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.
Mental Health News
Tuition and Fees in Public Higher Education in the West, 2008-2009, Detailed Tuition and Fee Tables is the latest update of our annual report on tuition and mandatory fees at public institutions in WICHE’s 15-state region. The report includes an institution-by-institution review of tuition changes for the current academic year, as well as those from one, five, and 10 years ago. In November WICHE’s Student Exchange Program released A Closer Look at Healthcare Workforce Needs in the West: Oral Healthcare. The fourth in a series that looks specifically at the West’s healthcare workforce needs (other reports are also available online), the brief highlights the lack of access to oral healthcare in the rural West and examines new roles that allied oral professionals can play in serving rural and underserved populations.
Funding Higher Ed: An Assist for Legislators
As the 2009 legislative sessions progress, WICHE is publishing a series of eight policy briefs designed to help legislators and policymakers better understand the complex and difficult-to-balance mix of higher education appropriations, tuition, and financial aid. The series, Getting What You Pay For (available in print and online http://wiche.edu/policy/ this month), was developed with support from Lumina Foundation for Education and grew out of an earlier project called Changing Direction: Integrating Higher Education Financial Aid and Financing Policy, which investigated how various higher education financingapproaches could either enhance student access to and success in college or seriously detract from it. WICHE worked intensively with 14 states during the Changing Direction project and less intensively with another 28, helping them align their appropriations, tuition, and financial aid policy. With Getting What You Pay For, WICHE has created eight concise briefs that report on the tactics and processes used by these states. Topics range from tuition policy and federal financial aid to higher education productivity and economic development. For copies of the briefs, contact Cheryl Graves at 303.541.0269 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the project, contact Carl Krueger at 303.541.0263 or email@example.com.
Two Ways Institutions Can Save Money Now
Two WICHE programs are helping colleges and universities in the West to make the most out of every dollar in their shrinking budgets. The first, the Master Property Program (MPP), is a property insurance and risk-management initiative that has saved institutions over $40 million since its inception. The MPP, developed by the Midwest Higher Education Compact (MHEC), has 100 member campuses (48 primary policies) with total insured values of nearly $63 billion overall. Participating institutions in the West include: Pima County Community College District (AZ), University of Northern Colorado (CO), Nevada System of Higher Education (NV), Lewis & Clark College (OR), Reed College (OR), Willamette University (OR), and Westminster College (UT). In addition to saving money, members earn dividends based on their annual loss ratios. On March 11-13, representatives from WICHE-region institutions will participate in the MPP’s annual meeting and loss control workshop, exchanging best practices and lessons learned and working with experts in risk management, facilities management, campus security, and environmental health. WICHE is also partnering with MHEC on a second program that provides discounted purchasing options to higher education institutions, state agencies, county and municipal governments, and other nonprofits that want to buy printing equipment and document management services from Xerox. Under the contract MHEC and WICHE members can use Xerox for their office printing needs and production printing services. Participants will also be able to use Xerox services, including productivity assessments and document advisories, to help manage and streamline records and administrative documents. "We first began working with Xerox in 2003, and our members have benefitted greatly through cost savings and improved efficiencies in their print environments," says MHEC CIO Grant Crawford. "As a consortium, we were able to negotiate a contract with Xerox where our members and WICHE’s constituencies will continue to save by taking advantage of the power of cooperative purchasing." Milwaukee Area Technical College, for instance, signed on with Xerox last year to overhaul the school's document management systems and anticipates saving approximately $3.5 million over the length of its five-year commitment. In the WICHE region, the City of Lakewood in Colorado and the Hanahauoli School in Hawaii are the first organizations to make purchases under the new contract. For more information on the Master Property Program or the Xerox purchasing contact, contact Jere Mock, WICHE vice president of programs and services, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303.541.0222.
Policy Grant Expanded
WICHE has chosen two new states to participate in its project Non-traditional No More: Policy Solutions for Adult Learners. WICHE will work with New Jersey and South Dakota over the next two years to stimulate and guide policy and practice changes that will make it easier for “ready adults” – those who are just shy of having enough credits to obtain a degree but haven’t yet returned to college – to earn their diplomas. The overarching goal of Non-traditional No More, supported by two grants from Lumina Foundation for Education totaling more than $1.1 million, is to increase adult learners’ access to and success in postsecondary education. New Jersey and South Dakota will join Arkansas, Colorado, and Nevada, which began work on the project last year. Each state receives $65,000 over two years and is an integral part of a coordinated national effort organized by WICHE to conduct this important work. “In light of the current economic difficulties, this project provides a unique opportunity for these states to improve the education of their workforces,” says WICHE President David Longanecker. “By helping states target ‘ready adults’ and bring them back to college, the project will help them develop a highly educated workforce that will be one key to an economic recovery.”
The Mental Health Program is offering a 12-hour mental health first aid training course in Western states, designed to give members of the public key skills to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. Growing evidence demonstrates that such training helps the public identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illness. Mental health first aiders learn to assess risk; respectfully listen to and support individuals in crisis; identify and contact appropriate professional help; and work in a variety of situations, such as helping someone through a panic attack or with an acute stress reaction, engaging with someone who may be suicidal, supporting a person experiencing psychosis, and helping an individual who has overdosed. Trainees are also introduced to the risk factors and warning signs of specific illnesses, such as anxiety, depression, psychosis, and addiction; engage in experiential activities that build understanding of the impact of illness; and learn information about evidence-supported treatment programs. Training can be hosted at WICHE or on location. For more information contact Nicole Speer at 303.541.0257 or email@example.com. WCET is offering professional development-at-a-distance with its spring 2009 webcast series. The series kicks off on March 18 with “Loosely Coupled Teaching with Web 2.0,” followed by “Helping Students Avoid Plagiarism Potholes” on April 1, “Education to Go: Mobile Learning Today” on April 15, and “Innovations in Online Student Retention” on April 29. WCET members who purchase the entire series will receive a discount. For more information and to register, visit the WCET webcast page.
