Southwest: In the News

Links to Southwest news and other reports on community college trends, Tennessee Board of Regents coverage and more:

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DECEMBER 4, 2020

Commentary: Workforce adjustments are needed (St. Louis Business Journal)
To combat pandemic’s effect St. Louis Community College recently released its 12th annual State of the St. Louis Workforce report. The report examines key workforce trends in our local economy and provides data from a telephone survey of the workforce challenges facing our regional employers.


Local construction firms partner with Shelby County Schools, offer apprenticeships (Memphis Business Journal)
About 100 construction trades students at Shelby County Schools (SCS) could benefit from apprenticeships via a newly announced workforce development partnership.


Student compliance: Use the carrot or the stick? (University Business) 
Encouraging students to follow safety rules during the pandemic involves both offering incentives for being a role model and consequences for concerning behaviors.

The Federal Government Is Verifying Fewer FAFSA Filers. Here’s Why That Matters. (Chronicle of Higher Ed)
The Education Department is adjusting an often-overlooked part of the federal aid process that can keep students from enrolling in college.


The pandemic is changing college (VOX)
Let’s reconsider GPAs while we’re at it. American higher education, with its focus on grades and metrics, often trains students for a lifetime of capitalist service — whether they want it or not.

Pathbreaking College and University Presidents Unveil Blueprint for Higher Education Reform in the Face of Multiple Crises (eCampus News)
The Presidents Forum's Learners First Framework urges higher education institutions to better serve students' needs amid shifting demographics

Bank of America donates $1 million to help Tennessee State University students (WATN)
Bank of America is donating $1 million to help Tennessee State University students finish college and find jobs post-graduation.

New book extols value of technical careers (Southern Standard) 
It’s no secret Tennessee, like much of the nation, has experienced a shortage of skilled workers in recent years – with high demands for more nurses, computer technicians, welders and other technical fields.

ACT scores drop slightly in Tennessee (WBIR)
The state’s goal was to reach an average ACT score of 21 by 2020, but new data shows that didn’t happen and education leaders believe there are many things that play into that. The average composite score this year was 19.9, according to the Tennessee Department of Education. 

COVID-19 emotional support line extended to Tennessee educators (WATE)
A COVID-19 emotional support line is now available for all Tennessee educators. The Tennessee Department of Education made the announcement Tuesday afternoon that the phone line providing free mental health support to front line workers amid the pandemic is being extended to the classroom.

Ranking College Dashboards (Inside Higher Ed)
The project We Rate COVID Dashboards has been evaluating college and university attempts at transparency. Eight months into the pandemic, how are institutions doing?


Investing in the long term (CC Daily)
Uplifting underserved populations is a compelling donor narrative, an effort buoyed in recent decades by endowments that fund scholarship opportunities and exciting new programming. 

Chattanooga picked as one of only two U.S. cities to test smart city technologies (Times Free Press)
Chattanooga has been selected as one of only two U.S. cities in a new global initiative to use broadband connections and data to plan and utilize energy, transportation, health care and communications in a more sustainable and equitable manner.


CSCC Seymour Selected For National Study On Rural Community Colleges (Chattanoogan) 
Over the last several years Cleveland State Community College has been successful on several fronts. These include historic improvement to facilities, significant growth in student success and graduation rates, and strengthened engagement throughout its five-county service area. 


Colleges are changing the status quo to make curriculum more inclusive (Education Dive)
Protests this summer increased pressure on institutions to replace words with actions, but internal procedures and budgets can be limiting factors.

A College Professor as First Lady (Inside Higher Ed)
Jill Biden is breaking a mold in continuing to teach at a community college as first lady. But why is it so important to her and what will her life be like?

Access, retention and graduation define success at community college (University Business)
Milwaukee Area Technical College's access and inclusivity work will begin with equity training and climate assessments


How colleges are reenrolling stopped-out students during the pandemic (Education Dive)
Early data shows enrollment declining among students who previously left college with no credential, but some schools are making inroads.


New report highlights pervasive racial inequities in the college pipeline (Education Dive)
The American Council on Education released data on race and ethnicity in higher education, underlining myriad inequities to access.


A huge drop in international students (CC Daily)
Community colleges experienced an 8.3% decline in international students in 2019-20, according to the 2020 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange. Overall, the number of international students declined 1.8% at all types of higher education institutions in 2019-20 compared to the previous year, according to the annual report from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Institute of International Education (IIE).


Editorial: Time to make TCAT expansion a reality (Johnson City Press)
Among the clear promises Bill Lee made in his successful bid for Tennessee governor two years ago was his commitment to workforce development at both the high school and post-secondary levels. Simply put, Tennessee and the upstate in particular do not have enough people with the skills and training necessary to meet the demands of modern industry


Disability as Diversity (Inside Higher Ed)
Colleges and universities are making progress on efforts to serve disabled students, but some advocates and scholars say higher ed has been slow to recognize disability as an identity group or include it in programming around diversity and inclusion.


OPINION: Low community college enrollment rate among Black Tennesseans exposes need for intervention (Tennessean) 
Community colleges in Tennessee can do their part by making enrollment as seamless as possible by offering flexible deadlines and removing application fees and testing requirements.

Credit and noncredit programs need to be aligned (CC Daily) 
Community colleges should better align their noncredit workforce training with their credit programs aimed at transfer students, the Education Strategy Group (ESG) recommends.


Northeast State Aviation Technology program soars to meet global pilot & aviation mechanic shortage (WJHL) 
Northeast State Community College is working to address a global shortage of pilots and aviation mechanics. Part of their expansion involves a $1.6 million renovation project of a hangar at the Tri-Cities Airport, which will be the future home of the program. The Aviation Technology program was started only five years ago, but through grants, the department is growing.


Many lower-income students are abandoning higher education due to COVID-19 (Marketplace) 
Desteny Lara is 18, and she goes to California State University, East Bay. Like many college students in America, she recently had to leave campus and move back home — she’s from South Central Los Angeles. For her, moving back means living in a two-bedroom apartment with 10 family members and grappling with how to keep her focus.


Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology join national Achieving the Dream Network (Herald Chronicle) 
All 27 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology have been accepted into the national Achieving the Dream Network, bolstering their commitment to the success of all students.


Tennessee's community colleges see 'troubling' decline in Black enrollment (Commercial Appeal) 
Enrollment at community colleges in Tennessee is down by 11.5% compared to last year, or about 10,000 students, the Tennessee Board of Regents announced Wednesday.