-too-fast-reopening/?utm_campaign=wp_higher-education&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=feedly - Paywall

    How Online Learning Kept Higher Ed Open During the Coronavirus Crisis

    [May 13, 2020]  "Steering the giant lifeboat of academia from on-campus to online in just a few weeks has to count as one of the most unimaginable and exceptional feats ever achieved in higher education. Before the pandemic, only a third of U.S. college students were enrolled in online classes. Now, essentially all of them are."


    ‘If the Students Don’t Come Back, We’re Dead in the Water’: Loss of Sports Spells Trouble Far Beyond Athletic Departments


    [May 12, 2020]  "The financial implications of such disruption are likely to be enormous, and — for big-time programs — compounded by the cancellation of the March Madness basketball tournament, the NCAA’s biggest revenue driver. Athletics departments are already announcing multimillion-dollar shortfalls and job cuts. This week, the Florida Institute of Technology announced the elimination of its football program. And on Tuesday, California State University-East Bay announced that its fall season, along with that of all California Collegiate Athletic Association institutions, had been canceled."


    https://www.chronicle.com/article/Loss-of-Sports-Spells-Trouble/248762 - Paywall

    Little-noticed victims of the higher education shutdowns: college towns


    [May 11, 2020]  "In another measure of the massive economic toll of the pandemic on higher education, the resulting shutdowns have been singularly devastating to the college towns in which these campuses are situated."

    https://hechingerreport.org/little-noticed-victims-of-the-higher-education-shutdowns-college-towns/ - Paywall

    National Governors Association Recommends Increased Oversight of Colleges and Universities after COVID-19 

    [May 11, 2020]
    As the country looks to reopen after the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Governors Association (NGA) published guidance to help states identify and mitigate the effect on higher education.

    The NGA's  conclusion: "As the economy reopens following the COVID-19 crisis, colleges and universities should pay careful attention not only to the public health risk, but also increased financial scrutiny from their state regulatory bodies. Focusing on both aspects will ensure students return to a campus that is both physically safe and financially secure."


    The Coronavirus Enrollment Crash

    [May 7, 2020]
    While 419 colleges reported space available for new applicants after last year’s May 1 deposit deadline, this year 729 did so, by far the most such colleges the National Association for College Admission Counseling has listed in recent years. In a recent survey of college presidents, 86 percent said fall or summer enrollment was now among their most pressing issues.

    With unprecedented turmoil over standardized testing, the unmooring of the admissions calendar, and uncertainty around whether campuses will reopen for the fall-2020 semester, enrollment managers and consultants are confronting greater challenges than ever before. How do things look from where they sit? Here’s what they told us.

    Five admissions leaders on the pandemic's impact - and what can be done about it

    https://www.chronicle.com/article/The-Coronavirus-Enrollment/248724 - Paywall

    The Coming COVID-19 Higher-Ed Disaster

    [May 6, 2020] If you want a good, if rough, idea of the practical consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic's effect on state and local governments and their services, you can take a look at what happened not that long ago during and after the Great Recession.


    COVID-19 Won’t Lead to Higher-Ed Reform 

    [May 5, 2020] Over the past two decades, dissatisfaction with American higher education has grown at a steady clip. The main two complaints are that it’s too expensive and too radicalized. But despite wide-ranging debate over reform, no one has devised a way to make the four-year college degree incidental to the attainment of middle-class status.


    6 ways college Might Look Different in the fall

    [May 5, 2020] National Public Radio, E. Nadworny

    Another take on how universities are planning to safely operate in the (North American) fall.

    "So why are so many colleges announcing they will be back on campus in the fall?

    In many cases, it's because they're still trying to woo students. A survey of college presidents found their most pressing concern right now is summer and fall enrollment. Even elite schools, typically more stable when it comes to enrollment, have reportedly been tapping their waitlists."

    "In the midst of all this uncertainty, it's worth looking at some of the ideas out there. With the help of Joshua Kim and Edward J. Maloney, professors and authors of the book Learning Innovation and the Future of Higher Education."

    The article (and accompanying audio) goes on to list six alternatives:  all virtual, delayed start, some online/some face-to-face, shortened blocks, only some on campus, and  on campus with some changes,

    6 Ways College Might Look Different In The Fall

    S&P Slashes Outlook for 127 Colleges

    [May 1, 2020]
    S&P Global Ratings dropped outlooks on more than a quarter of the colleges and universities it rates because of the COVID-19 pandemic's effects on higher education.


    Coronavirus Pushes Colleges to the Breaking Point, Forcing ‘Hard Choices’ About Education

    [April 30, 2020] This must read (despite the paywall) WSJ article highlights the financial challenges, and in many cases, financial disasters, facing Universities today.

    “Every source of funding is in doubt. Schools face tuition shortfalls because of unpredictable enrollment and market-driven endowment losses. Public institutions are digesting
    steep budget cuts, while families are questioning whether it’s worth paying for a private school if students will have to take classes online, from home.”

    Universities dependent on sports revenue, and with long-term related contractual commitments may be at  particular risk.

    “Clemson University in South Carolina, a favorite to win the national football championship next fall if the season proceeds, gets nearly $31 million of its $128 million athletic budget from tickets, mainly football. No games, no money.”


    The end of the office? Coronavirus may change work forever

    [April 30, 2020]  Their employees have gotten used to working at home while companies face the need to cut costs.  Will we see major reductions in office buildings?  This FT (paywall) article explores that possibility. 

    "A PwC survey this week found that a quarter of chief financial officers were already thinking of cutting back on real estate..."

