Thursday, March 25, 2021

Confidence Builds

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1. Confidence Builds

Stevens Institute of Technology: A University on the Rise - YouTube
by Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Education

"You don’t have to look far to find troubling signs for colleges and universities. In the last week, Mills College became the latest small private college to say it will close, COVID-19 continued to threaten completion of the spring semester in person at institutions such as Duke and Syracuse Universities, and several other four-year and two-year colleges announced significant layoffs or discontinued programs.

All of which makes the results of Inside Higher Ed’s 2021 Survey of College and University Presidents more than a little surprising, in that they find the country’s campus leaders more upbeat as they emerge from a year dominated by COVID-19 than they were before the pandemic hit.

Nearly eight in 10 college and university presidents say they are confident their institution will be financially stable over the next 10 years, and more than a quarter strongly agree. Presidents of public doctoral universities and of private four-year institutions agree in even greater numbers, but even three-quarters of two-year-college presidents agree. By comparison, just 57 percent of college presidents agreed with that statement in a survey conducted in early 2020, before the pandemic hit."

>> Why It Matters: "Perhaps emboldened by the quick pivots their institutions made last year as COVID-19 descended, they express significantly more confidence than they did pre-pandemic that their institutions have the right tools, processes and mind-sets to "respond quickly to needed changes," and they overwhelmingly agree that the pandemic has "created an opportunity for my institution to make other institutional changes we have been wanting to make anyway."

>> Dollars and Sense: "One barometer is the question we ask each year about their confidence in their institution’s financial stability, the closest analog in higher education to the consumer confidence surveys that economists track. Almost across the board, college chief executives expressed faith in their institutions’ financial futures. Eighty-two percent strongly (38 percent) or somewhat agreed that they were confident their institution would be financially stable over five years, and 77 percent (28 percent strongly) expressed confidence over a decade."

>> Food For Thought: "What explains that increased confidence, especially amid continuing economic turbulence and demographic data that do not bode well for the next decade? Is it that having endured a year from hell and emerging from it mostly intact, presidents are more confident their institutions can withstand anything thrown at them?"

>> Yes, But: "A majority of presidents believe that the business models and operations of their school are in need of fundamental change. At the same time, many believe that they don’t have the structures and governance processes in place to make those changes. This signals what is likely to be a running theme throughout higher ed over the next decade -- the continued pressure for change when many don’t feel equipped to successfully navigate that change." - Susan Baldridge, professor, Middlebury College

>> Continue Reading 


2. Hackathon Keeps Masks Dry at MIT

"Although MIT cancelled varsity athletics intercollegiate competition during the 2020-2021 academic year, teams were able to begin in-person practice with those students on-campus for the spring semester. But practicing in the midst of a pandemic looks different, and each team had to rethink how they operate day-to-day to prioritize the health and safety of student-athletes and the MIT community.

For the men's and women's swimming and diving team, a particular challenge was how to keep a mask close by for entering and exiting the pool without it getting wet on the deck. The solution came from a MIT Swim & Dive Hackathon that took place before the start of the spring semester.

>> Hackathon? A "hackathon" is a common event around MIT, and usually consists of a large number people in the community working on solving a specific problem within a 24-hour window. Led by their senior captains, the MIT Swim & Dive Hackathon featured a 48-hour submission window, including a four hour “expo” window for student-athletes to share their ideas. 

>> Solution: The final design contains three components: 1) a waterproof bag for storing a student-athlete's mask; 2) a carabiner to clip on to a block or equipment bag for easy access; and 3) for divers specifically, a pulley system so they can wear their mask until the moment before they dive and then have it easily accessible upon exiting the water.

>> Go Deeper



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3. Tweet of the Day

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4. In the Circle

This Week's NFCA Top 10

  1. Linfield
  2. (tie) East Texas Baptist 
  3. (tie) Virginia Wesleyan
  4. Texas Lutheran
  5. Christopher Newport
  6. Salisbury
  7. DePauw
  8. Kean
  9. Birmingham-Southern
  10. Belhaven
>> Games To Watch: #2 Virginia Wesleyan vs. #20 Emory & Henry (Sat); #11 St. John Fisher vs. Cortland (Sat)

>> Complete Poll



5.  At The Net


This Week's AVCA Women's Top 10
  1. Colorado College
  2. Trinity, Texas
  3. Transylvania
  4. Texas-Dallas
  5. Carthage
  6. Millikin
  7. Berry
  8. Elmhurst
  9. Mary Hardin-Baylor
  10. Birmingham-Southern
>> Complete Poll

This Week's AVCA Men's Top 15
  1. Springfield
  2. Carthage
  3. Vassar
  4. New Paltz
  5. Dominican
  6. St. John Fisher
  7. Benedictine
  8. Endicott
  9. Rutgers-Newark
  10. Juniata
>> Complete Poll


6.  Donut Fear, Krispy Kreme is Here

While Krispy Kreme probably isn't the first company you think of when you read the words "public health," the donut maker is putting its hydrogenated soybean oil to good use with a creative promo: Anyone who shows a vaccine card at a participating Krispy Kreme gets a free glazed donut.

The "best" part? The offer is valid until the end of 2021, so a vaccinated person could theoretically obtain a free glazed donut every day for the next 284 days. 

Vaccine promos are everywhere

  • A brewery in Cleveland is offering 10-cent beers to the first 2,021 people who show proof of vaccination through its "Beer and the Shot" promo. 
  • Uber and Lyft have been providing free and discounted rides to and from vaccine sites. 

Bottom line: Brands have struggled to strike the right tone throughout the pandemic. But supporting the vaccine rollout so everyone can return to normal life is like saying you love fluffy corgis—not particularly controversial.

Thanks, Morning Brew

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