From DSC:
Inflation way up. Real wages way down. Not a good mix for higher education. And faculty members aren’t the only ones impacted here. These developments may cause the rise of additional alternatives to institutions of traditional higher education out there. 


One of the resources mentioned in Isha Trivedi’s article out at The Chronicle of Higher Education that’s entitled “Faculty-Pay Survey Records the Largest One-Year Drop Ever” was this one:

The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2021-22 — from the American Association of University Professors (AAUP)

Key Findings (emphasis DSC):
Provisional results were released in early April 2022, including summary tables and institution-level datasets. Key findings include:

  • From 2020–21 to 2021–22, average salaries for full-time faculty members increased 2.0 percent, consistent with the flat wage growth observed since the Great Recession of the late 2000s.
  • Real wages for full-time faculty fell below Great Recession levels in 2021, with average salary falling to 2.3 percent below the 2008 average salary, after adjusting for inflation.
  • Real wages for full-time faculty members decreased 5.0 percent after adjusting for inflation, the largest one-year decrease on record since the AAUP began tracking this measure in 1972.
  • In 2021–22, 97.2 percent of full-time faculty members were covered by retirement plans, a 2.8 percentage point increase from 2020–21.
  • Institutions reported full-time faculty salaries for women that are 81.9 percent of those for men in 2021–22, on average. The gender pay gap is greatest at the full professor rank.
  • From 2019–20 to 2021–22, the number of full-time women faculty members increased 1.6 percent, compared with a 2.5 percent decrease for men.
  • In 2020–21, average pay for adjunct faculty members to teach a course section ranged from $2,979 in public associate’s institutions without ranks to $5,557 in public doctoral institutions.
  • In fall 2020, about three in five (61.5 percent) faculty members were on contingent appointments.

Also relevant, see:

 

Some learning-related tips from Eva Keiffenheim’s Learn Letter


Excerpts from Eva’s 6/15/22 letter re: learning a language — with Mathias Barra, who “has studied about 20 languages and is fluent in six”

2) The best way to mastery is by making language learning part of your life
There’s no single best way to study languages. Mathias approached every language differently.

The most important thing is to find some activities that you actually enjoy in the language. For example, you can:

  • watch a Netflix series with double subtitles with the free Language Reactor extension
  • reading a book in the language you’re learning, for example with easy readers?
  • go to radio.garden and listen to the language you’re learning
  • switch your phone settings to another language
  • write your diary in the language you’re learning

“The best way to study languages is not to limit it to study time, but to make it part of your life, for example, through exposure.”

Some tools and resources Mathias recommends:

  • iTalki offers 1-on-1 lessons in more than 150 languages
  • Journaly allows you to type a text that natives correct
  • Slowly connects you with a language tandem for writing letters
  • HiNative gets you answers from native speakers
  • Speechling helps you work on listening comprehension

See the full interview here.

And from Eva’s 6/22/22 Learn Letter:

According to this concept, there’s an optimal arousal level for task performance. The Yerkes-Dodson Law says there is an empirical relationship between stress and performance. Yerkes and Dodson discovered that the optimal arousal level depends on the complexity and difficulty of the task.

From DSC:
Reading a bit about the Yerkes-Dodson Law, I was reminded of a bad learning experience from years ago. I recall sitting in a conference room at Baxter Healthcare and I was trying to learn more about programming.  I had just been switched into a new group and my new supervisor was trying to teach me some basic items (basic to him, anyway). He was getting increasingly frustrated at me for not understanding some things. The more frustrated he got, the less I could even concentrate on what he was saying and trying to teach me. 

Along these lines, I also remember a relative trying to teach another relative some new things. Again, the more upset the “teacher” got, the less able the “learner” was able to concentrate. It didn’t end well. 

Oh…what’s that?! I’m hearing a loud “Amen!!!” coming from countless music teachers and students out there too. 

For these kinds of reasons, I want to learn more about the place of emotion in our learning ecosystems.

 
 

What I Learned When Visiting a Colleague’s Hybrid Class — from edsurge.com by Bonni Stachowiak (Columnist)

Excerpt:

Though I usually use this space to offer answers to teaching advice questions from professors, I wanted to try something different. So for my next few installments, I’m writing letters to people who have exemplified what it means to be an effective teacher. This column, the first in the series, is to my friend and colleague, Elizabeth Powell. Her discipline is psychology and she invited me to come observe one of her final classes at our university.

 

From DSC:
The items below reminded me that things aren’t looking good for higher education these days. Having a son a quarter of the way through college makes this even more relevant/personal for our family.


