Happy New Academic Year! – WCET Updates and Previews

Published by: WCET | 8/29/2019

Tags: WCET, WCET Annual Meeting

Well, it’s that time of year again—students and faculty are descending, virtually and physically, on college campuses everywhere, eagerly awaiting the start of the 2019/2020 academic year. That means that it is also time for the Marist College (formerly Beloit College) annual mindset list exploring all the changes to the world since the class of 2023 was born and reminding most of us just how old we are. Among other things, 9/11 is an historical event for the entering class.

We thought that this would be a great time to share with folks some exciting coming attractions and changes afoot at WCET.

WCET’s Steering Committee and Executive Council priorities

Over the summer, the WCET Steering Committee and Executive Council (which are made up of elected representatives from WCET member organizations) met in joint session to review their roles and talk about the future of WCET. They also discussed what actions to take on three priority issues previously identified by the Steering Committee to explore during the upcoming academic year. The three issues are: accessibility, academic integrity and contract cheating, and the expansion of the academic marketplace. The Steering Committee believes that these three issues represent difficult and growing challenges to colleges and universities. You can look forward coverage of these critical issues in posts here at Frontiers, webinars, and sessions at WCET’s Annual Meeting in November.

WCET’s Annual Meeting and Webcasts

Speaking of the Annual Meeting, we hope to see you in Denver on November 5-7. We’re excited to announce our two keynote speakers—Michael Ellison and Diane Auer Jones. Michael Ellison is the Chief Operating Officer at Codepath. This non-profit partners with colleges and major tech companies to prepare computer science students, especially underrepresented minorities, for careers in tech. As Principal Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education, Diane Auer Jones will discuss the many changes in higher education regulations that will soon be released. Early bird pricing ends September 21. See you in the Mile High City.

In September, we have two exciting webcasts:

Watch for More Features for wcetMIX

WCET MIX circle logo with the word "wcet mix"We initially introduced wcetMIX as a new home for our popular WCETDiscuss and WCETNews mailing lists. That change has happened successfully, and we are ready to introduce some new features. Don’t worry, we won’t pop these all on you at once, but here is a taste of coming attractions:

  • Topic and event communities – look for communities specific to the annual meeting, special interest groups, professional development, and more!
  • Ribbons – MIX will soon showcase your participation within the platform with gold, silver, and bronze stars and highlight engagement with WCET.

Changes at WCET

There’s lots of excitement here at WCET as we continue to grow and evolve. This year we’ll be focusing much of our work around a set of specific issues, guided by the priorities set by our Steering Committee as discussed above. Throughout the year we will announce each of these themes and you will see deep dives in each of the topics with Frontiers blog posts, DISCUSS topics, webcasts, and more!

We’re also engaging in some serious introspection as we take stock of the last 30 years and think about our future. We’re revisiting our services to you and asking ourselves how we can best serve our members and assist you in your mission to help students succeed. WCET is excited about this process and we look forward to sharing with you the strategy and priorities we develop.

Group of the WCET team members in front of a building
WCET Staff in fall 2019

Finally, there are some exciting staff changes afoot.

  • Russ Poulin moved from the senior director of policy, analysis, and strategic alliances to become the new executive director on June 1. He welcomes your good wishes and hopes that he can meet your expectations. (To those who asked: Yes, we will still have movie reviews.)
  • Mollie McGill (in addition to her other duties) is serving as interim director of the Every Learner Everywhere We will soon be selecting a new director of the initiative.
  • Van Davis joins us as a policy and planning consultant to cover some of Russ’s old duties and lead planning efforts. You will continue to hear more from him.

What’s Happening in the Next Few Months? – Federal regulations and higher education policy

The next 12 months are sure to be jammed pack with regulatory changes stemming from the spring’s negotiated rulemaking. We’ve already seen the release for public comment of the first set of proposed regulations (state authorization, licensure disclosures, and accreditation) and are anticipating at least one other set of proposed documents released for public comment. We’re also anticipating that the final regulations associated with state authorization will soon be released to be implemented immediately to address the problem of some states not having compliant processes. We will need to watch this release closely as there are several important clarifications that are needed. And, who knows, there could be some new surprises.

In addition to federal regulations, we’re expecting that higher education, including the role of technology in improving student access and affordability, will become a growing topic in the 2020 presidential race. WCET will continue to closely monitor these areas and provide you with the information and analysis that you have come to expect and trust. And if you’re interested in a deeper dive on the future of federal regulations and higher education policy, we’ve got sessions for you at WCET’s annual meeting!

Welcome to the New Year

So, to paraphrase (and add to) an old Irish blessing:

A road with trees on each side and fog over the road

May strong and stable servers bless your days,

with dependability that long endures.

May good and faithful data be your friend,

wherever you may roam.

May analytics and knowledge bless your school

with insights that long endure.

May all life’s passing terms

Bring the best to you and yours!

We wish you the best in this new academic year and look forward to seeing you in Denver for WCET’s 31st Annual Meeting, November 5-7!

Russ headshot
Russ Poulin
Executive Director, WCET
rpoulin@wiche.edu    @russpoulin


van davis headshot
Van Davis
Policy and Planning Consultant WCET
vdavis@wiche.edu    @historydoc


Lindsey Downs
Assistant Director, Communications, Community, and Social Media, WCET
ldowns@wiche.edu @lindsey0427



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