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Business Intel

December 2017


A Call for Citizenship

Colleges and universities are important partners in various Aspen Institute projects taking place across the country—from providing subject matter expertise to hosting public events and helping conduct and synthesize research, notes Caroline Hopper, program manager for the institute’s Citizenship and American Identity Program. The overall aim of this program is to help sustain strong citizenship and a coherent sense of American identity. This is all the more important at a time when the country has been undergoing huge demographic shifts and experiencing increased inequality on a number of fronts, says Hopper. (For more details on promoting civil discourse, see “Deliberate Dialogue” in November 2017 Business Officer.)

The program includes three primary initiatives:

Pairing Science and Civics

Another main thrust of the What Every American Should Know initiative is to facilitate increased communication and collaboration among scientists, civic groups, and the public, explains Hopper. The Science & Civics initiative, created in early 2016, began with an underlying premise that to address the most urgent challenges a community faces, connections must be made between sound science and good policy, argues Hopper. The dilemma: Both civic literacy and scientific literacy have experienced a significant decline among the American public, notes Hopper.

Whether the issue is clean air and water, transportation, energy, or automation, finding the best solution for everyday people and their livelihoods requires knowing enough about the impacts that local communities and their leaders face, notes Hopper. In that regard, civic leaders have a duty to defend science. It’s also crucial for scientists to collaborate with community leaders to cultivate a more informed citizenry, argues Hopper.

Background work on this effort identified barriers to determine how the scientific community can work more closely with local civic organizations. Specifically:

A Science & Civics guide based on initial inputs offers a framework for collaborative action by civic groups and scientists. On the heels of launching the Science & Civics initiative, a similar approach is underway to build capacity on the topic of immigration and civics, notes Hopper.


SUBMITTED BY Karla Hignite, New York City, contributing editor to Business Officer


Hospitality Three Ways

A recent international partnership is commissioning faculty of Niagara University, Niagara Falls, N.Y., to develop hospitality curricula for students in Vietnam and other Asian countries. The university’s president, James J. Maher, signed an articulation agreement last summer with Foreign Trade University, Vietnam, and the Imperial Group, the corporation that oversees the five-star Imperial Hotel in Vung Tau.

Niagara University faculty members designed academic and experiential coursework intended to prepare graduates for careers in Vietnam’s booming hospitality and tourism industry. The nine-month program, aligned to international standards, includes coursework at FTU and hands-on training at the Imperial Hotel.

The first cohort of 150 students began the program in October, with a second cohort slated to follow soon after. Individuals who complete the program will then have the option to continue their studies at Niagara University to earn an accredited graduate degree.


Retirement Plan Trends

Findings of Transamerica Retirement Solutions’ annual survey of higher education retirement plan sponsors offer a number of insights into employee behavior as it relates to their retirement savings strategy. Here are some highlights:


“Half of the 4,000-plus colleges in the U.S. will be bankrupt in 10 to 15 years, victims of a massive migration to online education.”
— Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business School

Fast Fact

Quick Clicks

Work May Impede Academics

More than 15 hours a week at work while in college may be a dangerous combination for students, according to a report from the ACT Center for Equity. One of the specific findings in the report indicates that working too many hours contributes to “disparities in students’ academic and career success.” Over time, students from all backgrounds who work more than 15 hours per week tend to fall behind in their academic progress, as well as in their earnings, debt, and early career outcomes. The stakes for underserved groups are especially high.

The analysis is based on National Center for Education Statistics data of a national representative cohort of first-time freshmen over a period of six years.

Transfer Students and Enrollment

New results published in the State of College Admission report by NACAC (National Association for College Admission Counseling) confirm that more colleges and universities are relying on transfer students to help fill their classes. National data also show that more than one-third of all students switch schools sometime during their college career.

A greater proportion (80 percent) of public colleges rated transfer students as considerably important when compared to the share (62 percent) of private colleges. “As the number of transfer students continues to grow,” notes NACAC CEO Joyce Smith, “institutions will need to be attentive to this population’s unique needs during the admissions process.”

By The Numbers

2017 SFS Benchmarking Report (FY16 data)

Source: NACUBO 2017 Student Financial Services Benchmarking Report