How Higher Ed Should Respond to the “Shecession”

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Dr. Tanya Spilovoy, Director of Open Policy at the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), joins the podcast to talk about institutional strategies for retaining our student mothers.

I remember a mom coming to classwith her baby and saying I don't have childcare today because my my baby hasa cold, and I realize that if she were going to be able tocontinue her education, she had to bring her baby to class. You're listeningto enrollment growth university from Helix Education, the best professional development podcast for highereducation leaders looking to grow enrollment at their college or university. Whether you're lookingfor fresh enrollment growth techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come tothe right place. Let's get into the show. Welcome back to enrollment growthuniversity, a proud member of the connect Evu podcast network. I'm Eric Olsonwith Helix Education and we're here today with Dr Tunyaspila boy, director of openpolicy at the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. Tommy'll welcome to the show. Hey, thanks so much for having...

...me. Really excited to talk withyou today about institutional strategies for retaining and supporting our student mothers. But beforewe dig in, can you get the listeners a little background on both whichhe and your role? They're sure so. which he is the Western Interstate Commissionfor higher education and it's been around since one thousand nine hundred and fiftythree. It's known for Strengthening Higher Education, Workforce Development and behavioral health throughout thewestern region. It serves fifteen states and two territories and the West andthey're really known for sharing, creating knowledge, research and developing innovative solutions that addresssome of society's most pressing needs. So they promote high quality post secondaryeducation to help states get the most out of technology investments and I mentioned beforeBehavioral Health Challenges. But really they try to improve lives across the West throughinnovation, cooperation, resource sharing and sound...

...public policy, I would say,which he is a leader in the nation on a lot of high red policyand I'm very proud to be part of it. My role particularly is leadingthe national consortium of open educational resources. It brings together all four regional compactsin the United States, so which he is one of, for regional compacts, which he is in the West, Mac, the midwestern higher education compact, is in the Midwestern states. Nevvy, which is a New England board ofHigher Education, serves the New England region and Sirad, the Southern RegionalBoard of Higher Education, serves all case welves and higher red in the southernstates of the United States and the NCO are fits directly at the center ofall all of those regional compacts and our primary role is to increase the youthof open educational resources in states and systems...

...and institutions. We're trying to reducethe cost of education for students and increase equity and access to higher education throughoe are. We're funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and it's goingreally well. Love that background, Love Your missional focus and I'm so excitedfor you bringing your unique perspective to this topic today. Tony, can youkick us off with just a high level overview on what we know, atleast so far, about the pandemics effects on what the Institute for Women's PolicyResearch is calling a she session? Effects on women for the pandemic were catastrophicin terms of their learning outcomes, their work and career aspirations and a lotof impacts on women's mental health and their ability to work in the workforce.There was such a huge change for women...

...and while I think that we've alwayskind of thought we would, we could do it all, and that hasbeen the message in society. You know that nine to five jingle, thatwomen can fry at the Bacon and bring home the money and take care ofthe kids and just do it all. That is not true and we've seenit happened during the pandemic in high numbers where women were leaving the workforce andhaving a really difficult time doing it all. Yeah, let's dig into that.How well supported on average do you believe working student mothers across higher atour today, potentially pre pandemic and during well, we had. I rememberwhen I first started my research for my dissertation and I was really interested inonline education and student outcomes and I noticed...

...when I was a dean that alot of the students who weren't doing so well we're women and mothering women,and we would advertise that group of people a lot in our advertisements, whereyou would show a mother sitting at a desk doing your homework with a happylittle child next to her and everything in the room was clean and everyone lookedfed and happy and she was getting everything done in the daylight. And thosethings just are not true. The reality is that women have to take careof all the household items, all the childcare and then there's this third shiftwhere women would stay up late and do their homework, and that was reallyexasperated during the pandemic because kids didn't go to school anymore and when child carecenters set down and elementary schools had to go to remote learning, women didn'thave time then to address their own needs...

...at home or do their school work, and a lot of a lot of mothers either had to quit their jobsor try to do remote work from home, which, with everything going on,made it really difficult. Yeah, and with all that, let's starttalking about support strategies by pointing at some of the institutions that you believe arerunning some really interesting and effective initiatives today. I really am impressed with some ofthe schools who are really focused on community college students and students in minoritypopulations. One of the ones that I think is a real beacon of lifeand a great example for those looking for strategies to help student mothers is UnitedTribes Technical College. It's a small community college, Technical College, and itserves native students from all of the country...

