In the News

  • (from Stonehouse Group) Several factors have combined to create an imbalance between natural gas supply and demand, which has driven natural gas costs to double this year. Organizations that developed energy procurement strategies well in advance of this year likely locked in long-term natural gas and electric supply contracts in 2019/20 and will be protected from current market pricing increases for now. However, organizations that do not have supply contracts through the winter of 2021-22 will be exposed to the highest pricing seen since February 2014 during the polar vortex. The good news is that natural gas production has increased and fall temperatures have thus far been mild.  More from Stonehouse Group

  • (From the 74 Million) A growing body of research underscores the importance of teacher diversity for student outcomes, yet the representation gap between teachers and students of color remains wide. To identify solutions, the Center for Black Educator Development and Teach Plus jointly released a new report that identifies key recommendations for fostering more welcoming school environments for employees of color. Some first steps may be holding meetings and launching surveys through which parents can share their voices, so that schools may use that data to inform changes in school policies and everyday practices. The authors also recommend that schools provide opportunities for employees of color to participate in mentorship programs and focus groups to debrief their experiences, especially ...

  • (from the Washington Post) The White House announced its plan to roll out coronavirus vaccines for children ages 5 to 11, pending the vaccine’s approval by the Food and Drug Administration, which the Biden administration anticipates will happen within weeks. White House officials said they have secured enough doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the country’s 28 million children in that age group. Once authorized, the White House has vowed it will quickly distribute the shots across the country, relying on more than 25,000 pediatricians’ offices and primary care sites, as well as hospitals. White House officials said they are hosting “operational readiness calls” with local jurisdictions. More from the Washington Post

  • (From Chronicle of Higher Education) Fewer college faculty participate in college presidential searches than did 20 years ago, according to a new American Association of University Professors (AAUP) report. The survey of 396 respondents showed a 93% drop between 2001 and 2021 in the share of institutions with faculty members on the presidential search committee. The AAUP, per its joint statement on governance of colleges and universities, maintains that the faculty should participate meaningfully in the selection of a college or university president. The report highlighted these other takeaways on the state of shared governance: Faculty representation on a search committee is also more common at public colleges and universities (75%) as opposed to private institutions (42%). Nearly ...

  • (from CUPA-HR) Oakland University has developed a program to train diversity advocates on hiring committees in order to improve faculty diversity across campus. T he Diversity Advocate Program provides faculty members with actionable best practices for inclusive hiring, while also making space to engage in dialogue and, when necessary, to ask and work through difficult questions in a collaborative setting. Diversity advocates receive research-based training on the institutional value of diversity, best practices for recruiting a diverse applicant pool, mitigating bias in evaluating candidates, facilitating difficult conversations among hiring committee members, and creating an inclusive environment for newly hired faculty. Since 2020, every search has included a diversity advocate, and the ...

  • (from Niche) The school ratings platform Niche recently conducted a survey on admissions practices and staffing among private, religious, charter and public schools. 44% of responding schools had one full-time employee dedicated to enrollment and admissions, while 28% had none. Nonsectarian private/independent day schools (12%), boarding and day schools (18%), and public schools (25%) were more likely to have three FTE’s dedicated to admissions and enrollment roles. 58% of schools reported no change to their enrollment and admissions headcounts, 32% percent of schools reported an increase in resources for these areas. School size did not have the expected impact on enrollment and marketing full-time employee (FTE) numbers—schools with fewer than 250 enrolled students were equally likely as ...

  • (from McKinsey & Company) Use of digital and automation technology in finance functions appears to be linked to greater preparation for future crises, according to the latest  McKinsey Global Survey on the role of the CFO. Among the companies that are best prepared, most are using advanced analytics for business operations. The most common obstacles to adopting new technologies are familiar: the high up-front costs, a lack of skills or capabilities needed to build and implement the technologies, and cultural and organizational resistance to changing existing processes. For organizations in the early days of digital adoption, the best place to start may be those activities where increased use of digital technologies would add the most value—namely, revenue forecasting, cash-flow forecasting, ...

  • (from CNN) The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has submitted the text of  a new vaccine rule for large employers  to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), bringing the emergency standard announced by  President Joe Biden  last month one step closer to taking effect. Once OMB concludes its review of the regulation, the emergency temporary standard will be published in the Federal Register, when it will go into effect. About a quarter of the eligible US population remains unvaccinated against the coronavirus and the rate of people getting booster shots is now outpacing the rate of people getting their first doses. More from CNN Related content Biden Announces OSHA Vaccination Rule Requiring Employees To Get COVID-19 Vaccinations Vaccine Mandates ...

  • (From K12 Dive) Following over a year of protests against police brutality and racial injustice, some school districts are looking for alternative ways to keep schools safe. According to the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO), many school districts have brought SROs back with modifications or put in place similar alternative programs. Some modifications include using "soft uniforms" — or a polo shirt with police gear still included — in order to make officers seem more approachable, having on-call SROs who are removed from the building but available to help when needed, and removing the arrest powers of SROs in schools. Overall, the rethinking of approaches to SROs in schools has not impacted the number of SROs in schools, said Mo Canady, executive director of the NASRO. ...

  • (from the Washington Post) Two parents in Wisconsin have sued their children's school districts in federal courts after their two sons contracted COVID-19 j ust weeks into the new school year. They blame what they describe as the schools’ lax policies on masks, quarantining and contact tracing. The school boards had voted to end many of the coronavirus mitigation policies that had been in place last year, which included getting rid of universal mask requirements. The moves defied strategies recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and "recklessly exposed the public to COVID-19," according to the lawsuit.    More from the Washington Post