What's New at the DHE
Governor Patrick, Education Leaders To Salute Community College, State University and UMass Graduates for Academic, Civic Achievements
Each year, a "29 Who Shine" banner drapes the State House for the week of the ceremony.
April 25—The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education will kick off the 2013 college commencement season by honoring the winners of the 29 Who Shine Awards, recognizing 29 public college and university students for their academic achievements and civic contributions to the Commonwealth. The students, one from each of the state’s 29 community college, state university and UMass campuses, will be recognized by Governor Patrick in a State House ceremony scheduled for Thursday, May 2, 2013, at 12 noon.
This year’s honorees include five students who have created non-profit organizations and/or small businesses in their local communities, and one student who hopes to market computer inventions for which he holds patents. One third of the students will graduate with degrees in high-demand fields for which Massachusetts has a critical need for employees, such as the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), health care and finance sectors. An additional one third of the group are adult students, age 25 or older. Four are parents.
“Our data tell us that one year after graduation, nine out of every ten public college and university students remain here in Massachusetts, living and working or furthering their studies,” said Richard M. Freeland, Commissioner of Higher Education. “These students truly represent the future citizenry and workforce of the state. They are very high caliber, a sign that our future appears to be in good hands.” Each of the student honorees has chosen a faculty or staff mentor who provided them with motivational support and intellectual guidance on campus. These mentors will be honored at a luncheon in the Great Hall of Flags, sponsored by the Massachusetts Teachers Association, to be held immediately after the awards ceremony.
Across the state, publishers of more than a dozen daily newspapers will honor the 29 Who Shine with donated full and half-page advertisements scheduled to run on May 2. Additionally, Clear Channel Communications, owners of JAM’N 94.5 and KISS-108 radio stations in Boston, has donated free radio advertising during the month of April to honor the students.
March 26—Governor Deval Patrick today joined Education Secretary Matthew Malone, Higher Education Commissioner Richard Freeland, UMass Boston Chancellor J. Keith Motley and 100 students to announce the Commonwealth’s new High-Demand Scholarships, awarded to students pursuing careers for which the state has an urgent need for skilled talent. The Commonwealth’s knowledge-based economy relies on a high-knowledge, well-skilled workforce for continued growth, and these scholarships will help ensure that Massachusetts has the talent needed to remain competitive in the 21st century.
“These scholarships encourage students to pursue studies in the high-needs fields where we have thousands of job openings,” said Governor Patrick. “Step by step, we are better aligning our public colleges and universities to meet the workforce needs of our growing economy.”
High-Demand Scholarships will assist students majoring in the Commonwealth’s growing health care, science, technology, engineering, math (STEM), business and finance sectors, and those planning careers in fields like computer science, engineering, nursing and the life sciences. Of the available scholarships, 52 percent were awarded to UMass students, qualifying them for spring semester scholarships of $3,250 each. Twenty-eight percent of the scholarships were awarded to state university students, eligible to receive $2,750 each and 20 percent of the awards went to community college students, who will receive $2,000 each this semester. The average GPA for a High-Demand Scholarship recipient is 3.76, and more than half the recipients have demonstrated high financial need. In order to qualify, students must attend one of the state’s public institutions.
March 17—The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education announced today that Dr. Carlos Santiago, former Chief Executive Officer of the Hispanic College Fund, will join the Department effective April 8 as Senior Deputy Commissioner for Academic Affairs. The Department also announced that Sean Nelson, former CFO of the Boston Public Library, the nation’s oldest public library, has assumed the position of Deputy Commissioner for Administration and Finance.
Both Santiago and Nelson will work closely with Higher Education Commissioner Richard Freeland to advance the goals of the Vision Project, the Commonwealth’s strategic agenda to achieve national leadership among state systems of public higher education.
