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Weekly Rundown
September 24, 2021
At AKA, we closely follow trends and latest developments
in higher education and the nonprofit sector.

Here are some recent articles and reports that we found particularly informative.
From The Chronicle of Higher Education:
A ‘Flabbergasting’ Decision
By Karin Fischer
Much to the surprise of many, the Yale-NUS liberal-arts college in Singapore is closing its doors.  The NUS leadership justified its decision as an opportunity to bring the liberal arts to greater numbers of Singaporean students by merging with the honors college at the National University of Singapore.  While many were blindsided by the decision, the verdict had been a while in the making.  Using unrealistic budgetary models based on well-established American liberal-arts colleges appears to have set Yale-NUS up for financial complications before it fully found its footing. Read this article
From The Wall Street Journal:
M.B.A. Applications at Some of the Country’s Best Colleges Fell This Year
By Patrick Thomas
The sudden and unexpected downturn in M.B.A. applications to top business schools this year could be another indication that perceptions of the value of higher education are shifting.  Last year, some schools loosened standardized test requirements and extended deadlines. Without additional incentives in the current cycle, the number of applications has fallen. Many prospective students are also finding success in their corporate jobs, reducing interest—at least at the moment—in further education. Read this article
From Inside Higher Education:
Colleges Seek Virtual Mental Health Services
By Maria Carrasco
The pandemic has seen record numbers of college students struggling with mental health issues, with some 85% of students reporting increased stress and anxiety. With some institutions unable to provide in-person resources, remote counseling provides assistance for students not on campus or who have hesitancy about in-person counseling.  These new technological developments in telemedicine, coupled with increasing de-stigmatization of mental health, provide important steps forward in expanding institutional mental health resources. Read this article

From The Economist:
The Gates Foundation’s approach has both advantages and limits
By The Economist
Bill Gates is known for taking a highly data driven approach to his philanthropic endeavors, primarily supporting initiatives that statistically demonstrate a positive return on investment.  While this approach is beneficial in some situations, not all philanthropic investments are quantifiable.  Calculating whether students’ test scores rise or fall is relatively straightforward, but gauging whether students are actually understanding and absorbing information is far more difficult. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is used as a model for new tech moguls are creating foundations of their own, and it is important for these new organizations not to undervalue the less quantifiable aspects of philanthropy. Read this article
From American Alliance of Museums:
Finding Wonder in a Virtual World
By Rachel Serkin
Museums were hit hard by the pandemic but are eager to provide virtual educational opportunities.  The Eldridge Street Museum, for example, reached out to their long-time partners and educators at local schools to understand what aspects have and haven’t worked to better cultivate an engrossing virtual experience. They found that to successfully engage viewers virtually, it is critical to highlight the main attractions of their collection; experiment with music, games, and videos; and more deeply collaborate with educators. Read this article
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