...and within the campus they have agrade school that serves the students children. So the college students children attend anelementary school and they have all of the elementary services that kids could need andthere's also a daycare right on campus. This campus also both family living community, so they have housing for students where parents and families can live together andit really creates a nice community that incorporates culture and a lot of resources,you know, mental health, medical help and all kinds of other cultural activitiesthat bring people together. And how about pedagogically, how should our faculty bethinking about what Student Center teaching practice looks like, should look like for ourstudent mothers? I think that probably if I could just use one of myown examples, I was a pretty new teacher when I started working at UnitedTribes Technical College. I was teaching adult...

...basic education, of teaching English classes, and I remember a mom coming to class with her baby and saying Idon't have childcare today because my my baby has a cold, and I realizedthat if she were going to be able to continue her education she had tobring her baby to class and we just had the baby in class. Itwas it was new and exciting and there were challenges and at times I heldthe baby while studs working and the times she did someone else did, andI think that there's a moment where we have to decide what our priorities are, and if the priority is that we serve students and support them where theyare, then there might need to be moments when the baby comes to class. When I was a little girl, my mom went back to school,so she was first jen you know,...

...back in the I don't want tosay the year, but forever. I was like, Oh no, I'mgoing to do the math here. Yes, if you went back to school,when I was a second greater and the college teachers let my sister andI come to college, and I remember either we would sit in this teacherslounge and that's when the professor's smoked, so I remember it vividly, andor sometimes I went to class with her. The interesting thing about that is thatwhen I went to college later, a college student, I remember sittingin a sociology class and I thought I know this. How do I howdo I know this information? And then I remembered, Oh, I learnedthis when I was in second grade with my mom as a student in college. So there were professors who were supporting student mothers all along the way.It just always hasn't been something that we've...

...talked about or shared. It wassomething that individual faculty took it upon themselves because they really cared about their students. I think now what we're seeing is more of a shift where we're bringingresearch and attention to these, this population of students and really showing how supportingthem can make a different pedagogically and also long term for their student success.I mean, I think that if those teachers wouldn't have allowed my mom tobring me and my sister to class or let us sit in the break room, she probably wouldn't have succeeded either, and now she's been a special educationteacher for thirty years. So it was a win for everybody. I loveyour point on shining a spotlight on the research and bring attention to this.I love that you were able to today point us to some instances of institutionalsupport strategies as well as pedagogical academic support...

...strategies. Any next steps advice youwant to leave us with? Institutions listening to this, aware of the problem, not fully aware of what they can do to combat this very integrated andintricate issue, but they want to better support and best support their student motherswhere should they start? Well, we just saw some recent research that saidthat a lot of student parents were unaware of the resources that were available ontheir campuses and that was telling. So there's sometimes when institutions set up wonderfulresource censers but parents just don't know about it. So over the course ofthe year they emailed randomly selected students from low income households and they invited themto visit their adults advocacy and resource center, and it was a hub at AmarilloCollege in Texas, and they found...

...that that increase the utilization of thathub, particularly among students who are the most risk of leaving college, andthey had a huge impact. They were twenty percent more likely to pass theircourses because the college did this nudging and I think this might be a newinteresting technique that we could use for college students who have children who might beoverwhelmed, not know about the resources that are available to them and just aren'taccessing the facilities on campus that could really help them. There's so many greatexamples out there of institutions that are providing care and resources for their students,like a California State University pregnant and parenting students initiatives. There's really wonderful resources, but students have to be able to access them. So I would justgive advice that if, even if you have resources on your campus, besure that the students know about them and...

...have access and might they might needa little nude to get there and access the resources that you have. Kanya, grateful for your nudge and your spotlight. Thank you so much for your timetoday. What's the best place for listeners to reach out? If theyhave any follow up questions? They can contact me at Kanya. That's SoloVoy at gmailcom. That's fine if they want to know more, and theycan also look at the mcoe are web page at which ee awesome. Danya, thanks so much for joining us today. Thank you so much. Attracting today'snew post traditional learners means adopting new enrollment strategies. Helix educations data driven, enterprise wide approach to enrollment growth is uniquely helping colleges and universities thrive inthis new education landscape, and Helix has just published the second edition of theirenrollment growth playbook with fifty percent brand new...

...content on how institutions can solve today'smost pressing enrollment growth challenges. Downloaded today for free at Helix educationcom playbook.You've been listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education. To ensure that younever miss an episode, subscribe to the show and Itunes or your favorite podcastplayer. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (230)