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Weekly Review
January 28, 2022
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 Inside Higher Education:
Do Algorithms Really Contribute to Higher Education’s Crisis?
By Bill Conley and Bob Massa
With the seasoned perspective of two former enrollment vice presidents, this article offers a contrasting view to that of one featured in the September 17, 2021 AKA Review. Both examine the use of algorithms in college admission—formulas determining how likely an applicant is to enroll and the use of this information to determine student financial aid—to maximize net tuition revenue, student yield, or other factors. In this piece, the authors look at what really happens as admission and financial aid officers attempt to meet multiple institutional goals and go deeper into on-the-ground admission practices to explain why things aren’t as simple as "algorithms—bad; interest- and need-blind admission—good." Read this article
From Time:
The Brain Drain That Is Killing America's Economy
By Parag Khanna
A steady decline in international students, researchers, and workers since 2008 and America’s deteriorating international reputation have the U.S. well on its way to a net decline in population. This article argues that a generational shift has occurred among Gen Y and Gen Z. "Today’s young professionals don’t identify themselves by their nationality; they identify as talent"—moreover, talent comfortable with remote work and unconstrained by place. The uptick in remote working has seen almost 70 nations offering a "nomad visa," increasing in-migration to countries looking to boost their economies—and it’s working. Against this challenge, the U.S. will struggle to maintain its historical role as the land of opportunity: "Until foreign students are guaranteed a green card with their degree, [they] may take their brains elsewhere." Read this article
From Wired:
Are You Sure You Know What a Photograph Is?
By Rashed Haq
Historically an analog process, photography has become digital, greatly expanding image manipulation for creative and other ends. It also uses inputs as diverse as acoustic signals and atomic particles, which artists and scientists increasingly using to create images of the unseeable, such as black holes, and the unreal, such as AI generated photos of things that have never existed. The "media" of these images are also expanding to include 3D-printed objects, virtual realities, and, perhaps in the future, a viewer’s mind directly through magnetic brain stimulation. In this blend of art and science, colleges and universities have a unique role to play as crucibles where diverse disciplines combine in new forms of image-making and interpretation. Read this article

Further Reading
From McSweeney’s:
A Note Regarding the Coronavirus Outbreak from Your University’s Vice President of Academic Affairs
By Ken Mondschien
Sadly, but also hilariously, this parodical letter from a fictional Vice President for Academic Affairs to his faculty and staff remains relevant nearly two years after it was published at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s what you’d get if Jonathan Swift had been a provost. To AKA’s president and provost friends: Maybe copy this for an April 1st e-blast to your campus community. Read the article. (And if you like it, read the provost’s update here).
From National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators:
Toward a More Equitable Future for Postsecondary Access
This report explores fundamental and important ways that the U.S. college admissions system should be changed and is particularly interesting to consider alongside the article above on the use of algorithms. The report argues that the current system, requiring test scores and letters of recommendation, fosters inequitable access and privileges wealthy students with the free time to volunteer, access to expensive test-prep materials, and private tutors. The report argues that if the current admissions system does not change, already marginalized students will continue to be at a disadvantage, drowning in a system that was not built to support them. Read this article
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