Higher Ed Innovation Weekly Roundup 4.23.18

Undermatching, Teletherapy, and GOTV on campus

April 25, 2018

Welcome to the Weekly Higher Ed Innovation Roundup.

  • Graduate more high-achieving, lower-income students

Just under 300 schools in the U.S. consistently graduate at least 70 percent of their students within six years. American Talent Initiative (ATI) has set a goal of graduating an additional 50,000 lower-income students from these high completion institutions by 2025. Their approach is to start with successful institutions and ask them to do more. As of April 2018, 100 of the 290 institutions have signed on to commit to doing more. Through ATI, these institutions are working together to share best practices for the recruitment, retention, and completion of lower-income students. Active recruitment of transfer students is just one of the underexplored avenues for increasing completion rates within this target population. A related challenge is the practice of undermatching - when highly qualified students do not apply to selective institutions. (Bonus read: “When Disadvantaged Students Overlook Elite Colleges” in The Atlantic.)

  • Improve mental health support services

Some institutions are supplementing mental health services on campus with teletherapy, a way of providing counseling through a live video feed via the internet. According to TeleHELP in higher ed : “since most higher ed institutions aren’t able to hire enough staff to meet their students’ mental health needs, some have added teletherapy services.” If approached as a way to bolster rather than replace current services, the use of teletherapy services shows promise not only for meeting student needs but also for those of faculty and staff. For details on the needs of faculty, see “Promoting Supportive Academic Environments for Faculty with Mental Illnesses: Resource Guide and Suggestions for Practice.” In addition, teletherapy services can support training of university employees, which is clearly needed. See IHE on use of force against students with possible mental health concerns.

  • GOTV on campus

With the Help Students Vote Act, Senators Booker and Durbin introduced a bill to help lower barriers to voting for millions of college students. If we can get college students to vote in higher numbers, we have the opportunity to make real change happen. If all of the eligible college students in Boston registered to vote and voted in Boston, they would have the power to decide the overwhelming majority of the elections.


What did I miss? What should I cover next week? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @mary_churchill.

Mary Churchill is the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Wheelock College in Boston. She is also on the board of the Massachusetts A.C.E. Network of Women Leaders in Higher Education and involved with A.C.E.'s Moving the Needle initiative focused on advancing women leaders in higher education.


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