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Beyond the News

Helping faculty adopt instructional technology is a top IT priority in higher ed.

Although it has been a boon to commercial services such as Amazon, IBM, Microsoft and others, cloud computing hasn’t completely caught on in higher education. That’s according to the 2015 “Campus Computing Project” report, released in October at the Educause conference in Indianapolis.

Adult students engage with their instructor at Lipscomb’s behavioral assessment center, which uses tactics traditionally used in the corporate world to identify and to award credit for incoming students’ life experiences.

A series of initiatives championed by Gov. Bill Haslam in Tennessee—home of the Tennessee Promise free community college initiative—promotes higher education to learners of all ages.

The Reconnect + Complete initiative for degree completion aims for an elusive demographic: non-traditional students, many with families and careers, whose college experiences were cut short by illness, financial troubles or other issues.

While renovating the Rotunda at the University of Virginia, workers found a “chemical hearth” hidden behind the walls.

It turned out to have been part of an early science classroom commissioned by university founder Thomas Jefferson. The room, likely sealed in the mid-1800s, survived a fire in 1895 that destroyed much of the building’s interior.

The Oregon Promise program is similar to Tennessee Promise, which launched in fall 2015.

Oregon’s 17 community colleges expect a jump in fall 2016 enrollment, when the first group of eligible students takes advantage of the state’s new free tuition plan created this summer. The program is modeled after the groundbreaking Tennessee Promise initiative that enrolled its first students this year.

Columbia University students concerned with hunger on campus launched two initiatives this fall—one involving a mobile app—that help provide struggling classmates with meals.

The Emergency Meal Fund allows students on Columbia’s meal plan to donate up to six unused meals per semester. Any Columbia undergraduate or graduate student can register to receive a donated meal, no questions asked.

Students can request a maximum of six per term, and meal passes can be used at one of three residential dining halls.

The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success aims to make the college application process more relevant.

Over the years, college applications have become increasingly similar, with seemingly generic questions and check-boxes that often leave prospective students to wonder, “What does this have to do with me?” That’s part of what the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success aims to change.

Nayef H. Samhat, president of Wofford College, believes cost of attendance would limit athletics program options for students at schools like his. The Wofford’s men’s basketball team emerged from the 2014-15 season as Southern Conference regular season champions and Southern Conference Tournament champions.

Several prominent Division I conferences (including the American Athletic Conference and Conference USA) have expressed support for cost of attendance, and Division I schools such as the University of Virginia and The University of Alabama now provide it; but not all member schools are on board.

Participants in Austin Peay State University’s Full Spectrum Learning spend an hour per week covering the transition to college, social and independence skills, and academic success strategies.

Programs for students on the autism spectrum are no longer a unique campus concept, but Austin Peay State University’s Full Spectrum Learning (FSL) initiative stands out from the crowd.

Input in shaping FSL comes from all groups involved—especially students with autism who participate in the program and their upperclassmen mentors. In addition, the effort is housed in the Tennessee university’s education department rather than in the disabilities services office.

In 1969, three-quarters of faculty at U.S. colleges and universities were tenured or tenure-track. That number dropped to just above one-quarter in 2013. (Click to enlarge)

Colleges and universities have made spending on administrators and part-time instructors a higher priority than raising salaries of core faculty members who have the biggest impact on learning, says a new report from the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education.

Orientation and engagement activities introduced by Iowa Lakes Community College administrators have driven down the student loan default rate. President Valerie Newhouse says the two trends are intertwined.

Community college students who take out the smallest loans default at the highest rates, and many borrowers who get into trouble make no effort to fix their problems.

Those are two findings in a new report, “A Closer Look at the Trillion,” which calls for institutional and federal policy changes to help students and community colleges better manage debt.

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