Thursday, December 1, 2016

Trinity College: Enhancing Quality while Reducing Focus on Growing Enrollment

Trinity College in Hartford, CT is featured this morning in a post by Rick Seltzer for Inside Higher Ed, "Reining in Growth."  Joanne Berger-Sweeney, Trinity president, and vice president for enrollment and student success, Angel PĂ©rez, provide an overview of various strategies designed to sustain the institution while enrollment stabilizes at the current size of roughly 2,400 students.  Trinity will continue to seek ways to build a more visible presence in downtown Hartford and will de-emphasize the recent focus on growing freshman enrollment each year to balance the budget.

You can also read more about Trinity College and other higher education institutions working through the Hartford Consortium for Higher Education to enhance Hartford's image as a college town in a post on the College Towns & University Cities blog.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Small Liberal Arts Colleges: Positive Report from a Gathering of Presidents

Rick Seltzer's post from November 11, 2016, "The Future of the Tiny Liberal Arts College," presents an interesting summary from a meeting of fifteen small college presidents held earlier in the year. Seltzer reports that the presidents addressed opportunities and challenges faced by their institutions and that conversations emphasized the ability of the smaller institutions to try different approaches rather quickly when they see an opportunity.

The Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation provided support for the meeting and the foundation's president, Julie J. Kidd, commented in a summary that the “...discussion affirmed the benefits of small scale: small class size, meaningful faculty-student interactions, and participation in a strong academic and campus community...” 

Seltzer also interviewed others from the higher education community for the article and their comments underscore the notion that these institutions thrive when they focus on a particular niche or approach and then are consistent over the longer term in hiring committed faculty and staff.  

I particularly appreciated the comments of Hal Hartley, senior vice president for The Council of Independent Colleges.  He indicated that his organization is working on an analysis of the financial strengths at its member institutions and noted one preliminary finding is that small institutions are demonstrating greater financial stability than some with more than 3,000 students.  Hartley 
concluded, "…size isn’t necessarily your destiny.  Just because you’re small doesn’t mean that you can’t survive financially, that there’s not a viable model.”

NPR features Single Parent Scholars Program at Wilson College

NPR features interesting reporting by Noah Adams in "When The Students On Campus Have Kids Of Their Own," from mid-November.  The article and audio file feature the Single Parent Scholars Program at Wilson College that enrolls single parents.  Wilson College, founded in 1869, is located in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania and enrolls over 925 students.  Adams also cites the building of a new dorm for single parents at Eastern Kentucky University. 


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Small Liberal Arts Colleges: Positive Report from a Gathering of Presidents

Rick Seltzer's post from November 11, 2016, "The Future of the Tiny Liberal Arts College," presents an interesting summary from a meeting of fifteen small college presidents held earlier in the year. Seltzer reports that the presidents addressed opportunities and challenges faced by their institutions and that conversations emphasized the ability of the smaller institutions to try different approaches rather quickly when they see an opportunity.

The Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation provided support for the meeting and the foundation's president, Julie J. Kidd, commented in a summary that the “...discussion affirmed the benefits of small scale: small class size, meaningful faculty-student interactions, and participation in a strong academic and campus community...” 

Seltzer also interviewed others from the higher education community for the article and their comments underscore the notion that these institutions thrive when they focus on a particular niche or approach and then are consistent over the longer term in hiring committed faculty and staff.  

I particularly appreciated the comments of Hal Hartley, senior vice president for The Council of Independent Colleges.  He indicated that his organization is working on an analysis of the financial strengths at its member institutions and noted one preliminary finding is that small institutions are demonstrating greater financial stability than some with more than 3,000 students.  Hartley 
concluded, "…size isn’t necessarily your destiny.  Just because you’re small doesn’t mean that you can’t survive financially, that there’s not a viable model.”

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Small Town Colleges offer Perspective when Considering the Future of Higher Ed

Joshua Kim's offers several reasons for serving at a small college in a smaller town in his interesting post, "Small Town College Life and the Future of Higher Ed."  His article was posted on October 31, 2016 by Inside Higher Ed.

Kim initially writes that small colleges force diverse collaborations.  He follows by noting that a rural academic life requires cross-institutional collaborations and then concludes with reflections on liberal arts colleges and the future of higher education.

A couple of questions close out the post.  Kim's last question is probably the easiest for me to answer.  I have fallen in love with small town college life and just concluded a satisfying career in higher education that spanned both public and private liberal arts colleges in small towns.   I have also seen many colleagues who discovered opportunities where they can have an impact through their service, experiences where personal and professional rewards derive from active participation in life on campus or in the broader community.

I have, however, developed a more nuanced view of the last question.  While I have answered affirmatively and have even argued enthusiastically that small college towns are the best places to think big thoughts about the future of higher education,  I would now argue that small college towns are one place to think big thoughts...just not the only places.  

Small institutions in larger urban settings also offer fascinating opportunities where individuals can successfully collaborate to address challenges facing higher education or the broader society.  The College of St. Mary in Omaha is one example of a small institution in an urban area that identified a serious need then set out creatively and collaboratively to make a difference...faculty and staff  serving single mothers will serve as a model for many other institutions.

Paul Quinn College in Dallas is another example of a small institution creatively serving students and the urban neighborhoods that surround the campus.  And, there are many other examples of faculty and staff thinking big thoughts at small colleges in urban settings.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Food System Center promises big changes for Northland College and its broader community

Northland College announced a fascinating project where they are building a Food Systems Center that will take in shipments of local fruits and vegetables; freeze, dry, and can these products; and store them for off-season use. The facility will provide the capacity for the institution to locally source food for the campus....and, it will also serve as lab for students and as a resource for people from the broader community.  Northland College is located in Ashland, WI.



Monday, October 24, 2016

All In A Day: Fascinating View of 24-Hours at Kenyon College

Kenyon College pulled together 79 impressive photographs from one 24-hour period in "All In A Day" to provide a fascinating view of life on campus.