    “In six weeks we’ve taken almost the entirety of the back offices of corporate America and moved them to kitchens and living rooms and it’s been pretty seamless,” he said. 'People are getting used to it. The stray dog or the kid wandering into the conference call is now accepted in corporate and governmental America.'”

    Commercial realtors obviously take a dim view of this development and argue for thew benefits of FTF: “Most of us have now experienced the inefficiencies of working from home and miss the connectivity and productivity an office environment provides,” Thomas Durels, an Empire State Realty Trust executive".  Some predict that the need to desensitize will increase commercial space requirements.

    The End of the Office? Coronavirus may change work forever

    College Campuses Must Reopen in the Fall. Here’s How We Do It.

    [April 27, 2020]  by Christina Paxson, President of Brown University.

    "It won’t be easy, but there’s a path to get students back on track. Higher education will crumble without it."

    A very thoughtful article about the importance of reopening soon and the special care that must be taken given "that college campuses pose special challenges for addressing infectious disease."  Paxton says this will require that colleges "must also be sensitive to the particular challenge of controlling the spread of disease on a college campus. A typical dormitory has shared living and study spaces. A traditional lecture hall is not conducive to social distancing. Neither are college parties, to say the least. We must take particular care to prevent and control infection in this environment."

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/26/opinion/coronavirus-colleges-universities.html%20%C2%A0 - paywall

    How the Pandemic Is Pushing Blockchain Forward

    [April 27, 2020] HBR article by Remko van Hoek and Mary Lacity.

    "It has taken the Covid-19 pandemic to push through the obstacles to blockchain adoption. The virus has revealed the weaknesses in our supply chains, our inability to deploy resources where they are most needed to address the pandemic, and difficulties in capturing and sharing the data needed to make rapid decisions in managing it. Blockchain solutions that have been under development for years have been repurposed and unleashed to address these challenges."

    "How the pandemic is pushing blockchain forward"

    Teaching for 50 Years Did not Prepare Me For the Coronavirus

    [April 26, 2020] “You can’t effectively teach to a screen with 88 faces on it. Should families be paying the same tuition for online courses as live instruction?"

    Much of what Professor Baker describes will be old news now for most of us.  Online teaching is hard, the students are not (as) engaged, and it is completely different than teaching in the classroom. Baker describes it as an inferior pedagogy… disembodied, soulless and quirky”

    What caught my eye, however, were the economic and ethical issues he raises: “Should students or their parents be paying the same tuition for online courses as for live instruction? The fees at online schools such as the University of Phoenix are a fraction of what they are at colleges where instruction is predominantly provided by professors in face-to-face encounters with students?

    That reminded me of a video of the late Clayton Christianson presenting in 20 at USC in which he describes, in a rather humorous way, his own first hand experience with the University of Phoenix.  I describe it here.


    15 Fall scenarios: Higher Education in a Time of Social Distancing

    [April 22, 2020]
    This comes from  Inside Higher Ed and has a decidedly North American flavor if not perspective.  The authors outline 15 possible scenarios for the upcoming academic year.  These range from "back to normal," to "graduate students only," to "Students in Residence, Learning Virtually"Students in Residence, Learning Virtually."

    Thanks to Rajiv Sabherwal and Mary Lacity for bringing this to our attention.

    "Fifteen Fall Scenarios: Higher Education in a Time of Social Distancing"

    Combating COVID-19: Lessons from Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan

    [April 21, 2020]
     Ravi Aron  looks at how the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and US Congress have modified policies or laws in support of  wider adoption of telemedicine and Telehealth.  The consequent modifications in infrastructure, Aron suggests, provide opportunities for “complementary” benefits in other area - e.g., health, economy.  He then looks at how  The Singapore government’s investments in rapid and effective delivery of care were enhanced by the strategic use of ICT", and “The capabilities that South Korea developed to fight disaster stemming from geopolitical conflicts were amplified by its use of digital technologies to orchestrate a swift and cohesive response at scale to the pandemic.


    How to Be a Better Online Teacher 

    [March, 2020] Easy does it. Act natural. Be yourself.  Show Up for Class, Be Yourself, Put Yourself in Their Shoes, Organize the Course Intuitively, Add Visuals, Explain Your Expectations, Use Examples and Take Small Learning Steps, Make the Class a Pleasant Experience, and Commit to Continuous Improvement

    https://www.chronicle.com/article/Video-Kills-the-Teaching-Star/248631?cid=cp275https://www.chronicle.com/interactives/advice-online-teaching - paywall

    How the Financial Crisis and Great Recession Affected Higher Education

    [Dec 2014] Conference held September 27-28, 2012, Jeffrey R. Brown and Caroline M. Hoxby, editors."

    The goals of “How the Financial Crisis and Great Recession Affected Higher Education” were threefold: (a) to improve our under- standing of the economics of higher education, (b) to show factually how higher education changed during a period of great economic stress, and (c) to stimulate conversations between economists and university leaders. We believe that these conversations, once begun, will enrich economic analysis and sharpen researchers’ and university leaders’ thinking." [Thanks to Ali Khan  for this reference].


    Video: Clayton Christensen on the Advantages of Online Education Providers

    [April 11, 2012]    The Innovative University: The late Clay Christensen delivers the 2012 Pullias lecture at USC. This is a 90 minute talk, apparently to an audience that includes USC academicians.  While the entire talk is excellent, the five minute segment I particularly encourage you to look at starts at minute 29.  He describes preparing 10 lectures to be seen by  the University of Phoenix’s 135,000 MBA students and being amazed to discover they spend $350 Million per year on curriculum development.  If, as is the case today, we must compete in the online  education market, then we find ourselves competing against these established players in a market where scale is more important than is face-to-face instruction.

    Clayton Christiansen on Online Education