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WICHE Welcomes 16th Member
The U.S. Pacific territories and freely associated states became WICHE’s 16th member in December. Three U.S. Pacific territories (American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, and Guam) and three freely associated states (Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau) will work with WICHE to boost access to and success in higher education for their students, and for all students in the West. They join as a single member, with each territory and state electing individually to participate actively in the commission when it sees fit.
The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) is the first of the group to participate. Its commissioners are: Sharon Hart, president, Northern Marianas College, Saipan; Jude Hofschneider, lieutenant governor, CNMI, Saipan; and Joshua Sasamoto, president, Pacific Development and Marianas HOME, Saipan. “CNMI will be fully engaged in WICHE,” says WICHE President David Longanecker. “Students from CNMI are eligible to participate in our Student Exchange Program. They’ll have vastly improved access to hundreds of higher education institutions in the West – and save money on tuition in the bargain.” Initially, CNMI will participate in the Western Undergraduate Exchange and the Western Regional Graduate Program, as well as benefitting from WICHE’s other programs.
Equity in Excellence
WICHE and the Center for Urban Education (CUE) at the University of Southern California are partnering on a project supporting the implementation of Colorado’s bold higher education reform agenda. With funding from the Ford Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, WICHE and CUE will work with three postsecondary institutions in Colorado – the University of Colorado Denver, Metropolitan State University of Denver, and the Community College of Aurora – as well as with the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) and the Colorado Community College System to align the state’s higher education policy measures with concrete, equity-focused measures. Equity in Excellence, a two-year, $1 million project funded equally by the Ford Foundation and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is building on work already underway in Colorado. Over the past two years, the Colorado Commission on Higher Education and other education and political leaders have created a new strategic plan and legislation aimed at increasing the number of Coloradans aged 25 to 34 who hold high-quality degrees and certificates. Equity in Excellence will assist the state’s public colleges and universities in translating the goals outlined in the plan and legislation into concrete action at the campus level.
“Closing the postsecondary education gap has become more critical than ever, as our student population has become more diverse,” says David Longanecker. “To succeed in our fiercely competitive global economy, it’s critical that all our young men and women receive the benefit of a higher education and put it into play, in their careers and their communities. We also need to create a postsecondary environment that allows our older adults who didn’t finish college to return and earn their degrees.”
Increased educational success for racial/ethnic groups is also a matter of civic health and social justice. Equity in educational outcomes means greater opportunity for individuals and families from all of Colorado’s diverse communities. “A focus on equity in access and in success must accompany the completion agenda that currently dominates the national higher education discourse,” says Estela Mara Bensimon, CUE’s co-director. “Meeting ambitious statewide completion goals will require on-the-ground ownership of equity and excellence as institutional and systemwide goals, as a matter of policy and of practice.”
Psych Internship Program Accredited
Psych Internship Program Accredited. The Alaska Psychology Internship Consortium, developed by WICHE’s Mental Health Program, has received accreditation from the American Psychological Association, considered the gold standard in psychology training. WICHE began developing this program in 2008 to fill a critical unmet need for in-state internships for psychology Ph.D. students. An internship is required to earn a doctoral degree in psychology, but prior to the program’s creation, students at the University of Alaska Anchorage and University of Alaska Fairbanks didn’t have any in-state options. The program – which had its first class in 2010 – has allowed nearly all psychology doctoral students from these institutions to complete their training in Alaska. It has graduated 12 psychologists, and 10 have stayed in Alaska to begin their careers. Thanks to a new grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, the program will be able to expand the number of training slots from seven to 10 per year. “This is the first psychology internship program in the nation to be developed within a state-funded technical assistance model,” says Tamara DeHay, senior project director in the Mental Health Program. “The workforce impact in Alaska is apparent, as is the return on investment for the state. This model is worth replicating, especially in states with behavioral health workforce shortages.”
State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement
The implementation of a new framework to achieve interstate reciprocity in the regulation of postsecondary distance education is the focus of a meeting this month (April 16-17) in Indianapolis, convened by the Presidents’ Forum and Council of State Governments (CSG), with the assistance of Lumina Foundation. WICHE and several organizations, including the three other regional higher education compacts, as well as the Commission on the Regulation of Postsecondary Distance Education, the Presidents’ Forum, and the Council of State Governments (CSG), have been involved in crafting the new framework, the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). The commission’s final report, which will be disseminated broadly and available at the national symposium, integrates the contributions of these efforts into a single document. WICHE, the Midwestern Higher Education Compact, the New England Board of Higher Education, and the Southern Regional Education Board will implement the agreement collaboratively, working with a national SARA coordinating board (to be established by July) to assure reciprocity between all interested states and to provide reasonable oversight. The regional compacts will hold regional briefings on SARA as the implementation process gets underway.
New WUE and WGRP Programs
The Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE), which allows WICHE member students to enroll in participating, out-of-state two- and four-year public institutions at 150 percent of resident tuition, has added eight new programs in the last year: Northland Pioneer College (AZ) ; the University of California, Merced; California State University, San Marcos; California State University, Northridge; Colorado Mountain College; the University of Hawai‘i Maui College; the University of Hawai‘i West Oahu; and Great Falls College (MT).
The Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP) allows master’s, graduate certificate, and doctoral students who are residents of the 15 participating states and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to enroll in 320 high-quality programs at 56 participating institutions on a resident tuition basis. WRGP recently added 45 new programs, including several in psychology and counseling (at Arizona State University’s West campus, University of Colorado–Colorado Springs, University of Colorado–Denver, and University of Northern Colorado); two in speech language pathology (Utah State University and University of Washington), and a doctorate of nursing practice (University of Wyoming). In addition, four doctoral programs at the University of California, San Francisco, new to WRGP, have been added: bioengineering (a joint program with UC Berkeley); biological and medical informatics; chemistry and chemical biology; and pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacogenomics. All four programs are funded by the National Institutes of Health, and most doctoral students are fully supported. WRGP now includes more than 100 healthcare-related programs, including those in graduate nursing, public health, mental health and psychology, audiology and speech pathology, biomedical informatics, and a doctorate in occupational therapy.
WRGP’s most recent nominations cycle also attracted many education-related programs, including graduate certificates in online teaching and learning (New Mexico State University) and education technology (Northern Arizona University). Arizona State University’s Tempe campus is offering a professional sciences master’s in solar energy engineering and commercialization through WRGP; and Humboldt State University is offering a master’s in environmental systems.
Call for Nominations
WCET is putting out a call for nominations for the annual WCET Outstanding Work (WOW) award. The WOW award is limited to WCET member institutions and organizations only. Award recipients will be recognized at WCET’s annual meeting in November. The deadline is April 22.
WICHE's new Policy Insights report, “Demography as Destiny: Policy Considerations in Enrollment Management,” is an analysis of data from the 8th edition of Knocking at the College Door: Projections of High School Graduates, released in December, which showed that the population of U.S. high school graduates is entering a period of modest decline and that the pool of future college students is rapidly growing more racially and ethnically diverse. Another Policy Insights paper, “Tuition and Fees in the West, 2012-13,” analyzes the latest data from WICHE’s annual survey, “Tuition and Fees in Public Higher Education in the West”.
A new Western Policy Exchanges, “After the Funding Is Through: CACG Program Sustainability,” provides recommendations for states to consider to ensure that the work they’ve accomplished with federal College Access Challenge Grant funding continues. Look for these three publications on the WICHE Policy pages soon.
“Benchmarks: WICHE Region 2012” presents information on the West’s progress in improving access to, success in, and financing of higher education. The information, including state-by-state data, is updated annually to monitor changes over time.
A new survey of nearly 200 colleges, “What Are States Doing (or not Doing) about State Authorization – Revisited”, conducted by WCET, UPCEA and Sloan-C, found that a growing number of colleges have obtained the necessary approvals in states in which they serve distance students, but many have a long way to go. What’s more, an increasing number of institutions no longer accept students from some states. “Two-thirds of responding colleges sought authorization in at least one state," according to Russell Poulin, deputy director of WCET – about double the rate seen in a 2011 survey. “But only 15 percent responded that they have all the approvals they need.”
Another new WCET publication, “A Simple Guide to Navigating the MOOC Muddle,” by Luke Dowden and Myk Garn, and part of WCET’s new Talking Points series, is designed to be conversation starter for institutional leaders who are considering whether to develop and offer a MOOC.
Mental Health News
Dennis Mohatt, WICHE vice president for behavioral health, was a U.S. delegate to the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership in Auckland, New Zealand in March. Mental Health Program Director Mimi McFaul and Senior Project Director Tamara DeHay were featured in the American Psychological Association Monitor for their work as editors of the Journal of Rural Mental Health.
The Western Alliance of Community College Academic Leaders (the Alliance) held its second annual meeting – themed “Readiness, Completion and Success – on Whose Terms?” – on April 2-3 in San Francisco. The meeting drew a record-breaking number of Alliance members, including the chief academic officers of the community colleges and technical schools in the WICHE states and related system and state agencies. Featured speakers included Kay McClenney, University of Texas at Austin, and Peter Quigley, University of Hawai‘i System, who spoke on the community college completion agenda; and Bernadine Chuck Fong, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, who discussed how to improve developmental math outcomes in community colleges. Panel discussions included “Skipping College to a Credential or Career Success,” moderated by Barry Russell, California Community Colleges; and “Ensuring Tomorrow’s High Caliber Workforce and Civic Leadership: A Focus on Success for All Students,” moderated by Rhonda Epper, Colorado Community College System. Part of the meeting was held in conjunction with that of the California Community College Chief Instructional Officers.
WCET’s PAR Framework project was one of eight educational technology startups chosen to participate in the Launch Pad at the Sloan-C 6th Annual International Symposium on Emerging Technologies for Online Learning on April 9-11 in Las Vegas. The Launch Pad introduces innovative ed-tech entrepreneurs and entities to conference participants.