Media Tip Sheet: Bucknell Story Ideas for September

LEWISBURG, Pa. — The following are Bucknell University story ideas that may interest you for the rest of September.

A PROGRESS REPORT ON HIGHER ED – At the start of a new academic year, higher education appears to be in need of some extra credit. According to national polling data collected in April by the Bucknell University Institute of Public Policy (BIPP), the college education system in the U.S. most frequently received a grade of C. While Republicans and Democrats are largely divided on their perception of higher education, they were largely in agreement on the C grade — with 35 percent of registered Republicans and 31 percent of Democrats providing that grade. Independent voters also made a C their most popular choice at 32 percent. But that’s where party agreement ended with the largest percentage of Democrats, 42 percent, giving higher education a B, compared with 29 percent of independents and 18 percent of Republicans. The survey also found 71 percent of Democrats agreed that getting a college education is one of the most important steps in achieving the American dream, compared to 45 percent of Republicans. The BIPP results compared favorably with the most recent survey by the Pew Research Center which found that more than half of Republicans say that colleges are having a negative impact on the “way things are going in the U.S.,” while the majority of Democrats have a positive outlook on a college education. CONTACT: Chris Ellis, political science professor and director of the Bucknell Survey Research Laboratory, 570-577-1960, cre008@bucknell.edu

EMBRACING UNCERTAINTY – How does one prepare for the unknown? In an op-ed authored for The Hechinger Report, College of Arts and Sciences Dean Karl Voss defended liberal arts education, writing that it helps students “embrace the reality that the future is uncertain and acquire skills that help one adapt and respond to the unknown challenges just over the horizon.” Voss further explains his views in a recent WVBU podcast. Adding to the adaptive nature of Bucknell’s educational experience is a recent $743,000 grant by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation designed to engage faculty and students in the most urgent questions and challenges of our time — bringing new perspectives to the search for solutions. The funding encourages a flexible, nimble response by humanities and arts professors to issues of the day, said Karline McLain, professor of religious studies and associate dean of faculty for the Division of Arts & Humanities, who spearheaded the Mellon proposal. CONTACT: Voss, 570-577-3293, kvoss@bucknell.edu; McLain, 570-577-3293, kmclain@bucknell.edu

THE PULLING GENERATION – Bucknell Vice President of Enrollment Management Bill Conley recalls a time not so long ago when students would wait until the summer between their junior and senior years to start the college search process. He says that has changed dramatically. “We are seeing students by our own surveying who are really developing their short list of 20 or 30 colleges as early as sophomore year in high school,” he said. “And if they are not already visiting college campuses, they are examining campuses online.” They’re in what Conley calls a “pull environment.” “They’re pulling information about us vs. what we used to push at them,” he said. And what information should they be pulling? Conley recommends the first-year retention rate. “What I really emphasize to families is to look at the flow through,” he said. “How many students return for their sophomore year? How many graduate in four years, and how many complete the degree within six years? These are the things that tell you if students have been prepared and supported.” CONTACT: Conley, 570-577-1618, bill.conley@bucknell.edu

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CONTACT: Mike Ferlazzo, 570-577-3212, 570-238-6266 (c), mike.ferlazzo@bucknell.edu

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