Prior to leading the Hispanic College Fund, Dr. Santiago served as Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee for six years. He worked closely with (now former) Governor Jim Doyle to enhance the stature of UW-Milwaukee as the state's 2nd largest research institution. As a result of these efforts, $365 million in public and private investments were secured for new campus construction and other initiatives. UW-Milwaukee also opened two new schools, the School of Public Health and the School of Freshwater Sciences, and expanded doctoral programs by one-third during Dr. Santiago’s tenure.
Sean Nelson, recently named Deputy Commissioner for Administration and Finance, oversaw the Boston Public Library’s $41 million annual operating budget and $15 million capital budget in concert with the strategic planning goals and initiatives of the Library and its board of trustees.
In addition to his four years as CFO at the BPL, Nelson has served as the Chief Financial Officer for the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety and as a Fiscal Policy Analyst at the Executive Office of Administration and Finance. A New Bedford native, he received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and his Master’s in Public Policy from Tufts University.
>> Press release (.PDF)
Board of Higher Education Joins Board of Elementary & Secondary Education in Defining College and Career “Readiness”
March 12—The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education (BHE) voted today to accept a new definition of what it takes for students to become ready for life after high school. The BHE action follows a “yes” vote on the state’s new college & career readiness definition taken by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on February 26th.
Voting on the definition marks the first time that the two boards overseeing the state’s K-12 schools and public colleges and universities have partnered in formal agreement on what it means to be prepared for success in college and in the workplace. The three-page definition is intended to provide better coordination between schools and colleges, with the goal of aligning curriculum and expectations for students.
“The Commonwealth has defined a set of learning competencies, intellectual capacities and experiences essential to all students to become lifelong learners, positive contributors to their families, workplaces and communities, and successfully engaged citizens of a global 21st century,” the new Massachusetts Definition of College and Career Readiness (.PDF) reads. The definition identifies the ability to read and comprehend “sufficiently complex texts,” to write effectively when using and/or analyzing sources, and to be able to build knowledge through research as essential competencies. Also included in the definition are workplace skills, such as the ability to accept direction and criticism, and qualities that students should be able to demonstrate, such as critical thinking skills and the ability to direct and evaluate their own learning.
“It is more important than ever to know what it takes to be prepared for college and career success, and today’s vote means that students and families will have information that they need to make the best choices about high school and beyond,” said Education Secretary Matthew Malone. “I applaud the leadership of Commissioner Chester, Commissioner Freeland, and our Boards of Elementary and Secondary Education and Higher Education, and commend them for working together and taking this important step forward.”
The definition emerged from ongoing work by the Departments of Higher Education and Elementary & Secondary Education to close the gap between what students are expected to have mastered before receiving a high school diploma, and the knowledge and skills needed to be successful after they graduate.
November 19—Governor Deval Patrick announced today that, under existing Board of Higher Education policy, certain young immigrants who meet criteria under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will be considered eligible for in-state tuition at the Commonwealth’s 29 public college and university campuses, provided that they meet residency requirements.
Massachusetts Student Veterans Encourage Fellow Vets to "Go Public!" at Community Colleges, State Universities and UMass
November 2—The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education today announced that Massachusetts community colleges, state universities and UMass campuses will host a dedicated GO PUBLIC! event for prospective students who are military veterans on Thursday, November 8 at 6 p.m. at Bunker Hill Community College. The GO PUBLIC! program is part of a statewide series of events to promote the academic excellence and value of public higher education. The program will be hosted by House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop). Veterans Services Secretary Coleman Nee and Higher Education Commissioner Richard Freeland will also address students during the program.
The GO PUBLIC! program is part of a statewide series of events to promote the academic excellence and value of public higher education. This November event will feature three student veterans who will share their personal experiences in making the transition from military service to college life, and marks the first time that the entire public higher education system has united in a single, coordinated effort to promote its programs and opportunities directly through veteran-to-veteran information sharing.