The Big Quit | Even tenure-line professors are leaving academe. — from chronicle.com by Joshua Doležal

Excerpts:

We have become accustomed to the exodus of graduate students, postdocs, and adjuncts, but before Covid it was still possible to see tenured and tenure-track faculty members as relatively immune from the stresses of working in higher ed. No more. A 2020 study by The Chronicle and Fidelity Investments found that more than half of all faculty members surveyed were seriously weighing options outside of higher education: either changing careers entirely or retiring early.

“If a return to normal simply means restoring the burnout conditions that the pandemic inflamed, then the rumble of faculty members leaving may build to a roar that no amount of magical thinking can explain away.”

Here’s a relevant quote from a weekly newsletter — Teaching — from The Chronicle of Higher Education (by Becky Supiano)

The bottom line? “You don’t get student success,” McClure says, “unless you have invested in faculty well-being.”

The quote is from Kevin McClure, who is “trying to get the challenges front-line faculty and staff face on the radar of more college leaders.” As primarily a former staff member, I appreciate that he’s including staff members here. Staff are important members of the academe as well.


Drop in Spring-2022 Enrollment Is Worse Than Expected — from chronicle.com byAudrey Williams June

Excerpt:

New data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center provide a final tally on enrollment for the spring of 2022 — and reveal a persistent trend: College attendance continues to decline.

Undergraduate enrollment fell 4.7 percent from a year earlier, a shortfall of more than 662,000 students. Since the pandemic began, the undergraduate student body has dropped by almost 1.4 million students.

But also in play, he said, are students who increasingly question the value of college, are wary about taking out student loans to pay for it, and who have options to join the labor market instead.


Michigan colleges experience nation’s worst spring enrollment dive, new report shows — from mlive.com by Samuel Dodge

Excerpt:

College enrollment across Michigan plummeted 15% during the spring semester this year, dragged down by a 20% hit to four-year public universities, a new report shows. Spring enrollment across all sectors dropped to 360,220 students, a decrease of more than 62,000 from 2021 to this year, according to data released Thursday, May 26, by the National Student Clearinghouse.


[Cost of Inequity]  The Student Loan Crisis — from businessinsidre.com by various
How the student loan industry put a $1.7 trillion price tag on the American dream and the proposed reforms that could pay the bill.


A somewhat-related item:

The Future of Higher Education Is the Hybrid Campus — from campustechnology.com by Dr. Jeffrey R. Docking
Blending the best of face-to-face instruction with the flexibility of online learning can enhance the higher ed experience for all types of learners, lower the cost of a degree and better prepare students for the workforce.

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

What Students Want
Students and families are increasingly rethinking whether a traditional college education is worth the investment, leaving higher ed leaders searching for innovative ways to showcase their school’s value and entice students. When we think about what students really want, they want more than a degree — they want skills training that will ensure a well-paying, rewarding career. In fact, 62% of college students say they would be more likely to re-enroll if their institution offered “new programs and certificates tailored to the new economy” with high-demand majors and education that connects them to employability. This makes sense since employers are continuing to find value in students developing a “broad skill base that can be applied across a range of contexts.”

But over the last several years, and after seeing the success of it at Adrian College, I’ve become convinced that the future of residential colleges is not face-to-face or online, but an intelligent blend of both modalities.


A somewhat-related item:

Navigating career turbulence — from ted.com by Adam Grant; with thanks to Deirdre Honner for this resource

Description:

Everyone’s career will hit some turbulence at some point. Instead of pushing harder against the headwinds, we’re sometimes better off tilting our rudder and charting a new course. In this episode, host Adam Grant speaks with people who have taken unusual steps to battle uncertainty, rethought their approach to finding and landing a job and reached out for help in unexpected places — as well as an expert on recessions who forecasts the future by looking to the past. Listen and subscribe to WorkLife with Adam Grant and more podcasts from the TED Audio Collective wherever you’re listening to this.

 

The Science of Learning: Research Meets Practice — from the-learning-agency-lab.com by Alisa Cook and Ulrich Boser; with thanks to Learning Now TV for this resource
Six Research-Based Teaching Practices Are Put Into Practice

Excerpt:

For the nation’s education system, though, the bigger question is: How do we best educate our children so that they learn better, and learn how to learn, in addition to learning what to learn? Additionally, and arguably just as challenging, is: How do we translate this body of research into classroom practice effectively?

Enter the “Science of Learning: Research Meets Practice.” The goal of the project is to get the science of learning into the hands of teaching professionals as well as to parents, school leaders, and students.

