Student parents on Colorado’s college campuses are struggling to find support. And, faculty members in Florida consider finding jobs elsewhere amid political turmoil.

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A newsletter about role of higher education in society — plus Open Campus developments.

‘We don’t know if we have 50 student parents or 5,000’

Many public colleges in Colorado don’t know how many of their students are parents, Jason Gonzales, our reporter at Chalkbeat Colorado, wrote this week.

State census data suggests that parents make up a little less than a third of undergraduates. And, Colorado State University Fort Collins is among those that have tried voluntary surveys to ask students if they are also parents. But precise numbers are hard to come by — and that’s a problem. It leaves the student parents on campus feeling isolated.

“Every time I tell my professors that I’m a mom and I’m an undergrad, they say, ‘You’re my first,’” said Deysi Parga Macias, a now 20-year-old junior at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Student parents need extra support to get to graduation: Despite having higher GPAs on average, they are 10 times less likely to graduate. Student parents are also more likely to be Black and low-income, take on more student loan debt, and struggle to find stable housing, Jason found.

“We don’t know if we have 50 student parents or 5,000,” said Lisa Chandler, CSU Fort Collins adult learner and veteran services assistant director.

Brain drain in Florida is ‘certainly happening’

A survey of faculty members in Florida, Texas, North Carolina, and Georgia released this week found about one-third are considering looking for jobs in different states.

The results show that tenure restrictions; bans on diversity, equity, and inclusion spending; and political pressure are weighing heavily on many faculty members in those states. Our reporters in Texas and Florida have been following this closely — we’ll discuss these shifts (and more) on Sept. 27 in a virtual event. Please join us, and spread the word.

Our coverage of the survey:

  • “The brain drain that we’ve been concerned about, and the trends that we’ve been wondering about, based on what we’ve seen here, are certainly happening,” Andrew Gothard, president of Florida’s statewide faculty union, told Divya Kumar and Ian Hodgson, our reporters at the Tampa Bay Times.
  • About two-thirds of Texas respondents said they wouldn’t recommend out-of-state colleagues take positions there.

Turmoil at Delta State University

Illustration credit: Bethany Atkinson / Mississippi Today

A department reeling from the violent murder of its chair. An interim appointment, with no experience running a department — and a history of being accused of domestic abuse.

Molly Minta at Mississippi Today dug deep into Delta State University’s music department, and the university’s decision to appoint a business consultant, Kent Wessinger, to lead it out of tragedy.

The selection of Wessinger is an interesting one: He had taught entrepreneurship at a university in Belize — that’s where he met Andy Novobilski, the former Delta State provost. But he’s not a musician, nor was he a tenured faculty member.

Still, he believed the music department was his to fix. But his year there “did not raise morale or build bonds between faculty and students, but rather further grieved faculty who already feared for the department’s future,” Molly writes.

Elsewhere on Open Campus

Incoming freshmen at Chatham University gather for a mandatory presentation on consent and prevention of sexual violence. (Photo: Alexis Wary/PublicSource)

From Pittsburgh: More than half of sexual assaults on college campuses occur between the start of the semester and Thanksgiving Break. As we enter another Red Zone, Emma Folts at PublicSource looks at new sexual assault-prevention efforts on Pittsburgh’s campuses.

From Chicago: During a faculty strike, Chicago State University administrators said financial pressure meant they couldn’t meet salary demands. But its president was recently awarded a $50,000 bonus, bringing her total compensation for the year to more than $500,000, reports Lisa Philip at WBEZ Chicago.

From College Inside: Why student loan debt is a massive reentry issue for incarcerated borrowers.

From Mississippi: Delta State recently put out its academic freedom policy. It may be the university’s first.

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