Highlights from Higher Ed: “Degree Inflation” for Job Seekers and Campus Safety for Students

Easing the “degree inflation” problem

After a decade of chanting “college degree required,” some companies are starting to look beyond the academic qualifications of applicants and are instead paying more attention to the skills those individuals possess. Apple, Google and IBM are among the employers that have recently removed degree requirements from many job descriptions. They did so with the hope of hiring more highly skilled workers who lack four-year degrees but are nonetheless capable of filling important roles. Many such workers might otherwise encounter career roadblocks caused by “degree inflation,” which refers to the increasing number of jobs requiring a four-year degree. For example, a study conducted in 2014 revealed that while only 19% of executive assistants possessed a bachelor’s degree, 65% of job listings for the position required one. Needless to say, many employers still consider a college degree to be an essential job qualification. Harvard reported that 61% of the 600 business and HR leaders it surveyed said they would not consider a candidate without a four-year degree, regardless of other qualifications.

Source: The Hechinger Report

Another test-optional pilot program

Another college has opted to go test-optional as part of a three-year pilot program, beginning in the fall of 2020. The University of New Hampshire, citing studies that indicate student success is based more on high school grades and curriculum than on standardized testing results, hopes the program will increase diversity in its classrooms by removing a barrier to entry. The school will now place most of its admissions emphasis on high school academic transcripts. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing reports that more than 1,000 colleges and universities no longer use standardized testing for undergraduate applications.

Source: UNH

Opponents of affirmative action hold unusual “bake sale”

To protest the state legislature’s repeal of a ban on affirmative action, members of The University of Washington College Republicans hosted an “Affirmative-Action Bake Sale” at which prices for items varied based on the race and gender of buyers. The University of Washington uses a holistic admission process; officials there believe the repeal of the affirmative action ban will help them do better at creating more diverse classes.

Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education

College violence causes security review

After a recent shooting on the University of North Carolina at Charlotte campus, the college has ordered an external review of its response. While the chancellor said the response went according to plan, the school wants to make sure the plan was adequate. In the 14-year period between the 2001-2002 and 2015-2016 school years, there were 190 shootings on college campuses, altering the way colleges deal with campus safety. Some of the changes include establishing multiple methods of communication, placing emergency phones and cameras throughout campus and providing specialized training for first responders.

Source: Education Dive