An August 2015 Business Insider article about the 50 best colleges in America indicated that “when it comes to assessing the value of a college, the most important factor to consider is how much that school helps students succeed in life.” According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, help is defined as “to do something that makes it easier for someone to do a job, to deal with a problem, etc.: to aid or assist someone.” As an institution of higher learning we have the great reward every day to aid and be of service to our customers, the students. It requires everyone to be a team player and the “behind-the-scenes” work/preparation is just as critical as the event and/or time in the classroom. Many of the courses on college campuses incorporate an element of teamwork or cooperative learning. The same should hold true at the institution, in fact with have a responsibility to model the way before them. The age-old phrase “do as I say and not as I do” is out the window. If students see teamwork and service incorporated within our organization they can’t deny its effectiveness. Continue reading
A survey released earlier this year from insurance firm Haven Life and research organization, YouGov cited that only about 13% of Americans believe that today’s children will be better off financially than they were when their career reached its peak.
There is plenty of evidence to point to which helps substantiate this worry. However, there are outliners. Michigan Tech is one of those outliners. The average household income of Michigan Tech freshmen this fall was about $89,000. Payscale.com surveying indicates that today, Michigan Tech alums at mid-career currently make $99,900. So it’s reasonable to conclude that a Michigan Tech education enables social mobility. Continue reading
One of the issues in this upcoming presidential election is that of the shrinking middle class. The Pew Charitable Trusts has found that the middle class has shrunk in every single state between the years of 2000 and 2013. In Michigan, the study found that the median income shrank from inflation adjusted $61,551 in 2001 to $48,273 in 2013.
One can expect to hear common drumbeats from the presidential contenders; from fortifying the minimum wage to decreasing payroll taxes have predictably already been employed in stump speeches. In my view what we don’t hear enough of is the role that a STEM-based education can play in social mobility. Continue reading
After many years of debate, in September the White House finally released its College Scorecard website. The scorecard includes information about colleges such as six-year graduation rates, retention from freshman to sophomore year, repayment of loans, post-graduation earnings and cost, as well as demographics on the student body, academic programs offered and typical test scores of admitted students.
For people in my profession, one of the best features of the new site is that the complete data set is available for download. Using this data set one can begin to create their own comparative review of colleges and universities. One would expect to see a myriad of websites start to pop up that tap into these data to give the student consumer a set of robust tools to help guide their college search. Continue reading
Last month I attended a national college fair in Minneapolis. The fair, held in a large convention center downtown, featured hundreds of universities from across the country, and for three days university representatives met with hundreds of students looking to make an important decision about their future.
I saw mostly stuffy, traditional, conservative, (and a handful of edgy) university identities on full display–most had the same “we’re unique like everyone else” messages for the swaths of high school students they encountered:
“Your adventure awaits.”
“Ready to thrive.”
You get the idea. Continue reading
Attracting high school females to computing majors isn’t easy. If it was, we wouldn’t need national initiatives to solve the problem. At Michigan Technological University, we’ve been trying to crack this nut (er…code) for a few years through targeted communications, name buys, and information sessions.
Thanks to a grant from the National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT), we were challenged to rethink our strategy. Rather than tell young women about careers in computing, how do we show them what they can do with computing?
It’s simple really. Build it.
Build code. Build a circuit board. Build a robot. Build an on-campus program. Continue reading
Co-ops and Internships are situations where students take their knowledge for a test drive. Companies hire these university students to work at their operations for 3 to 8 months, assigning them mentors and giving them real world work to complete individually and with teams or seasoned professionals. So what is the impact on the student of this experience?
A team of researchers led by Joseph Raelin at Northeastern University conducted a study to explore how these corporate experiences impacted the student’s self-efficacy. They created three categories of student self-efficacy to measure: work self-efficacy, career self-efficacy, and academic self-efficacy. They found that students that participated in co-ops and internships experienced increases in work and career self-efficacy, but actually experienced an incremental decrease in academic self-efficacy. Continue reading
Like most institutions, Michigan Tech studies which of our students tend to fair the best academically. One of the ways we measure success is how many of our students persist from their first year to their second year. This metric, called first year retention, can be influenced by all sorts of variables. This past year 87% of our students retained from their first year to their second year.
Recently we asked ourselves, of all of the data points we know about accepted students before they enroll which of those tended to correlate highest with students who persisted from their first year to their second year. We looked at everything students tell us on both the application and in the Free Application for Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA). In addition we reviewed what we know about them from their behavior such as when they applied for admission or if they visited campus. We narrowed down that list to 61 variables and then looked back in history for the last three years to see which of those variables correlated highest with the students who retained from their first year to second. Continue reading
There are no shortage of news stories citing that student borrowing (nationally) has surpassed $1.1 trillion. That figure covers every loan from private for-profit trade schools, to community colleges, to non-profit, to public, to grad schools. Borrowing covers education for skills/degrees ranging from beauticians to cardiac surgeons.
A comprehensive study released by Brookings, looks at the characteristics of borrowers, the institutions they attended, and how that contributed to rising loan default rates that are so much a part of the news. Continue reading
Higher Ed marketing is playing catch up. Administrators are figuring out what the business world already has—brand is just as important as the product.
With more than 2,500 universities and colleges in the United States—it’s clear prospective students have options.
So how does a college stand out? The answer: a memorable brand. A brand that connects.
Michigan Tech is looking inward by developing its brand to clearly understand the It Factor that attracted 1,277 new undergrad Huskies this year.
What is a brand anyway? And how does it fit into higher education?
A brand is the emotional connection our audience has with what we offer as a university. Conveying that message is the tricky part. It has to be simple and flexible for all departments, organizations, and units to effectively use. Continue reading