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Showing posts from May, 2022

Another look at diversity in public higher ed

 It's been a while since I wrote about diversity using Simpson's Diversity Index, which is an ecologist's way of looking at diversity of a population.  Essentially, Simpson's gives us a number that helps us answer this question: If two members of a population are randomly selected, what is the probability that they will be from different groups?  The formula for Simpson's creates a value between 0 and 1.  If we use it to look at different racial or ethnic groups in colleges, we'd find that a college with a score of .62 is more diverse than one with a score of .51, for instance. This is different than the way we think about diversity in higher education, which often means the percentage of students who are from underrepresented groups (Hispanic, or African-American for instance.)  Using that classic definition, Florida A&M (with 86% African-American enrollment) would be very diverse; using Simpson's, it is the least diverse public institution in Florida. 

What about transfers?

The world of college admission--or at least the discussion of it--is too often focused on freshman admission, and then, too often focused on freshman admission at the highly rejective colleges (h/t to Akil Bello ).  People tend to think most students apply to a college at age 17 or 18, spend four years at that one institution, and then graduate.   But just like the Kardashians aren't reflective of the typical American family even though they get a lot of press, neither is that little sliver of college admissions reflective of the reality of our profession .   Transfers have become a topic of interest to people who cover higher education recently, with stories in all the big, national media outlets.  So I decided to take a look at some data from IPEDS to see what the national trends look like. Even though I limited the view of this data to four-year colleges and universities that offer degrees, that doesn't tell the whole story: A lot of students transfer from a four-year colleg

The Changing Shape of American Higher Ed Enrollment

Much has been made recently of changes in enrollment in US Higher Ed: Fewer males ( is it a crisis or not? ).  Shrinking enrollments .  Changes in admissions due to test optional and COVID . In this recent piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education , I recently pointed out that one of the ways colleges stayed viable during previous enrollment shifts was to expand both physical campus locations and offerings and degree programs tailored to working adults.  So that got me thinking about the shifts in enrollment by age, something I'd not explicitly looked at before. On the surface it may not seem that exciting, but if you dig down enough and connect the dots, you might find some interesting societal trends.  So follow along. Before we do, if you're using this data in your professional life, either as a college EM staff member or a for-profit consultant, I appreciate your support for my time, webhosting, and software costs.  You can show support by clicking here. Some background: P