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Monday, October 26, 2020

Update on Civic Readiness Initiative

A year ago in my State of the College remarks, I announced the Civic Readiness Initiative and described it as building off of our strengths in the liberal arts:

Liberal arts disciplines excel at seeing the world through the eyes of others. In that sense, empathy is a skill and approach that is repeatedly provided to our students. A liberal arts culture is one that understands that if you expect to be heard, you must also be able to listen. This is not about timid and restrictive “civility,” but about the ability to engage in robust and passionate dialogue, discussion, disagreement, and debate.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Final fall 2020 undergraduate enrollment results

As the scope and scale of the pandemic's effects on higher education became apparent during the spring, institutions across the country were concerned about fall enrollment. 

Some of the results reported by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center have been unsettling. Freshmen enrollment across the country is down 16% nationwide. First-year community college enrollment is down 23%. Total undergraduate enrollment -- which includes new students and continuing students -- across all types of institutions is down 4%. Four-year for-profit colleges showed an increase of undergraduate enrollment by 3% over last fall, but all other institution types were down. 

That's the national picture. CLA also saw the pandemic's impact on our enrollment, but fortunately not at the level seen nationwide. In CLA, we welcomed 2339 freshmen students in fall 2020. That number excludes a larger than usual number of deferrals to spring and fall 2021. Our 2019 fall incoming class of first-year students was 2607, thus we were down in 2020 by a little over 10%.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Workgroup on Curricular Opportunities

(This charge letter was sent to the members of the workgroup on October 15, 2020.) 

Thank you for agreeing to serve on the CLA Workgroup on Curricular Opportunities (WCO). 

The workgroup's charge is to think through curricular and programmatic opportunities for CLA. This list could include:

  • Opportunities that could provide inventive programs (e.g., minors or certificates) that span across departments or colleges that would be attractive for undergraduates in CLA or might be targeted outside CLA.
  • Post-baccalaureate possibilities (e.g., professional certificates around DEI or racial equity or analytics or health given the growing demand and interest in these areas).
  • Maintaining this year’s momentum of summer programming and enrollment. 
  • Making more complete use of our academic calendar through increased use of shorter courses. 

Friday, October 2, 2020

CLA budget facts 1001

Over the past six months, you’ve been hearing frequently from me and from President Gabel about college and University finances, respectively. Those communications have focused on the pandemic’s fiscal impact. 

Recently, the Chronicle of Higher Education published an article by Allison Vaillancourt that took a step back from pandemic-influenced finances for a more general examination. The article is titled “What if Everyone on Campus Understood the Money?

Ms. Vaillancourt reports that, “Whenever I give talks on this subject to higher-ed audiences, I often ask them to take a pop quiz about their own institutions. . . . Most faculty and staff members — and a significant percentage of academic and administrative leaders — struggle to provide correct responses to all or even most of those questions.”