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Why is 2022 such an important year for higher ed? Leaders from area colleges give you insight on 2022

How has the pandemic changed local education? Are more and new options available this year? Leaders from the four area colleges give you the inside insight on 2022. Also, get your college-specific questions answered in our Cheat Sheet to Colleges.

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Why is 2022 an important time for high schoolers (and their parents) to look toward higher education?

“The obvious is financial security, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggesting those with an associate degree earn $150+ more per week than those with only a high school diploma. But there are other reasons, such as learning how to collaborate in groups, and building skills in time management, critical thinking and problem-solving. All desired skills by employers.”

—Jeffery S. Boyd, RCTC President

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“There are so many good questions for students and their parents to ask when considering attending a university or college. Many of the questions revolve around affordability, access, and value, particularly pertinent due to the pandemic and today’s economy. Why attend a university or college or get additional education? The value of higher education remains clear as it prepares students for future careers and helps adult students advance their current careers or step into new ones. Employers say they need people who can learn, adapt, and influence change. Pursuing higher education continues to be the best avenue to get that preparation and stay current or acquire new skills.”

—Tim Albers, Vice Provost for Enrollment Management, Saint Mary’s University

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“All employment sectors are undergoing tremendous change now, as a result of the pandemic, advances in technology, and continued globalization. Higher education can provide the skills and knowledge necessary to adapt to these changes and to succeed in jobs that may not yet exist! High schoolers can gain autonomy over their futures with a college degree.”

—Kendra Weber, Director of Admissions, Winona State University

“Students considering their futures in 2022 are very aware of the many challenges our world is facing. I want high schoolers to know they can be part of creating solutions! Students: You can make a difference in the world--and make a living. True too, the surest path to that kind of life requires further learning after high school.

At the University of Minnesota campus in Rochester (UMR), we’re developing the potential of young people who want to solve the grand health challenges of this century—from mental health, to healthcare leadership, to patient care, to research and discovery, to public health and policy, to emerging health technologies, and more. Fascinating lives of purpose are possible.”

—Lori J Carrell, PhD, Chancellor, University of Minnesota-Rochester

How has the pandemic changed education at your college?

“Like all educators, Winona State faculty and staff found ways to connect and provide information and services to students at a distance. We were already a very connected and tech-savvy campus with a longtime student laptop program, which made the transition seamless for us compared to many other institutions. We are taking the lessons learned from that time to rethink how education can be delivered, as well as relishing the opportunity to bring our community back together physically on our beautiful campus in Winona and our classrooms in Downtown Rochester and at RCTC.”

—Kendra Weber, Director of Admissions, Winona State University

“Faculty are reporting a decline in student preparedness for college, resulting in a need to develop new teaching strategies. RCTC is connecting students in gateway classes, like English and Math, with more academic resources for success.”

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--Jeffery S. Boyd, RCTC President

“We’ve found new ways to support student success, leading to the launch of an innovative program called NXT GEN MED. We know we need humanity and technology to work together to shape the future of higher education and the future of healthcare! We have also learned that those who will employ graduates are important partners for higher education institutions. And importantly, we know we need to drive the costs of a college education down while driving the quality up, including equity in degree completion (no “achievement gap”).

This NXT GEN approach to a University education is designed for learners who want to make a difference in the world as soon as possible. With Google Cloud, we’ve built a tech platform to engage students and support their progress as future healthcare business leaders. Creative University of Minnesota faculty who adapted and learned during the pandemic have now designed a sequence of courses focused on healthcare challenges like racial disparities in the pandemic. Every NXT GEN student will have a Mayo Clinic mentor and an internship, as they work closely with faculty and each other to develop needed competencies. NXT GEN MED will also make a University of Minnesota college degree even more affordable, using summers to move students to career launch sooner.”

—Lori J Carrell, PhD, Chancellor, University of Minnesota-Rochester

“We are offering a broader range of options for how to take courses—online vs. in person—as well as making it easier for students to view and follow lectures and classes through video, discussions, and online access to faculty. More than 300 faculty become certified in online learning beginning early in the pandemic. They have upskilled in this area, and that benefits student learning. Because of the pandemic, students had fewer opportunities for engagement and socializing, and as a result, we know that we need to be welcoming and invite students to take part in activities, connect with peers, and build community.”

—Tim Albers, Vice Provost for Enrollment Management, Saint Mary’s University

Have online classes opened up more options for incoming high school students?

“Yes. RCTC has expanded online offerings by almost 20% in the past four years. Today, over half our classes are offered with an online component.”

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—Jeffery S. Boyd, RCTC President

“Yes, though we learned during the pandemic that our incoming high school students achieve better with some in-person course work as well, so they are able to grow their social skills alongside their academic skills. Since the pandemic, our faculty have offered more courses online to keep students on track, and through Panopto (our classroom capturing video system), students can easily catch up on a missed class without skipping a beat, or easily review a portion of a lecture they would like to review.”

—Tim Albers, Vice Provost for Enrollment Management, Saint Mary’s University

Related Topics: EDUCATIONROCHESTER
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