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2020 IHE Report News

Welcome to the 2020 edition of the IHE Report!

Much has happened in the past year, and, to be quite honest, the challenges have not gotten any easier since the end of March, when we quickly left campus due to the novel coronavirus and the evolving pandemic. As we put this publication together, however, I was pleasantly reminded of the resilience and creativity within the Institute of Higher Education community—our students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends. Together, we continue to make a difference, and I remain optimistic about the future.

New Comprehensive Exam System

PhD students now have the option to take their written comprehensive exams as a three-week evaluation. Previously, candidates reported to Meigs Hall and sat for the exam in a four-hour block. Students who matriculated before 2019 may elect their preferred format, but the new system is popular. 

As a professional in Institutional Research (IR), I’ve always valued the “R” in IR.  Over the years, I have benefitted greatly from the volume of esteemed scholarly works by IHE faculty. IHE’s graduate students bring new knowledge and advance analytical skills to their positions after they graduate, as faculty members, institutional administrators or higher education researchers.   

Chronicle of Higher Education Power of the Professoriate

Tim Cain was interviewed for “The Latest Assault on Tenure,” published in The Chronicle of Higher Education on February 16, 2020. The article explores changes in academic norms that enable institutions to lay-off tenured faculty to prevent financial exigency rather than as a response to it.

NSF Sponsors Study of Experiential Learning Opportunities in STEM

Karen Webber (Pi) and Amy Stich (co-PI) were awarded $690,027 by the National Science Foundation to study how students’ access to experiential learning opportunities is affected by their proximity to areas with major economic and workforce activity.

Wes Fugate, President Wilson College (PA) What were your aspirations and expectations at the start of 2020, and how did those shift as the COVID-19 crisis erupted?
By Erik Ness, Associate Professor of Higher Education
By Rob Toutkoushian, Professor of Higher Education

In May 2020, the University of California (UC) announced that over a five-year period, it will phase out the requirement that applicants submit SAT or ACT scores and will develop and implement its own standardized test. If a new UC-specific test is not developed after five years, then UC will abandon the use of standardized tests altogether. 

By Tim Cain, Associate Professor of Higher Education
New director brings relevant skill set and commitment to higher education access and retention.

Brook Thompson joins IHE as the director of the Georgia College Advising Corps (GCAC). She brings wide experience with college access programs, recruitment and retention among diverse populations, and school-c0llege-community networks. 

Robinson Receives Data Driven Program Director Award

Jessica Robinson, GCAC director 2018-2020, received this year’s Data Driven Program Director Award from the College Advising Corps (CAC). The award recognizes Robinson's emphasis on tracking actionable data and using it to achieve sustained results.

Teaching and Learning with the Governor's Teaching Fellows

While some faculty may have felt isolated as they implemented new teaching techniques this spring, participants and alumni of the Governor’s Teaching Fellows (GTF) program could lean on their GTF connections through the transition. 


The Institute dedicated a bench in memory of Ginger Szabo Durham, a graduate of the second cohort of the Executive Ed.D. program, on the afternoon of October 2. 

l Maurice Shirley, postdoctoral teaching and research associate 2019-2020, accepted a tenure-track assistant professor position in the Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) program at the Indiana University College of Education.

Faculty Workload Project

Whether students are interested in state or federal higher education policy, the Institute has an active community of graduates and fellows to support them with an accessible network of excellence and experience. These connections provide opportunities for our community to find formal and informal mentors and research collaborators. IHE ties with the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) and the American Council on Education (ACE) have grown during the past decade. 

The IHE Community Supports Four Scholarships that Directly Assist Student Research Jennifer May-Trifiletti
Julianne O’ Connell, University Housing

On Thursday evening of Spring Break, I learned classes were suspended for two weeks and that students were not to return to campus—even to collect personal items. But as a graduate resident in Creswell Hall, leading a staff of Resident Assistants, I was to return to campus immediately, if I felt comfortable doing so. University Housing was operating in an all-hands-on-deck mode. 

Graduates Continuing Higher Education Journeys

HESS Officers, 2020/2021

The Higher Education Student Society (HESS) is active throughout the year offering academic, professional and social events (see photos below).

     Alexa Arndt, president      Grace Covello, secretary      Sarah Burman, treasurer      Kanler Cumbass, master’s representative


Anthony Leigh (EdD 2019) was honored by the Interfraternity and Panhellenic Councils of Huntingdon College as Staff Member of the Year. Leigh, who serves as the senior vice president for student and institutional development, tries to celebrate the many ways that Huntingdon students involve themselves in the life of the college. 

Oral Histories by a Beloved Former Director and Professor at IHE

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