 
 

10 Best Web Highlighters for Desktop in 2022 — from hongkiat.com by Kei Watanabe

Excerpt:

Have you used any web highlighters? It helps us improve our productivity by copying and pasting important texts you’ve found online automatically, saving good articles in your directory, and highlighting important sentences on articles so that you can remember them when looking back.

In this article, I’ll introduce you to 10 useful web highlighters for the desktop. All these tools offer different features and you can read about each tool in detail in the following.

 
 

The Pandemic’s Lasting Lessons for Colleges, From Academic Innovation Leaders — from edsurge.com by Nadia Tamez-Robledo, Rebecca Koenig, and Jeffrey R. Young

Excerpts:

“Universities are in the business of knowledge, but universities do a very poor job of managing their own knowledge and strategy,” says Brian Fleming, associate vice chancellor of learning ecosystem development at Northeastern University. “You may have faculty members who study organizational development, but none of that gets applied to the university.”

University leaders should learn to think more like futurists, he argues, working to imagine scenarios that might need planning for but are beyond the usual one-year or five-year planning cycles.

The pandemic prompted more faculty to ask the question, “What do we actually want to use class time for?” says Tyler Roeger, director of the center for the enhancement of teaching and learning at Elgin Community College. And the answer many of them are landing on, he adds, is: “Actual face-to-face time can be dedicated to problem-working, and working in groups together.”

 

4 Online Tactics to Improve Blended Learning — from campustechnology.com by Megan Burke, CPA, Ph.D.
An accounting professor shares how best practices from online pedagogy have helped her create a blended learning environment that supports student success.

Excerpts:

Now that students are back in the classroom, I have been combining these tactics with in-person instruction to create a blended learning environment that gives my students the best of both worlds.

The right activities, on the other hand, can make a significant difference. For example:

  • Breakout rooms (for think/pair/share);
  • Polls and quizzes that are low-stakes and anonymous to encourage full engagement;
  • Using the whiteboard option; and
  • Having reviews of material at the end of class.

I also encourage faculty (and myself!) to get out and meet with employers and ask what we can do to better prepare students, so that we can get a better feel for what first-year staff really need to know — and ensure that we present that knowledge and information in the classroom.

 

The Exit Interview Nine departing presidents on how the job — and higher ed — is changing. — from chronicle.com by Eric Kelderman

“One of the things I’ve learned in this job is that it’s time for us to really think hard about the obligations the postsecondary educational sector has to the country,” Quillen said. “What is, as it were, the social contract between that sector and the society that supports us? And what do we need to do to fulfill our obligations there?”

Carol Quillen


Carol Quillen
 

A Rubric for Selecting Active Learning Technologies — from er.educause.edu by Katie Bush, Monica Cormier, and Graham Anthony
A rubric can be an invaluable aid in evaluating how well technologies support active learning.

Excerpt:

Because the use of active learning is characterized by a broad range of activities in the classroom, comparing technology and determining which option provides more benefit to an active learning classroom can be difficult. The Rubric for Active Learning Technology Evaluation can provide some differentiation when comparing technology offerings. It has been designed to reveal subtle but impactful differences between technology in the context of active learning. The rubric was designed to be a tool for comparative technology evaluation and as such should be quick to use when comparing similar technologies. It is freely available to use and adapt under a Creative Commons license.

 

 

Why Improving Student Learning is So Hard — from opencontent.org by David Wiley

Excerpt:

2. Student behavior will normally change only in response to changes in faculty behavior – specifically, the assignments faculty give and the support faculty provide.

For many students, the things-they-do-to-learn are all located within the relatively small universe of things their faculty assign them to do – read chapters, complete homework assignments, etc. For a variety of reasons, and many of them perfectly good reasons, “students don’t do optional” – they only do what they’re going to be graded on.

Therefore, students will likely engage in more effective learning behaviors ONLY IF their faculty assign them more effective learning activities. Faculty can further increase the likelihood of students engaging in more effective learning activities if they support them appropriately throughout the process.

From DSC:
I can put an “Amen” to the above excerpt. For years I managed a Teaching & Learning Digital Studio. Most of the students didn’t come into the Studio for help, because most of the faculty members assigned the normal kinds of things (papers, quizzes, and such). Had there been more digitally-created means of showing what students knew, there would have been more usage of the T&L Digital Studio. 

Also, if we want to foster more creativity and innovation — as well as give our learners more choice and more control over their learning — we should occasionally get away from the traditional papers.

Another comment here is that it’s hard to change what faculty members do, when Instructional Designers can’t even get in the car to help faculty members navigate. We need more team-based efforts in designing our learning experiences.

 

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian