Wednesday, May 20, 2020

What Becomes of the College Town?

MAY 20, 2020 | written by STEVE ULRICH
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1.  What Becomes of the College Town?

Enlightened" Ithaca - Life in the Finger Lakes
by Kevin Stankiewicz, CNBC

"The mayor of Ithaca, New York, told CNBC on Monday that the city’s economy faces dire consequences if local colleges do not hold in-person classes this autumn due to the coronavirus.

“If the students don’t come back in the fall, we’re in real cataclysmic trouble,” Svante Myrick said on “Squawk on the Street.” 

Ithaca is home to Cornell University and Ithaca College. Cornell, an Ivy League institution, has more than 20,000 students while Ithaca College has about 6,700.

Myrick’s comments came as Ithaca College announced Monday that it plans to hold in-person instruction this fall, with the autumn semester now slated to begin Oct. 5 — more than a month later than originally scheduled.

The cities and communities in which schools are located also are impacted by decisions on reopening campuses. College students play a vital role in the economy of Ithaca, a city of about 30,000 residents, Myrick said."

>> The Big Picture: “It’s not just pizza shops and it’s not just bars. It’s not just restaurants. It’s barbershops. It’s nail salons. It’s accountants. It’s law firms,” he said. “The ripple effects of all of our students staying home and not coming back to campus, would be crippling.”

>> Key Facts
  • Ithaca, a city of 30,000 residents, is looking at a $15M deficit.
  • Tompkins County, Ithaca's home, has 141 confirmed cases of COVID-19. 
  • As of Monday, New York State has over 350,000 cases.

>> What They're Saying: “If we’re not sure that our students can come back to the United States or if parents in California will feel comfortable sending their kids to Cornell in the fall, then our economy won’t get back to where it was.”

>> Continue Reading

2.  Athletics Are Not Expendable

"Athletics are absolutely a part - a core part even - of the student education experience."

In these troubled time for colleges and universities, athletics can be an easy mark for those making financial decisions, exacerbating the age-old rift between academics and student activities.

Michael Rocque, an associate professor of sociology at Bates, states his case:
  • Student-athletes represent 25 percent of the student body on average across DIII campuses. These numbers are even higher at liberal arts colleges.
  • Athletics complements the curriculum, allowing students to figure out how to be leaders, how to manage time and how to be disciplined.
  • Athletics allows student to flourish, grow, and learn in multiple areas - educating the whole person.
He also writes about coaches as educators.
  • Athletics staff are not competition, but collaborators in students' educational journey.
  • Coaches are experts at motivation and getting the most out of students.
  • Student-athletes have higher graduation rates than the general student body.
>> The Bottom Line: "To dismiss the educational value of athletics to me seems akin to a STEM professor considering a student’s elective in a humanities course to be a waste of time. It’s short-sighted."

>> Be Smart: "Athletics in the American university is once again in the cross-hairs of those who view it as at odds with what higher education is about. Cuts will certainly need to be made in the coming months. But rather than viewing athletics as an inconvenience that should be the first to go, faculty should embrace athletics as a core part of the educational process."

3.  COVID Forces Programs to Slash Budgets

The coronavirus pandemic has shut down college sports, forcing athletic departments to search for any cost-cutting measures they can find.

>> Why It Matters: While some of those are temporary, like furloughing employees, halting travel and asking head coaches to take pay cuts, others could be more permanent as schools take a closer look at their budgets and revisit why they were spending money on certain things in the first place.

>> The Big Picture: In addition to dealing with the challenges of the present, athletic directors and conference commissioners are also looking ahead and weighing how they can save money whenever sports do resume. Two prime examples:
  • Travel: One obvious way to reduce costs is to cut back on travel and develop a more regional approach to scheduling, especially for conferences like Conference-USA, which now spans three time zones thanks to football-driven realignment.
  • Tournaments: The Mid-American Conference is eliminating conference tournaments for eight sports, meaning conference champions in field hockey, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's tennis, women's lacrosse, softball and baseball will now be determined based on regular-season records.
>> By The Numbers
  • Cincinnati cut men's soccer last month, which will save the school roughly $725,000. Last year, Cincinnati spent over $875,000 to pay its football support staff (i.e. analysts and other non-coaches).
  • Kansas spent over $2 million to feed its 130-member football team last year, compared to just $175,000 to feed its men's and women's track teams (combined 108 members).
  • Clemson paid its football support staff $6.2 million last year, "a figure that doesn't include the $8 million paid to 10 assistant coaches but does count the four staffers who make up the Clemson aviation department — a director, pilot, captain and captain/hangar manager," writes Dana O'Neil for The Athletic.

>> Go Inside with Axios

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4. Fall Plans

From the Chronicle of Higher Education, here’s an alphabetical list of Division III colleges that have either disclosed their plans, mentioned them in news reports, or set a deadline for deciding.

as of May 19, 6:40 p.m. EDT

5.  The Gift of Giving

Less than a year after changing its name, Calvin University is adding its first school. University leaders hope the new school is the first of many. A $22.25 million anonymous gift to launch the Calvin University School of Business was announced during the institution’s board of trustees meeting this past weekend.

The gift will be used to construct the Calvin University School of Business building and to improve shared spaces in the DeVos Communication Center, the building to which the new school will be connected. The gift also provides significant endowment funds that will be used to support the new dean of the School of Business and business faculty. The purpose of the endowment is to serve as a catalyst for a number of new academic programs intended to serve new populations of students at Calvin.

Wilmington College’s largest gift ever received in the 150-year history of the landmark institution will accelerate the ongoing renaissance WC has enjoyed in recent years as a result of enrollment records, new academic programs, major gifts, fiscal stability, and new and renovated facilities.

With the disbursement pending, the College expects to receive $13.5 million from the estate of Catherine (Cathy) Withrow, widow of 1958 alumnus Andrew (Andy) Withrow. They join a fellowship of key supporters who continue to demonstrate their confidence in Wilmington College. The College accepts their gift as a reflection of the couple’s belief in its ongoing commitment to excellence as a Quaker-affiliated institution of higher education that is preparing the leaders of tomorrow, according to President Jim Reynolds.

In accordance with the impact of their estate gift, the Board of Trustees has chosen to rename the Center for the Sciences and Agriculture (CSA), the College’s largest academic building, to The Withrow Center for Agricultural, Life and Physical Sciences.

6.  Comings and Goings

7.  1 Bumper Thing 

Photo: Katie Kirby/Revolution Event Design & Production via AP

Laugh or cry: The summer of social distancing will produce some memorable photos.
  • The "bumper tables" above come from Fish Tales, a restaurant in Ocean City, Maryland. The restaurant says they will help ensure social distancing while letting people congregate outdoors.
  • Owner Shawn Harman told WBAL-TV that the tables are basically an "adult version of a toddler walker."
  • "It's a fun way to get through a crappy experience," Harman said. "They've been received quite well. It has turned out to be, if nothing else, a tremendous marketing event. We have plans to order some more."

courtesy of Axios

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