Here are some new resources and news for the field of higher education.

Do Illinois’ Public Colleges Pay Off for Students? (Crain’s Chicago Business – August 15). As students prepare to head out the door for the onset of the fall college term, a new study is out that provides a snapshot of sorts of whether the folks are getting their money’s worth, and it includes a surprise or two.

The Nation’s Teacher Force Lacks Diversity, and It Might Not Get Much Better. (Washington Post – August 18). Persistent achievement gaps among black and Hispanic students have confounded education experts for years. A new study from the Brookings Institution and the National Council on Teacher Quality identifies several challenges school districts must address in seeking to increase the ranks of minorities leading classrooms. Read more.

Key Characteristics of Postsecondary Competency-Based Education (CBE) Programs: A Descriptive Rubric. Competency-based education (CBE) is an educational model which, put simply, is based on learning rather than “seat time.” This report describes a rubric, drawn from the expertise of leaders within the postsecondary CBE field, designed to help CBE program leaders, their campus colleagues, and researchers describe key features of their CBE program. This descriptive rubric poses questions across six broad categories: 1) institution and program characteristics, 2) development of competencies, 3) assessment, 4) instruction and student support roles, 5) programmatic flexibility, and 6) financial aid and tuition pricing. (Source: American Institutes for Research).

Digital, Verified and Less Open: Digital badges aren’t replacing the bachelor’s degree any time soon. But a growing number of colleges are working with vendors to use badges as an add-on to degrees, to help students display skills and accomplishments that transcripts fail to capture. (Inside Higher Ed, Aug. 9).

Salary Database Now Updated: The FY16 Public University Administrator and Faculty Salary and Benefits Database is now live on IBHE’s website. IBHE is responsible for updating the site at the conclusion of each fiscal year per Public Act 96-266 requirements. Compared to what was reported in FY15, FY16 salary and benefit information for several of the university presidents and chancellors either sustained, or decreased due to budget impasse modifications. The Illinois Community College Board and the Illinois State Board of Education are also required to maintain similar information on their respective web portals.

The Fiscal Year 2017 Tuition and Fee Data for Public Universities and Community Colleges has been collected by the Illinois Board of Higher Education and is available on the IBHE website. The data for public universities provides tuition and fee data for the last ten years including the 2016-2017 academic year and for community colleges tuition rates by community college district for the 2016-2017 academic year. Detailed tuition information is also available by student level and program for each public university, along with student fees for undergraduate and graduate students. The Board considers the tuition and fee rates by the public universities in the analysis of formulating the annual budget request year in accordance with 110 ILCS 205/8.

IL Community College Works to Reform Juvenile Offenders.
 A program at an Illinois community college is working with youth at a local juvenile justice center to help prepare them for college or a future occupation. Elgin Community College (ECC), an institution located in the suburban Chicago area, piloted two short-term college success courses with the local Kane County Juvenile Justice Center this June. (Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, Aug. 7).

Decision Time
: The key to graduating in four years (at least in the minds of many parents) is picking a major early and sticking with it. But a new report suggests students who change their major as late as senior year are more likely to graduate from college than students who settle on one the second they set foot on campus. (Inside Higher Ed, Aug. 24).