In December WICHE broadened the scope of its Northwest Academic Forum (NWAF) to include academic leaders in all WICHE states and renamed the organization the Western Academic Leadership Forum (WALF). Through WALF academic leaders from member institutions and agencies partner to build a stronger future for higher education in the West, sharing information, resources, and expertise as they address issues of common concern and work together on innovative solutions. WALF will hold its annual meeting in Anchorage, hosted by the University of Alaska Anchorage, on April 22-24. The program, themed “Taking Stock: Strategic Leadership in Changing Times,” will focus on the strategies that academic leaders are using to maintain quality with budget cuts at unprecedented levels. Experts on the national and regional fiscal crisis will address the plenary sessions. Breakout sessions will focus on benchmarks and best practices in student and faculty success and retention. Provosts, vice presidents, directors of academic affairs, and directors of research from public and private master’s level and doctoral-granting institutions, along with chief executive and chief academic officers of systems and statewide agencies from the WICHE states, are invited to attend. For more information about the annual program, visit WALF online. WICHE’s Mental Health Program is holding a conference on rural mental health in Denver on March 5-6. “From the Bench to the Ranch” will bring together rural mental health researchers, providers, policymakers, consumers, and funding agencies to discuss how to adapt current evidence-based practices to rural and frontier communities and create new evidence-based practices for them. Visit Regonline to learn more, including the agenda, speaker list, and poster abstract submission information
Call for Conference Proposals & Nominations
WCET’s annual conference, to be held October 21-24, 2009, in Denver, is the premier professional development event in the field of e-learning. The call for conference proposals is now open, with a deadline of March 2. The conference strands include teaching and learning, student services, innovative tools and technology, institutional policies and practices, and national/international topics. You don’t have to be affiliated with a WCET member institution to be on the conference program; and in light of travel restrictions affecting some states, some presenters may be invited to participate remotely. For information visit the WCET website or email firstname.lastname@example.org. WICHE’s Mental Health Program is looking for programs and practices that have a positive impact on the behavioral health of rural Americans. In collaboration with the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Office of Rural Health Policy and the Nakamoto Group, the program is working to identify promising practices, best practices, models that work, and evidence-based practices in rural behavioral health. In the initial stage of the project, the program is asking people to nominate a practice by completing a brief survey. We’d greatly appreciate your assistance in forwarding this announcement to others who may have practices to nominate. The deadline is March 13 (5 p.m., PST). For more information, contact Nicole Speer at 303.541.0257 or email@example.com. Beyond WICHE, Excelencia in Education, a group that focuses on higher education practices for Latinos, is currently accepting nominations for 2009 to honor for programs and departments making a positive difference for Latino students at the associate, baccalaureate, and graduate levels. Nominations will be accepted through May 15. For more information go to Excelencia online.
WICHE is lending displaced e-learning professionals a hand, extending member privileges, on a temporary basis, to those recently laid off by an institution or organization that is a dues-paying member in WCET. In addition, member institutions, organizations and businesses will be invited to post job openings on a new public website, thus promoting broader coverage of job opportunities relating to postsecondary e-learning. Two long-time WCET members were recently chosen to serve on one of five new federal rulemaking committees that will prepare proposed regulations related to the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008. Michael Offerman, vice chairman of Capella Education Company, and Muriel Oaks, dean of the Center for Distance and Professional Education at Washington State University – both nominated by WCET – were appointed to the committee focused on accreditation, including distance and correspondence education. Offerman will serve as the committee’s primary negotiator and Oaks will be the alternate. The committee will hold its first meeting in March. On February 10, WCET cohosted a meeting with the Seattle Science Foundation and the China Open Resources for Education (CORE) organization to explore interest in and strategies for developing targeted training programs for the Chinese market. The meeting drew representatives from U.S. and Canadian institutions and distinguished U.S. scientists. WCET and CORE, which has been active in promoting international exchanges of open courseware, signed a memorandum of understanding in 2007 and have been working together to advance the use of open courseware in China. Open courseware and open educational resources are gradually being adopted by postsecondary institutions around the world, especially in countries where student demand greatly exceeds institutional capacity.
The WICHE Commission’s May meeting in Las Vegas focused on some of the most critical topics in higher education today. The first plenary session honed in on “eScience,” with the University of Washington’s Ed Lazowska, the Bill & Melinda Gates Chair of Computer Science & Engineering, reporting on this new form of computational science, which marries leading-edge techniques such as data mining and machine learning with new technologies like next-generation broadband networking and cloud computing (see an earlier eScience presentation by Lazowska for more details). In another session, student financial assistance was the timely topic: speakers Sandy Baum, Skidmore College economics professor and College Board senior policy analyst, and Spencer Foundation President Michael McPherson reported on the work of the Rethinking Student Aid study group, a foundation-funded effort under the auspices of the College Board that recently released proposals for reforming the federal student aid system. Two other plenary sessions looked at the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act with Paul Lingenfelter, president of the State Higher Education Executive Officers, and WICHE President David Longanecker discussing how the act may affect the nation and the West.