Fifty-eight percent of Massachusetts veterans using the Post-9/11 GI Bill currently choose to attend a community college, state university or UMass campus (see attached file for detailed enrollment information). Among them are the three students who will address prospective student veterans at the November 8th event: Matthew Hobert, Bunker Hill Community College; Daniel Leenhouts, Framingham State University; and Lindsey Fairweather, UMass Boston. Also attending the November 8 GO PUBLIC! event at Bunker Hill Community College are admissions and veterans’ benefits staff to provide information to prospective students. The event is free and open to all U.S. military personnel and family members.
New data analysis released by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education confirms that, while the state’s high school population is slowly declining, many public campuses across the state continue to see a rise in undergraduate enrollment. Much of the growth is being fueled by increases in the numbers of Latino students and older students who are seeking college degrees, the data show.
The 2012 Early Enrollment Report presented to the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education on October 16 reveals significant one-year enrollment growth at five campuses: Framingham State University (6.2%), University of Massachusetts Lowell (5%), Fitchburg State University (4.3%), Bunker Hill Community College (4%) and Northern Essex Community College (3.9%).
“The data tell an important story, namely that many of our campuses continue to see remarkable growth while also serving as critical gateways for under-served populations,” said Commissioner Richard M. Freeland. “We think these statistics likely reflect the conditions of a tight labor market and the increasing economic pressure to obtain college credentials in order to better compete for jobs.”
Latino students, adults 25+ driving enrollment trends
The Massachusetts public higher education system continues to see substantial growth in student enrollment within two specific population groups: Latino students and adult students aged 25 and over. Between 2008 and 2011:
- New enrollment by students 25 years old or older increased by 21%, compared to 6% for students below the age of 25. One in four students in the public higher education system is now at or above the age of 25.
- New Latino student enrollment at Massachusetts public colleges and universities increased 50%. The enrollment of non-Latino students increased 7% during the same period.
At the same time, the overall slowing of enrollment growth implies that Massachusetts will have to work much harder to reach its goal of producing more college graduates who are needed to fill jobs in the state’s knowledge-based employment sectors. Improving college graduation rates is a key element in the Vision Project, the Commonwealth’s strategic plan for academic excellence in higher education.
Please Complete Our Survey on College and Career Readiness
Update: This survey has closed. We will publish results soon.
The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education are seeking feedback from educators, parents, students, communities, employers, workers, the general public and all related stakeholders on a DRAFT definition for Massachusetts on what it means to be "College and Career Ready." Our goal is to capture the broadest possible feedback across Massachusetts’ P-16 environment while arriving at a definition that is clear, reflects our educational goals and values, and is workable for stakeholders. The deadline for responses is 5:00 pm ET on November 2, 2012.
Fall "Go Public!" Events Encourage High School Students to Consider Massachusetts' Public Colleges and Universities
“Go Public!” is a new campaign organized by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education in partnership with Massachusetts' 29 public colleges and universities. The fall 2012 series features events at local high schools as well as a special Boston-area event for prospective students who are military veterans.
Each event will be hosted by a leading member of the Legislature and will feature student speakers who tell of their experience attending a community college, state university or UMass campus. Governor Patrick has videotaped a special message to high school students which will also be shared at the events. Campuses will run financial aid and career planning seminars for students and their families. Admissions officers from many of the state’s public colleges and universities will be on site at each event to answer questions.
Department of Higher Education Issues "Time to Lead," the First Annual Vision Project Report
September 20—The Department of Higher Education (DHE), joined by state education, legislative and business leaders, released today a new report on the changing role of public higher education in Massachusetts. The first annual Vision Project report, entitled Time to Lead: The Need for Excellence in Public Higher Education, offers the first comprehensive view of where the Commonwealth’s public higher education system stands, in comparison to other states, on a number of key indicators including graduation rates, student learning and workforce development. At a time when more students than ever are enrolling in public higher education in Massachusetts, the Patrick-Murray Administration is committed to ensuring that all students in the Commonwealth have access to a world-class public higher education system.
Why is it "Time to Lead"? Watch the official video: